Sometimes it’s not the house right next door which we need to think about. Sometimes it’s our other neighbours, our fellow city-zens, our friends and confreres. This was the case last June in Calgary when massive mountain rains exacerbated snow melts to produce swollen and overflowing rivers. Hundreds and even thousands of houses, cars, trucks, apartments and businesses were damaged or destroyed. In many ways things have still not returned to normal around here.
The impressive thing for me, though, wasn’t the event itself but the way the residents – the neighbours – of the affected communities banded together. Even many of those who were not directly affected by the water dropped what they were doing to help those who were. Some took all their vacation time, sandbagging before the event but also demolition once the damage was done – clean-up, and even some rebuilding. This I know was hot, hard work in the steamy Alberta summer, made even worse by the nature of the materials people were working in. I heard many stories of complete strangers showing up on people’s doorsteps asking how they could help, and in some cases even people who were victims themselves sacrificed their own needs to help their neighbours.
Years from now it won’t be the flood I remember, it’ll be the people, and how they pulled together to help each other. It won’t be all the water, but the deluge of compassion shown by complete strangers.
Ultimately, we’re all neighbours.
You can get more information on the floods here.