Salvos keep turning up
9 February 2015
I just can’t tell you how wonderful it was to see the man from The Salvation Army coming out to us in a dinghy with supplies,” says George Pauza.
“He was the first person we’d seen in a week after the floods left us isolated. They brought out tradesmen, materials, information and basic supplies. They gave of their time and have helped us in every way you could imagine.”
George and his wife, Bianca, live on “Pauzas’ Place”, a rural property 80km from Bundaberg where they once ran a Brahman stud. The couple, now in their 70s and retired from cattle farming, have lived there for 35 years. George is originally from Latvia and Bianca from the former Czechoslovakia.
Just before the floods, the Pauzas had moved antique furniture, valuable books, precious photos and most of their household goods from the top floor of their Queenslander home, downstairs in order to renovate.
“The floods came through, devastated most of our house and took it all,” says George quietly. “We lost everything. Even the locals, who’ve farmed here for generations, have never seen anything like these floods.”
Volunteers from The Salvation Army “Rebuild” project in Bundaberg worked to make the Pauzas’ house liveable so they could move back in and continue rebuilding their lives.
“The Salvos have given us furniture, bedding and everything we need to get us back on the road,” says George. There is light at the end of this very long tunnel.”
The Pauzas are both battling health problems and Bianca also cares full-time for her elderly mother who is deaf, blind and ill.
“We do what we need to and we know that if we need more help, we can ask the Salvos and they will assist us,” says George. “They are just so willing.”
Both George and Bianca agree that the floods and their aftermath have changed their lives completely.
“We didn’t plan or allow for floods, so when they hit it was even more devastating,” says George. “We were not insured because we’d had to spend our money on feeding cattle in the last drought and we just couldn’t afford the astronomical insurance premiums.
“We can never go back to what we were before the floods. Houses come and go but how do you replace memories like photos and the first-edition books that Bianca collected and loved?
“That loss leaves such a void in your life and we’re just too old to start again. Life wasn’t meant to be easy, though, and we will do the best we can.
“The Salvos, they understand this loss and void and that is why they bend over backwards to help people. I’ve never in my life been helped the way the Salvos helped us.”
By Simone Worthing
Photo by Shairon Paterson