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Stories of community recovery

Read about how community members are recovering after the fires.

Kevin and Miulusa Giles sit on their couch in their home

What gratitude looks like

Milusa and Kevin Giles have been together for 41 years and residents of Sarsfield for 24, yet there is an unfamiliarity between them as they walk around their home.

The couple lost their house, possessions and thriving business in the Black Summer bushfires and spent the last 12 months living in a caravan. A week before Christmas, they moved into their new home.

As they sit down in the new living room, next to the Christmas tree, the windows behind them proudly display their land. A wide, open space that leads you down a hill and out into the distance.

“This is our home”, says Milusa. “This is where we’ve lived most of our lives, isn’t it, Kev?”

He agrees. “It’s strange. When you’ve lost everything, you have to go get it again. Every time I want to do something, even the little things, I have to knick down to Bunnings to get this tool or that tool.”

Milusa continues for him, “but we do know how lucky we are, some people have nothing.”

The room is silent for a moment as Milusa considers whether to say what’s on her mind.

“I could’ve lost my husband that night”, she says, looking over at him.

“Ah, no”, Kevin breathes out, in an attempt to wave off her comment as he shuffles in his seat.

As only a wife does, she dismisses him with a look that says, ‘don’t be stupid, you know I’m right’.

The familiarity between them is evident as they sit silently next to their new Christmas tree, in their new living room, holding each other’s gaze in a moment of pure gratitude to have another year together.

Reviewed 16 October 2022

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