Like all people around the globe life has changed rapidly for us here at Brogo Permaculture Gardens in the past few weeks. We had been through years of extreme drought and then bushfires. The fires, that had devastated our area, were finally put out on 3rd March 2020. Since Christmas news of the corona virus was around but was overshadowed by the reality of the fire situation which determined our day to day life for over two months. As the rains came and the fires were finally extinguished we sighed with relief and prepared to regenerate our own place and ourselves and to work with our community to rebuild and regenerate the area. 26 days later as I write, just like everyone else we are deep into the world of ‘physical distancing’, ‘isolation’ and yes, lack of toilet paper. ( We do have some by the way and a range of alternatives if we run out !)
To a degree life as we had thought it would be post fires was put on hold. We made the hard decisions to postpone our courses, open days and consultations to meet the regulations, but also because it is our social responsibility. We fully intend to continue with these just as soon as we can- in the meantime we plan on sharing information and go on communicating with you. We do not plan on doing online courses though many have asked; there are quite a few out there already and we know our expertise is not in that area. We also believe that the immersive nature of our courses is special and we will continue with them.
We do know though that after living in a fire crisis situation for over two months we learned lessons that will help us and today we reflect on them and share with you.
o Know your vulnerabilities – we assessed them as a family and a community and determined how they could be minimized. Spend time on this as your vulnerabilities will determine your actions throughout this time. The more knowledge you have about your situation, the good the bad and the ugly, the less likely you are to have knee jerk reactions and act out of panic.
o Community was and is everything and will be valuable to your mental health during the crisis and afterwards – cherish and build community now and it will be there when we come out of this – ring your neighbors, drop a note in their letterboxes, form your own online support group ( keep it small and manageable), keep in contact as best you can with workmates, social mates etc. Update each other with verifiable information and respect everyones space- if someone is not up to talking today check in on them in a few days.
o Determine your protocols to ensure the household can function while the crisis is occurring - during the fires we had to have someone home all the time. with the virus we are looking at who is going to collect any shopping needed, what do they need to do when they return to minimize bringing the virus back with them , how will you manage day to day issues that involve contact with others.
o Be prepared for sudden and unexpected changes- be aware but not obsessed with what may occur and have a plan before these changes happen. Discuss how changes might impact on you. During the fires we had a checklist for each ‘stage’ so that it was clear what we would do and we could process changes without panic.
o Above all know that this too will end- it may not end in the way you want it to but it will end. Be aware that when it does end there will be joy and there will be grief in your community and the line between the two is very fine. As people move back out from their homes they may well find it just as overwhelming as the crisis itself and will need time to adjust. Continue to be gentle with everyone around you.