This article can be found at Australian Baha’i Community
Blogger active in aftermath of Cyclone Yasi
Witnessing the spiritual capacity of the local community has been the “the most amazing experience” in the past year for a Bahá’í blogger contributing to ABC Open’s Aftermath project.
June Perkins was at home in Tully with her husband, three children and a multitude of pets when Cyclone Yasi struck North Queensland with devastating force on 3 February 2011, one year ago today.
A huge mango tree fell through the roof of their house, splintering the ceiling. Terrifying winds struck the house from all directions.
Then, in the calm of the eye of the storm, the family fled their damaged house for a safer, low-to-ground brick home of one of their neighbours.
The next day they returned to find their home was wrecked. They have recently moved to Murray Upper.
After a local told the ABC about postings by Dr Perkins on Pearlz Dreaming, her long-running blog on life, poetry and virtues, she was invited to be a guest blogger representing North Queensland for ABC Open’s Aftermath project.
The project follows the stories of people trying to rebuild their lives and their communities and to recover from recent natural disasters.
Dr Perkins was asked to write a blog at least once a fortnight on her experiences following the cyclone. Her posts can be viewed here.
“So far I have contributed thirteen written blogs, one video and 24 photographs to the project,” she says.
“The most amazing thing about everything our family has been through in the last few months has been witnessing the spiritual capacity of our community.
“In terms of spiritual and faith themes I focus on themes to do with virtues people are displaying in the recovery process, such as resilience, caring and helpfulness.”
In one posting, she writes about “Ute Angels”, people who “walk the spiritual path with practical feet”.
“How do you picture angels?” she writes.
“For me they are dressed in shorts and t-shirts with big smiles on their faces as they help load a ute of more sodden belongings to sort. These angels are the ones who are there for you — unasked and rarely publicised.
“Some of the best days during the recovery process in the Cassowary Coast have been the unexpected and unasked for assistance from many people we never knew cared about us and also from complete strangers.
“The day we arrived at our new home there were fresh new sheets, towels and pillow cases waiting on the doorstep. It felt like some angels put them there. We made so many trips back and forth between our old and new home that we needed more angels, specifically ute angels, and as if our prayers were answered, they appeared!”
Dr Perkins’ postings cover a range of themes, including helpful visits by people from outside the district.
“I have covered the role of the arts in the healing process at some length – with visits from musicians, songwriters, and writing mentors playing an important role in assisting people to be inspired to get back on their feet.
“I plan to do about six more written blogs and am collaborating on a video documentary of our family’s experience of the cyclone, recovery and aftermath. I am producing several small video documentaries of local stories and am sharing these on Pearlz Dreaming and ABC Open.”
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