New technology and clairvoyance connects Sunshine Coaster to her world family
CHRISTEL Waters had always thought of herself as an only child with no close relatives.
That is, until the research powers of the internet found her a half-sister she never knew she had, and put her in touch with a "massive" extended family in the Ukraine.
Now, thanks to the wonders of communication technology, the Sunshine Coast resident regularly talks to Nadiya ) and her son (Christel's nephew) Alexander on Skype, and through Viber is able to exchange photographs and text, free.
"Nadiya wants me to come over there," Christel said last week.
"She said everybody, all the family and the church knows about me.
"But if I can't get to the Ukraine Skype this is the next best thing.
"Technology has made it possible, I don't now what we'd do without it."
Christel pointed out that Skype lets her see facial features and pick up on personalities, which letters cannot do.
The story begins just after the Second World War, when her father left his town on the border of Germany and Poland and became lost in the post-war chaos.
His daughter Nadyia went to live in the Ukraine, where she had two sons who now have families of their own.
Two years ago Alexander, at Nadiya's urging, set the ball rolling to find where his grandfather had gone.
Unbeknownst to them, he had written to them several times but when they did not reply he assumed they had all gone - the real reason was that they lived in an area under Russian control and they were afraid to write back.
Likewise the father could not return for fear of being sent to Siberia.
He set about making a new life in Australia.
Desperate for information, Nadiya went to a clairvoyant, who told her he was not in Germany, and to look in Australia.
They thought this was silly, but after two years decided to start looking again.
Their knowledge of Australia was not great but in Germany the Red Cross, who does much to locate displaced persons, was putting the pieces together.
Technology came to the rescue again, unearthing the name of the ship he sailed in, the farm he worked on and even his relationship to Christel.
Red Cross went to the archives and electoral rolls and asked the local Maroochydore police to take the letter of discovery to Christel.
And that is how Christel found her long-lost family.
Quite soon she had a phone call from Alexander, who is the manager of Dulux Paints in Russia and speaks excellent English, and who then put her in touch with Nadia, who doesn't, but has Skype.
However Nadia taught German long ago and the sisters converse in German, a bit rusty at first but getting better, reports
"Julia (another relative) is going to send me the family tree so I will know where everyone fits in," she said.
And she thought she was an only child!
Skype comes preinstalled by manufacturers on some computers.
If there is no Skype tile on your Start screen, from the Start Screen, type Skype, and then click on the Store category.
In the results, click on Skype, and then on the next page, click Install.