Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The day the floods came to Laidley and Destroyed our Kindergarten

An Account of The Flooding in Laidley-
By Guest Blogger Heidi
I was asked to write a blog, and the first question I asked was "HOW?".. some may find that funny, but truthfully I had no idea. One thing I did have an idea about was that I needed to do something to help our small community that feels like we have been forgotten about along with other small communities in the area! One thing for sure is that the community has all pitched in to help each other, and made a real impact on our hearts! I was a bit worried about writing this blog and the emotions it brings, but thought it was for the best, I was asked by after numerous conversations via email and facebook when I on behalf of Laidley C&K Kindergarten, sought help from them to get the word out about my plight!

The Flood

Everything below this water level would have been destroyed
What am I talking about? The floods that hit Laidley on the 11th January 2011, a day that many thought would never happen again! The day that turned a small country town into a town with a new found river through the middle of it and the outskirts, wreaking chaos on many peoples lives and taking anything in it's path! Living out of the town, and being isolated for almost a week in the area of Lockrose, worrying about friends up the road who had been isolated since BEFORE Toowoomba even hit from the Friday prior, with the Toowoomba floods making ours worse too. I relied on Facebook sites to keep me up to date with the outside world, yet apart from hearing Laidley residents were getting evacuated had no idea how bad it was until I got a text from the President of the Laidley Kindergarten committee asking for help to clean up as the kindergarten was hit pretty bad!

That still did not prepare me for what I was going to encounter. The first day contacted I was still isolated by flood waters and road closures, so was unable to help! The following day with my kids in tow headed into Laidley to see what I could do. It was just unbelievable and extremely emotional driving from my house into Laidley, there were water tanks lining the roads, a huge concrete tank coming to rest on the edge of the road, fences, sign posts down, from my place all the way into Laidley, still as I turned the corner into the street I had no idea. Already there was a skip bin, FULL of items from inside the kindergarten, helpers everywhere assisting with the clean up. The town literally looked like a war had hit, the town was brown, flood effected houses had items out the front of their house, business unable to open, and cleaning up.... The kindergarten was the same, the gardens were a shadow of their former selves, mud replaced out lawns, and that same smell of slushy mud was covering everything

The floods hit the small town of Laidley, and the communities only C&K Kinergarten was inundated with water, fences were knocked down, and the building was damaged, gardens were lost, inside the fridge got knocked down, and many years of supplies were gone, destroyed, to name a few things, we lost books, computer, craft supplies, paper, we had to rip the flooring up and bin it, so the floor boards could dry out, we lost 3 airconditioning units. a shed, and many toys, dolls, reading chair, the list of loss could go on! It was devastating to see a Kindergarten run on limited funding that relies primarily on fundraising, be knocked off it's feet like this by the floods!

The Recovery

Mud on Everything
Everyone in the community has been effected by this, this is a place where many locals have sent their children over the years, families where they have 3 or more children who have passed through it over time, and a community that assists us with the fundraising! And the kids have lost what they have been looking forward to and counting down the days until it was their turn! But many homes were effected by these same floods, which makes it even harder as a community to overcome the devastation!

The day I seen the disaster at hand I set to helping them get on their feet the only way I knew how, and that was to approach people via Facebook, the new way to get the word out, I posted on 3 walls, and had people spread the word, and so many donations! We have been blessed by so many generous people buying things, and going through their things to donate! We needed to replace just about everything, around 70% of our stuff was destroyed, and people are really getting behind us to make that happen!

We are now looking forward to the future, new direction for the Kindergarten, the sunshine after the storm, this is a place we need to rebuild to give the children who have heard stories, seen things, been effected by the floods, some normality in their lives. They need something to look forward to again! As a temporary measure, for the sake of the children, the program is being started at the Laidley State District school, who's principal kindly offered their hall for the Kindergarten to start the program while the repairs are done on the kindergarten! We are so grateful for the wonderful donations and support from the community, Toowoomba, Brisbane, and even Ballina, people all over Australia are sending in donations to one little community kindergarten! It has been overwhelming!

The Future

While the kids that were there last year, including my son, head off to school this year and a new bunch of kids join the history of the Laidley C&K Kindergarten, they can stand proud in what has come from such a sad day in our history, stand proud to be an Australian with such great people involved in getting the kindy ready for them to start the new year, even if they can't head straight to the Kindergarten building, it will be all the more exciting when the time comes to reopen the building! The committee who spent last year fundraising and making important decisions about the Kindergarten, volunteering their time to be a part of the kindergarten, are now selflessly helping rebuild it, awaiting a new lot of parents to take over our positions, all the while we stick in there and rebuild the kindergarten to help the new families start a fresh, and hope they never have to go through what we have. My daughter is set to attend in 2 years time, and we all have faith that this has only made the kindergarten stronger!


Ellie B said...

Well done on moving forward. I hope you get all the help you need. Good luck and stay strong. :)

Anonymous said...

We are ever so grateful to and Global Kids Oz, and everyone else who has donated items to help us get the kindergarten back up and running....

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