I started writing this blog early in June describing the Garden Route as a natural garden of mountains, forests, fynbos and water…Unesco declared World Heritage Site… then came the horrifying fires of 7 June 2017 and it was as if everything stopped.

Our picture-perfect surroundings were ablaze, an Armageddon-like scene. In Mossel Bay friends had to evacuate their homes…and then the fires jumped to Knysna…which continued burning and burning…Brenton-on-Sea…Concordia…Sedgefield…Harkerville…Karatara…Plettenberg Bay…for days on end Garden Route communities were traumatised by the severity of the fires…indescribable.

In Second Chance, Jodi Picoult wrote “Heroes didn’t leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn’t wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else’s. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back.”

During the last couple of weeks, the smallest act of caring for another person made the world of difference…it made ripples throughout the dark pond in which the whole Garden Route community was treading water. But there was something else, almost inexplicable and completely mesmerising that enveloped everyone…The Garden Route community was literally fused into one overnight and we were no longer strangers…

A whole community of heroes. Whether on the forefront as a firefighter, or opening your home for the destitute, donating time and effort at the central points where hundreds of tons of donated goods were dispatched, dropping off water/energy drinks/lip balm at the fire brigade, donating literally anything as people were left with only the clothes they were wearing…heroes everywhere…

The past 12 days the Garden Route community has seen each other stripped of everything…hearts barren and broken…hearts open with love and unrestrained generosity.

sunrise 2
Already nature is rising from the ashes. In years to come when we bask in the beauty of our forests we will remember the (in)visible beauty we came to know during these days…kindness, generosity, empathy, community…
“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh


Written by our Blogger – Mariza van Deventer

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