A Special Message from the Director
Today’s blog is taking a different tone to the usual. Most of the world has had a rough and bumpy last 13 weeks, and so has Flinders, but for far more reasons than you may think.
Things are said to happen in threes, and by the middle of March, I thought we’d had our three, and I was moving on. I was very much mistaken.
The beginning of March brought a stove ignition problem. It took three visits from a tech and three days of creative meal preparation from the centre’s fantastic cook, to be fixed, and all the while the children were fed. I thought this was the end.
The next week, the industrial dishwasher in the kitchen decided it would get in on the action. It needed a new control panel. We did a fair bit of dishwashing and wiping during this week; it was okay, and we smiled through.
The next breakdown was the washing machine. The digital code on the panel told me it was a blocked overflow pipe, and I knew how to fix it thanks to Dr Google. This breakdown was not going to cost us time or money! Alas, my ability as a washing machine technician was lacking; we needed a professional. The fan needed replacing, and it was going to cost, but it was fixable and quick.
Over the next fortnight, the two heaters in Sturt House went, and we were unable to get replacement parts as the heaters are over 40 years old! We are looking for an alternative and the University are helping.
Then came the beginning of June, the motherboard in the Toddler House computer went kaput, an irritation but a relatively easy and cheap fix.
At this point, I was a little over at all, and surely, I was due a lucky break. And then it happened. A sound like the grinding of gears, and a smell of burning came wafting out of the laundry. The clothes dryer had died. I knew it was not good. Our new friend the technician rushed to our aid, but sadly it was not a quick fix. The fan would need replacing, and one needed to be ordered. A new fan would take some time.
This winter in Adelaide has been wet and cold, and as my beautiful Grandma would have said ‘not good weather for drying’. What was to be done. Children create a lot of washing which in turn creates a lot of drying. But I had a plan; I would find the silver lining; I could make this work. We would be okay, and I could get us through this.
Each night I would leave with a few baskets of laundry to dry at home in my dryer. People noticed my quiet movements as I passed each house. Educators would say ‘I will get a basket when I leave’; ‘Can I help?’; ‘What can I do?’. As the days went on, they did not ask any more they just did. I would watch from my office as a slow parade of washing baskets and educators would leave each night and then return the next morning with dry and folded washing. It seemed not to matter the time it took from their real life, the inconvenience of carrying a basket of wet laundry up the hill to the car park. They seemed not to worry them that the drying was work-related, in their own time, their own homes and at their expense, nobody commented, it appeared they were going to help no matter the cost.
Today when the tech arrived, and the fan was replaced we all sighed a collective sigh.
I continue to be surprised by the kindness, commitment and willingness of these amazing people who educate and care for our youngest citizens.
I am taking this moment to say thank you, you know who you are, the ones that offered, that were able, who thought about it, who said something and who did. Thank you all for building a community one washing basket at a time. Community does not go unnoticed.