A while back I was contacted by my good friends in Red Cross to create some new images. They were working on a new educational material focussed on disasters. "Great!" I thought - I have quite a few images and stories to share in that field. However when they told me the case would be focussed on a Danish girl that had been rescued from a storm a few years back in Denmark - my immediate reaction was one of surprise, to say the least...
Geography update: Denmark is a small flat country high north, safely tucked away from earthquakes, monsoon rains, tornado's and just about any other natural calamity you normally would link to a theme on disasters. But then again; there is that bit about being a flat country - giving easy access for rising water to flood our lands. But a wet basement - on the grand scale of things - is that a disaster? Well, I learned a good lesson from Regitze, an amazing 12 year old girl!
Regitze and her family was never surrounded by the death and destruction one would normally expect from "a real disaster" - but is that then the right way to measure things? If you saw your belongings, your memories and cherished objects float away, and you being stuck behind - wouldn't you say it was a disaster FOR YOU? Regitze saw all this - and her favourite teddybear - disappear in the water, she had to wait inside her flooded house for their neighbour to rescue her in a boat! To her nothing could be more terrifying or disastrous. And what hit me - and her - while we talked, is how it all comes down to scale.
I told her about some of the people I've met in so called "real disasters" around the world - and she was so surprised and starting reflecting on how maybe her situation was not that bad after all. But I on the other hand drove home thinking about how often I must get things wrong just because my brain auto-pilot's me to link certain events/people/expressions to certain pre-programmed "truths". My pre-programmed response - of unbelief - to Regitze being hit by a disaster in Denmark was so dead wrong!
Eyes opened by a 12-year old. Thank you for that Regitze!