Today I received the wonderful news that I have been awarded the 2018 Graduate Student Scholarship by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).
After a couple of quiet months back in New Zealand working full-time on my Masters in Emergency Management, on the 3rd of July I flew back to Brazil via Argentina and got to spend a couple of days in Friburgo catching up with folk before flying out to Puerto Rico via the United States on the 8th.
Sorry, no photos from this very quick trip!
On the 26th of February I left Brazil, almost exact 24 years after I first arrived in March of 1994.
Although I had visited New Zealand a number times since then, I am now officially no longer living in Brazil. However, the work with young people in the suburb of Cordoeira is continuing, and I do plan to visit in June on my way to Puerto Rico.
For the next few months I will be studying for a Master in Emergency Management through Massey University.
Early this morning (at 12:02 AM to be exact) I was woken up by rather strong (7.8 on the Richter scale) and very long (over 2 minutes) earthquake. Despite the intensity of the quake, there was no damage to my brother's house where I am staying, and only one major aftershock shortly after. There was an evacuation order given for low lying regions, which did not affect us.
I'm now back in cold Christchurch, having arrived in Auckland earlier this morning after a very long and rather ghastly flight from Buenos Aires on Air New Zealand.
It's great to be back on Kiwi soil!
Today was my last day volunteering with the New Zealand Red Cross in recovery outreach for those affected by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. It was a very rewarding time, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with such a fantastic team.
Here are some photos from the last month.
Things look really bad in Christchurch, with the much of the central city - and some other suburbs - destroyed, and the official death toll is already over 100. Fortunately my brothers Nate, and James and James' wife Anna are all ok, although communication is still very difficult with folk in Christchurch at this point.
I'm now in my last few days here in Christchurch before I go back to Brazil, and I've been doing a bit of ""he tourist thing" with my brother Nate. Here are some photos I've taken at the Ferrymead Historical Park, the Orana Wildlife Park and just around town in general.
After a month of no seismic activity, I was rudely awakened at 2 am this morning by a strong aftershock, followed by another at 2:30. Since then we have had over 25 aftershocks today, mostly in the 3 - 4.5 range, the largest of which was a 4.9 at 10:30 during church. Most of these shocks have been felt quite strongly due to their shallow depth (most 2 to 5 kms) and the fact that they have been directly under the city.
On Saturday there was a free concert in Hagley park, organized by the City Council and with participation of a number of New Zealand groups and musicians - even the mayor was going to play guitar. Around 120 thousand people showed up - I was amazed by how well behaved Kiwi crowds are!
Yesterday I arrived in Christchurch, after flying around 24 hours from São Paulo, with stop overs in Buenos Aires and Auckland. It was great to catch up with my family and some friends.
I experienced my first after-shock, a 3.6 level shock, last night and was woken up around 9:30 am this morning by a bigger one, a 4.4, which was obviously wanting to help me get quickly adjusted to the NZ time zone!