Pre­cious baby Isis

Palace fire sur­vivor’s heart­felt ges­ture:

Isis Town and Country - - FRONT PAGE - By MELINDA BRAD­FORD

OUT OF THE ASHES: Lea Isis Jansen, whose fa­ther Rob sur­vived the fa­tal Palace fire in 2000, was named af­ter the event that changed his life.

THE Palace Back­packer Hos­tel claimed the lives of 15 young back­pack­ers in 2000, but out of the ashes has come new life.

Rob Jansen, a trav­eller from the Nether­lands who sur­vived the fa­tal fire, has re­cently be­come a dad for the first time – and, in a heart­felt trib­ute to an event that changed his life and the com­mu­nity who came to his aid, he has named his daugh­ter Lea Isis Jansen.

Mr Jansen and long-time part­ner Karin wel­comed lit­tle Lea Isis into the world on the Caribbean is­land of Bon­aire on March 17.

The in­trepid trav­eller said as he searched for the per­fect name for the lit­tle girl they were ex­pect­ing, it oc­curred to him he could choose one that re­flected his ten­der feel­ings to­ward the Childers com­mu­nity.

“I was go­ing through end­less name lists, like many other par­ents-to-be,” he ex­plained.

“You are look­ing for the per­fect name – some sym­bol­ism, some his­tory, and per­sonal rea­sons.”

When Mr Jansen came across the name Isis, he im­me­di­ately took a lik­ing to it, and mo­ments later re­alised the con­nec­tion.

“I must ad­mit that gave it a big plus. The name Isis ticked all my boxes and more ... be­cause of the his­tory I have with the area and the sym­bol­ism of what hap­pened in June 2000,” he said.

While he and Karin ini­tially wanted to use Isis as their daugh­ter’s first name, they al­ready had a niece named Iris.

Be­liev­ing the names would be too sim­i­lar, they set­tled on Isis for their daugh­ter’s mid­dle name.

The Dutch na­tional said he re­mained for­ever grate­ful to the Childers com­mu­nity for the help he and fel­low sur­vivors re­ceived fol­low­ing the fire, es­pe­cially from long-term res­i­dent Donna Dun­can.

“For me, Donna is the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of the help we, as the sur­vivors, got af­ter the fire,” Mr Jansen said.

“But there were many more who put in their ef­fort to help us out. I’m just as thank­ful to them as to Donna.”

Mr Jansen plans to re­turn to the district one day with his fam­ily.

“There will be a day that I’ll bring Lea to Aus­tralia and to Childers. We hope to let Lea ex­pe­ri­ence the world as we are do­ing,” he said.

“We want to show her the dif­fer­ences, rich and poor, happy and sad, cold and warm etc.

“But we also want to show her what the life-chang­ing mo­ments were in her par­ents’ lives.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

PHOTO: NEWSMAIL

LIFE-CHANG­ING EVENT: Dutch trav­eller Rob Jansen sur­vived the Palace hos­tel fire, which killed 15 of his fel­low back­pack­ers on June 23, 2000.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Lea Isis Jansen was named af­ter the district as a spe­cial trib­ute.

PHOTO: GARY HUTCHI­SON

Mr Jansen with Donna Dun­can at the 10-year me­mo­rial for the fire vic­tims.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.