Experience of a lifetime

My name is Hugh Savage.  In April of 2009, myself and three other men were blessed with an opportunity to travel to Australia and provide our assistance to the many individuals that were affected following massive brushfires that blazed across the Australian state of Victoria just two months prior, taking the lives of 173 people, and injuring over 400 others.  I could not believe I was really going to Australia, and was obviously super excited.  We of course had researched the situation quite thoroughly, however, we could not have prepared ourselves for the magnitude of destruction we witnessed upon arrival.  Every morning we were assigned to drive to a different property where we would begin rebuilding the wire fences so crucial for any individual with land and livestock.  The people we met were amazing, every one of them were so appreciative and grateful for our help.  We were invited into their homes (given they still had one), made lunch, introduced to their families, and told the heartbreaking stories of the loss they had suffered.  That trip changed my life. The feeling of doing something so worthwhile is amazing.  We worked hard everyday, were saddened by what we saw and heard, but we also had the time of our lives and made friends that I still talk to on a regular basis.  I would never imagine I would be going back less than two years later and needless to say am beside myself.  If I could give any advice to those of you going for the first time it would be to expect the unexpected, be prepared to meet some very interesting people from all over the world,  and to never ever step in an ant bed…even their regular ants (like our fire ants) are the size of a German Shepherd and have heads with pinchers and tails with stingers..which they use at the same time. Should you step in one though, don’t tear off your boots and pants and run up a hill screaming because they’re just bull ants and can’t kill you.  At least that’s what the locals who witnessed the nameless person this happened to said.  Can’t wait to meet all of you and I’m looking forward to this being a great trip!

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