– Port Hills, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Today was going to be a fun day. Or at least I thought it would be. On the 22nd of February all of the girls in year 7 at my school would get together, share some laughs and do fun activities. We were going to bake cookies, play games and watch a movie or two. We were settling down for lunch when it hit.

A massive roar of movement, unimaginable to anyone who has not experienced it. I couldn’t see anything because the world was shaking so fast. I crouched down on the floor into the turtle shell position while all of the girls ran screaming and kicking to get out of the classroom. I felt the presence of two friends beside me and I remember laughing with them, as we did not know how destructive this quake would turn out to be.

When the shaking stopped, one of the teachers ran into the classroom shouting, “Get out! Get out!” and we obeyed swiftly, sprawling out onto the main field of the school. There were so many people crying and shaking. Some were laughing but you could see in there eyes how secretly worried they were. I was one of the ones who just stayed quiet. One of my friends runs up to me in tears explaining that both of her parents were in high buildings out in the city and I look out and all I can is dust blanketing all of the buildings. Kids start to scream, “The buildings have all fallen over!” And we were terrified. The teachers eventually round us up and begin a role call. I forgot to mention we were on a hill hence the view of the city.

My Dad eventually picks my little brother and I up from school and we ask about the state of the house. Apparently, it’s “munted” and it is. The walls are cracked, furniture is sprawled across the house and glass is everywhere. Water is leaking out of the pipes and my fish are dying but we can’t reach them because objects are blocking our path. We sleep on the floor that night, alert from aftershocks and listening to the death tolls rise up and up on our wind up radio.

After months of living in rough conditions, things started to get back to normal. An aftershock here and there, but no more fatalities. My family has moved to Queenstown a year and a half after the February earthquake and my thoughts are always with everyone who suffered and lost there lives because of the earthquake that day and the ones that followed.

Kia kaha New Zealand.

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