INDEPENDENT NEWS

Australian Fire Lake Conjola - Give a little fundraiser

Published: Mon 20 Jan 2020 09:36 PM
"Looking back at the turn of events that have unfolded for Jesse and his family over the last couple of weeks it has given me a perspective of how things in life can quickly change. I’ve known Jesse close to 30 years and he has always been a straight up fun-loving guy. One of those guys that just goes a million miles an hour talking fast, moving fast. He sent me a video on Christmas Eve of him jumping off the roof into the new pool that he had just built at the home. He looked to be having the time of his life surrounded by family and friends doing things an 18 year would do rather than a 37-year-old.
The fires were raging over Australia and to be honest I did not think much about Jesse or any of my friends in Australia. I had a line of thinking of “They will be alright” or they will get in touch if there are any problems. With a casual glance at the television I noticed that Jesse neighbourhood suburb of Lake Conjola, Sydney was now in the thick of the fires. I called Jesse and after no answer a feeling of dread came over me. I called again and got a hold of him, I was relieved to talk to him, to hear his voice but life had drastically changed for the worst.
Much had happened to Jesse over the span of two weeks since I had last had the video of him jumping into the pool. He had lost a close friend, who had tried to stay and put the fire out around his house. His mother’s (Patty.) house had been burnt to the ground along with all her belongings, His uncles house Steve had been burnt to the ground losing all of his belongings. He himself had almost been caught in the fire trying to help out another friend from losing his house. He had fires at his own driveway the size of small house and had to desperately put them out. He among others had been going around Lake Conjola trying to savage what they could for their friends and community. A friend from Sydney had given Jesse a large portable water container which proved invaluable during the weeks of fire in Lake Conjola.
I could hear the sadness and desperation in Jesse voice when speaking to him. This was not a voice I had ever heard Jesse have. There was still a franticness in his voice and could tell his mind was racing and fearful of what could happen next. I can only imagine that a wild fire would be largely unpredictable and his being on edge was just a state of being needed. Jesse was only sleeping 2 hours a night and had done this for close to a week. I have one bad night and I am unhinged let alone of week of next to no sleep. There were tears shed on the phone that night and I’d say there were many nights of tears shed for Jesse his family and the community of Lake Conjola.
As a small gesture I have set up this page to try and alleviate a little bit the pain of Jesse mum and uncle, Patty and Steve. https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/chinnocks-bushfire
Tevita Waqasoakolala

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