Warning: Why You Can’t Do Without Your Community!


Fish Hoek on Fire by Paul Quentin Dirksen

A City in Flames

I felt helpless sitting behind my laptop, out in the Karoo countryside, watching my beloved Mother City burn.

Cape Town has been on fire for the past 5 days and the trail of devastation this raging inferno has wreaked is insurmountable.  Thank goodness for the rain that came early on Wednesday morning to dowse the still-blazing flames, even though it was short-lived.

As I write this, the fires status is ‘contained'.

As my Facebook feed clogged with photographs, plea's for volunteers, donations and news updates, I noticed that the sense of community was strong.

The Miracle of Social Networking!

Everyone seemed to have their finger on the pulse and communication over sites like Facebook was phenomenal.

According to some sources, there was such a vast surge of volunteers that they were turning people away at certain fire stations.  Isn't that something?

Donations of food, water and money were pouring in and the feeling of fellowship was palpable — even I felt it as I watched, read and listened to the unfolding events 300km outside of Cape Town.

Of course, there were the minority who took the opportunity — as people were being evacuated from their homes — to loot and pillage.  But all-in-all, the general consensus was that of camaraderie, love, compassion and a feeling of imitable human spirit.

The Power of Prayer

What caught my eye amidst the feeds, were people asking that we all prayer for rain and do group or solitary visualizations for a downpour.

On Tuesday, Cape Town was declared the hottest city in the world with temperatures reaching 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit).  It was the hottest day that Cape Town had experienced in 100 years and this was despite the blaze.

Some thermometers measured over 50 degrees Celsius with the heat of the day combined with the intensity of the fire.

The very next day (Wednesday) the clouds shifted in and it began to rain.  Was it the power of the prayer or group rain vigils?  I'd like to think it had something to do with it.

The Beautiful Human Spirit

I feel much faith being restored in the human spirit with stories streaming in about local restaurants opening their doors after midnight to offer the evacuees coffee and sustenance, fire-fighters saving tortoises that couldn't get out of the path quick enough, businesses and civilians donating massive amounts of food and money to the fire-fighting stations — just to name a few.

It's sad that such obliterating chaos had to bring these communities together but, in the same breath, it's also heartening to see people of all walks of life pull together for the common good.

Why You Should Nurture Strong Communities

If you're the type of person who doesn't even know your neighbor's name then here are some tips to get that sense of community going in your life:

  • Meet people in your area.  Introduce yourself to your neighbors, go hang out at the local coffee shop or pub (even if you don't drink alcohol — have a soda water!), participate in local events (fairs, plays, markets, social gatherings, events, charity or fund raisers, etc) and do what it takes to get to know your fellow townies.
  • Join Social Network Community Pages.  This one is easy!  Join your local town/city community page on Facebook or Twitter.  If you don't have one then start one!  This is a great way to get to know other people in your community and to broadcast local events and other important local news.  These pages or e-mail lists provide vital information such as traffic updates, neighborhood watch, local produce and businesses, activities in your area, ‘swap shops', local job vacancies to missing pets.
  • Give and Take.  You've got to understand that when you get involved it is a mutually beneficial situation.  You will build invaluable relationships that you may require to call on in times of need.  You will know who to contact should you find yourself in dire straits.  You may be of great value to the community with what you have to offer — skills, expertise or even just a listening ear.  What'ya waiting for?  Get out there!

Building a solid community vibe is of paramount importance for our future.  And, as outlined above, it's a win-win situation.  We've lived too long trying to keep our heads down  whilst passing people by in the street and not looking up.

It's time to get to know those people and engage!

We need to bring back that all-important beneficial sense of comradeship — we aren't that dissimilar to our fellow citizen.

I think we'd all agree that we have a common goal and that is to live a joyful, peaceful, comfortable life.  It's up to you to make that a reality in your locale.

Should you wish to donate to the Volunteer Wildlife Services (Cape Town) CLICK HERE.

Other articles that may interest you:

14 haunting photos from the Cape Town fires

South African Firefighters Battle Blaze on Cape Town Mountains

Touching Moments From the Cape Fires

Out of the Ashes: Notes on the March 2015 Cape Town Wildfire


Cherie-Roe-Dirksen_172x200Cherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author and multi-media artist from South Africa. To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com.  Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE. Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can also follow Cherie on Facebook (The Art of Empowerment).

Cherie posts a new article on CLN every Thursday.  To view her articles, click HERE.

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  1. This video came out a few hours ago and I wanted to share it with the community here at CLN…it’s only 3 minutes but captures the heart of Cape Town beautifully <3


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