Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Christchurch's Container City

Container Coffee Shop
After the earthquake that devastated Christchurch in 2010, the shopkeepers whose livelihood had been taken away within a matter of hours, quickly devised a cost-effective and timely way to recover. They set up a container city within Christchurch.

When we visited Christchurch we were greatly impressed by the design, style and colours that people had used to re-enable their businesses. Everything from coffee shops to dress shops to a Westpac Bank were housed in nicely designed and outfitted cargo containers.

They stood near the buildings that had either withstood the event or that were vacant, pending dismantling. "Life goes on" was the order of the day.

When I saw the Christchurch church crumbled and lying in pieces on the ground, the thought passed my mind that the all powerful god people speak of and pray to couldn't save his church, but a less significant premises nearby was untouched. I already knew the answer to the question posed by that supposed dilemma.

We stopped at the coffee shop shown on the left for a cup of coffee and watched as our fellow tourists (obvious by their dress, backpacks and cameras) walked to and fro.

Others who appeared to be locals went about their business as normal, this one to the bank with a hessian bag full of something, perhaps the day's takings. 
That one, all decked out in suit and tie perhaps heading to the pub after a long and boring business meeting.

After finishing our coffee, it was late afternoon and we had a way to drive to get back to Mt Hutt, so we spent about half hour walking around the shops to see what they sold and headed for our car which we'd parked nearby.

Sadly, the containers will be removed in the next few years as the buildings are rebuilt or demolished and replaced with something grander, hopefully stronger and less prone to acts of nature.

When that happens and the last container is removed, we will only have the photographs and memories of the container city, evidence of humankind's resilience and ability to survive even the greatest odds.


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