I am writing this letter for two reasons - firstly, to thank everyone for what they have done for me and secondly, if perhaps you find yourself in the same predicament, to encourage you to swallow your pride and reach out.
You’ll be amazed at the great number of kind, helpful and generous people in our community.
My loss during the recent fires was but a grain of sand in comparison to many locals and residents from surrounding areas, who lost a lot more than me or, in some cases, everything they’ve ever had.
My loss of the work tools I’d accumulated over many years left me feeling hopeless; I was ready to throw in the towel. This is where good Samaritans, strangers, and friends alike, stepped in. They stopped my downward spiral, giving me encouragement and hope.
‘Thanks’ seems such a small word to say to so many wonderful people for their absolute kindness and assistance to get me back on my feet again.
Two life-changing statements reminded me of the strength of human resilience. A friend who had lost his home said to me: “I never really wanted the house here, I’ve always wanted it built over there!” And I overheard a 10-year-old boy saying to a friend: “I’m not thinking of the past, I’m looking towards the future.”
Being a proud and rather stubborn man, I was reluctant to ask for help, always believing ‘you only get something by doing something’. This perception was changed by the encouragement received, and the means to start over again.
How I could thank you enough or return your overwhelming kindness, I’ll never know. What little I do know about life is this: what you have done for me, I will be able to do for someone else one day.
I sincerely thank Jarret Hirschberg and family, Tony Lubner, Gary (of Motor Spares fame), Gaylene and Donald Ravenscroft, Elizabeth and Stephan Wentz, Howard Selfe, BUCO Plettenberg Bay management and staff Robyn Zondagh, Lance Kock, and Peter van Vorstenbosch.
Many others asked not to be named - friends and associates who deserve words of gratitude for offers of help and words of wisdom.
In closing, two things: not only am I back on my feet, but my faith in human decency and kindness has been restored. We live in an incredibly beautiful area with incredibly wonderful people.
Finally, on a lighter note: most of my destroyed tools were old and work-scarred, so I’m finding it quite hard to work with the new tools. In fact, they’re so clean and shiny, I almost want to frame them! But hey, that’s not what they’re made for…
Hew Smithers, Plett