13 February 2007

Neighbours in need

We live in a small village. Many of the houses are owned as "weekenders" and many others are empty during the day when the children are at school and both parents at work. Life is pretty quiet during the week. The local General Store always has someone there and occasional workers doing the never-ending railwork.
Today the Library Bus visited and Lana went with the children. The shop owner saw Lana and rushed towards her, "Do you know anything about burns?" Lana left the children in the bus looking at books and she went to the store to find out what was going on.
A local young lad, around 12 years old, was home alone with a slight cold and was cooking himself some chips (fries) for lunch. After the chips were cooked he wanted to clean up so he took the hot pan and put it in the sink and turned on the water. That's when disaster struck. The water hit the oil and exploded! Cold water and hot oil don't mix and he was severely burned from his fingers to his wrist with splatters further up his arm.
His first instinct was to find an adult so he immediately went to the store. The store owner asked him what was wrong and quickly realised that the poor boy had severe burns all up his arm, with skin peeling and boiling. He quickly put the boy's arms into cold water and called his dad who was at work about half an hour away.
Meanwhile, Lana came on the scene and confirmed the store owner's first aid - cold water on burns and nothing else. If the burn is bigger than a 20c piece (a quarter) seek medical help as soon as possible.
While they were waiting for the boy's father, Lana's dad came along and added his experience from the Fire Brigade. They tracked down the closest doctor/medical centre and once the father arrived they called the centre and arranged for quick support.
The father and boy then went off. We'll find out what happened over the next few days.
This incident did highlight one thing. Homeschooling benefits the community by having adults and families living in the neighbourhood and forming part of the local community. Many neighbourhoods are virtual ghost towns mid-week with school and work effectively turning the homes into temporary accomodation and meeting places.
A community is a collection of people. It's not the houses or buildings within which they live, they are just the framework, like a frame around a piece of artwork (like one of Lana's cross-stitches!). In a village or small community the real art is the wealth of characters and caring people. If they're not there, where is the community?
Today the community was centred around the shop, a homeschooling Mum, a retired man and a boy in need. At other times, the community hall, fire brigade and school form the the centre of attention. Life keeps on providing such good lessons.
I'm glad we're around to experience them.

No comments: