My experiences in earthquake-torn Nepal, in 2015 and 2016, had a life changing impact on me. The Nepalese people were amazing and the kindness and support they extended was fantastic.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and their resilience, and happiness, in the face of great adversity was inspiring. They have a wonderful sense of community and I can't recall hearing anyone complaining about their lot.
My eyes were opened to the great work Rotary does and I was humbled by the effort that a team of tradies and helpers put into rebuilding classrooms in the remote village we assisted. Those people had left the demands of businesses and work behind to make a difference to people in need.
One of the lessons the experiences taught me was that community is very much about teamwork. No team exists without conflict, however criticism, necessary and beneficial to community health in tiny quantities, becomes toxic when applied in large doses.
Doug Reckord, Kalaru
If it ain’t broke...
Some sod dumped a large, smelly bean bag on the road verge outside our place a couple of weeks ago. I brought it into my shed so some other sod didn't run it over and spread the millions of tiny foam beads all over the place. After the bag stunk out my shed, I needed to get rid of it.
My first thought was to squeeze it into my red lid bin, but on reflection decided that if the load was compressed in the garbage truck, the bag would burst and said millions of tiny foam beads would be spread everywhere the truck went for the rest of that day.
Next thought was to throw the bag onto our burn pile, but the toxic burnt polyurethane would go into the atmosphere; no good either.
Next thought was to phone Wallagoot transfer station for advice. Bingo, the attendant thanked me for being thoughtful and offered for me to dump it there for free. Problem seemingly solved.
However, later said attendant rang me again, saying they were in trouble with their boss for offering free disposal. The transfer station would still honour the offer, on the specified day only, but under duress.
This appears to me to be some middle manager throwing their weight around....needlessly and contrary to common sense. Sheer bloody-mindedness!
I live by the old adage "if it's not broken, don't fix it". This case reflects the 21st Century version of that adage, being "if it's not broken, we'll fix it until it is".
Andrew McPherson, Kalaru
My husband Chris recently passed away due to an aggressive form of cancer. When we saw his oncologist in February this year he looked up from his computer and said, "Horrible way to die."
Unfortunately he was correct.
He aside, there are a group of overworked and under-funded people who have helped us so much on this journey and I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all of them, starting with the exceptional nurses and staff of the oncology department at SERH. They are amazing.
Thanks too to Bronwyn and Catherine, who make up the entire palliative care team who have to help all the oncology patients of this vast area. Thanks also to the community nurses who came around in the last week of Chris's life, the wonderful paramedics of our Ambulance service, and the carers from Hammond Care, especially Robyn.
Last but not least, thank you to Dr Peter Riddell whose care and attention to Chris was wonderful including coming around after surgery every night for the last week of Chris's life to see what he could do.
All of these people work under extreme stress and strain and pretty well all of them have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help us both on this horrible journey. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.