Even the more modern buildings did not fare well
Hard to believe this is part of the same city and less than 200 yards away!
the "Alps" in the background
A milking shed (parlor for you in the states) being rebuilt after the quake ruined it
Breakfast and beer? Maybe we have a small problem here!
So on Sunday as we approached from the air Christchurch looked absolutely beautiful, big flat palins that stretched out to the base of the mountains, like the great palins of the american midwest. But the fields were cut up with trees and dotted with small towns like western new york state and new england. It was the middle of winter but the fields were still green, the streets were busy as cars with thier lights on buzzed up and down streets. In the distance the mountains, or alps, as they call them here were majestic, covered in a dusting of white powder. They towered above the plains with an unyielding strength and amazing beauty. it was a pleasant drive from the airport to Lincoln, a small college town outside of the city. It was hard to believe this area had been met with such unfortunate events in the past.
That night it was brought to light with a tremor around 2 am local time. Just one more in the many thousands that have filled the days and nights of these people since the original quake in September. On monday morning I was given a bit of a tour of Christchurch. Much of the heart of the city is still shut off from both viechle and pedistrian traffic. Army personel make sure of that (not one to argue with automatic weapons). It was difficult to get many photos from the car and roads are single lane and traffic was crowded so it was hard to get a lot of the damage on film. The other aspect is I found it difficult to take pictures of other peoples misfortune, but the rivers are full of sandbars that were pushed up in the middle of the river, streets are like riding waves, cliffs have fallen, entire subdivision have been condemned, multiple story hotels lean tlike the tower of Pisa. On the ground, Christchurch is very different than the air, it looks more like a war zone and it is depressing. The center of the quake was in the middle of the city and it has a diameter of 15-20 miles of destruction, much of it never to look the same again.
But while some have left for other areas, and some are just tired of the situation and want for better times, some take it all in stride. I had coffee with an older gentleman who told me, its time to stop talking about it, otherwise it consumes us, it becomes us, it will define us and that is when it wins. So he says, if you want to talk rugby fine, but I will talk about the quakes. You gotta love that kind of attitude.
Today I went to see a dairy farmer whose whole farm was torn apart by the quakes. the milking shed (parlor) was torn apart when the quake struck at milking time that morning in sept., water lines were pulled apart, power lines blocked tractors in the shed, huge crevices about 2 yards wide and a 2-3 yards deep cut across lanes and pathways so the cows were unable to reach the milking shed, the levy surrounding the farm from the river crumbled and buckled. it all took less than 20 seconds! there was nothing left untouched. Fences, fields, buildings were all damaged to some degree. As we talked about it he smiled and said "we'll slowly get it back together, besides what else did i have to do with my time?" Typical dairy farmer.
I continued on to the rest of my appointments, but none left the kind of impression on me that he did. Mother nature has incredible strength, that is undeniable. The ability to wipe out a lifetime of work in a matter of a few deep breaths. But even with all its strength it often meets its match in tenacity of the Human Spirit. May God bless all the people of christchurch, and somehow find them some peace.