My neighbourhood is on fire

My neighbourhood is on fire.

What sticks in my mind?

Waking up to the news that a huge building in my area is on fire?

Realising that people have died and many more will be traumatised for life by their near escape?

Realising that this building is right next to my old primary school and in the heart of the community that is my home?

The horror of seeing a burnt-out, smoldering shell of a tower block?

9/11 on my doorstep.

Normal life and memories gone up in smoke.

The smell of burning.

By the time I got there, the worst had passed. And this is what I’ll remember.

A neighbourhood coming together.

A humanitarian response.

A church so full of volunteers that they were turning help away.

Community centres so abundantly stocked with donations from strangers that only a few specific items were now needed.

Praying as I cycle home.

For those whose lives will no longer be the same.

With thanks for the opportunity to witness love and generosity which did what any human being would do in the face of another’s suffering.

What if this was Aleppo, I found myself thinking.

What if there were no public services to put out the fire and take the injured to hospital?

What if a building went up in smoke when the rest of the neighbourhood was already in ruins?

What if there was no food or clothing for those who had lost everything?

What if there were no spare rooms to house the displaced because they’d been burnt down too?

What if their closest neighbours were miles away?

My neighbourhood is on fire.

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One thought on “My neighbourhood is on fire

  1. Thanks for this- such a terrible thing and I hope it does make us more conscious of the reality in Yemen/ Syria and the challenge to be more compassionate as a nation towards those who have lost everything and are survivors who have had to flee. Also it makes you think of the well-resourced ambulance service and hospitals we have. Lord have mercy.

    Becky Macfarlane

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