My last port of call was a grandmother raising two children whose mother died in tragic circumstances.
She gave me a huge smile, welcomed me in and offered a cup of coffee. We all enjoy positive feedback; here’s someone doing a fantastic job, day in and day out, raising children in her mid-sixties, with very little recognition or support.
Her grandchildren were polite and helpful. The house while crowded was clean. Grandma and the children live in a small state house in Avonside. The smell of sewerage permeates the air; portaloos dot the street. She walks with difficulty. Her nearest mall, Eastgate, is yet to reopen so it’s either been the local shop – expensive – or a taxi trip to the closest open supermarket – expensive.
She says she’s not yet had a visit from anyone and I believe her, though this would be unusual. She’s not angry at anyone, nor really asking for assistance. My visit was sparked by her son dropping in earlier to the caravan that is my makeshift portable electorate office.
I gave her a hug and $50 in food vouchers (courtesy of Katherine Rich and the Grocery Council) and started plugging her into some other assistance, including, hopefully, funding to allow her and the children go get away on a break out of Christchurch.
My point? No one in Avonside seems much focussed on a Beltway ’scandal’ where even Michael Laws, writing in the Sunday Star Times says the media have replaced the courts. The same paper also reported how our television channels have joined forces to take on the Broadcasting Standards Authority’s attempts to rein-in increasing sexuality on television; their lawyer argues the recent soft-porn series Hung was ‘serious drama.’
A 6.3 earthquake changes your view of what is a scandal, what constitutes serious drama and what actually matters.