Thursday, August 28, 2008

Special Hurricane Edition

OK, so it's not Wednesday but interesting things are starting to happen so I thought I would update on my activities. Gustave is headed our way. A very UNwelcomed guest. We don't need another hurricane just yet. The NOLA newspaper this morning had a list of all the levees that are still under construction.

Almost the minute I posted my blog entry yesterday I got a good look at the weather channel and then another. Then the local TV, then CNN. Then Weather Underground on the internet. They all show a computer model looking like Katrina's twin headed straight for us. And tomorrow is August 29--the third anniversary of Katrina.

I got an email on my blackberry from our new volunteer village coordinator, in essence, my boss. The word here is to stock up on all the gasoline I can get my hands on and pack my bag then sit back and stay calm. Leslie, whom I haven't met yet, has experience with Red Cross and I think is very practical to warn us that this may be a long adventure. Storms come then die out, then regroup and come back. We saw Fay do this for about three weeks. We could spend two or three months going through this before we could relax completely.

However, the boss did tell me to get out the Evacuation Kit and check it. I had never been given permission to as much as touch it before. I'm sure they didn't want people taking things out of it and not replacing it, leaving a half-assed Evac kit. I think the one in the Pearlington camp may even have been sealed. Every camp has one but, to my knowledge, this was the first time we'd been instructed to look inside it. At any rate, I've always been curious about what was in it and excited to be given permission to look inside. I just knew it would be packed with food. No dice. It contained hand sanitizer, a fire extinguisher, rope and tarp, paper plates and a first aid kit--stuff like that.

I went and gassed up the car and truck. Our shed already had about 10 five gallon cans of gasoline. So, I'm pretty much prepared. So I sit and wait.

Our camp here is less of a worry to the PDA staff. We are inside a brick building. A couple of the other camps are, too. But the Pearlington camp is the one everyone at PDA is worried about. That camp is totally tents. Only the office and kitchen is in any kind of building, small plywood ones. You have a hard time tieing down trashcans in that camp. There's no place to put anything to get it out of the wind.

The main thing--the crucial difference is that right now, none of the PDA camps has volunteers. So all we are concerned with is equipment, not people.

My friends who stayed through Katrina are having a rough time. Even Dallas, a tough old bird if there ever was one, is talking about evacuating. I told her she was always welcome at our house in Texas. She's been living alone since her partner, Jayne, took a contract nursing job in New Mexico. But as we talked I realized that like most people, she couldn't leave alone. If she found a safe place she would have to take her sister and brother-in-law with her. Then the two grandkids and their mother. Then, of course, she would bring her good buddy, Joel and possibly Joe. The list of extended family grew as we talked. It reminded me of all the times I considered the "nuclear bomb" scenario. If I stockpiled food at my house I wouldn't be able to eat it without offering some to Shirley, our neighbor across the street. Very few people are islands. Most of us are part of a family-type group. If one goes, they all go.

Enough philosophy. My plans for today are to gas up the only two empty gas cans. Then I'm going to do the regular stuff I would be doing any normal day. In the meantime, I wait.

Additional news as it develops.

1 comment:

nancy said...

Sounds like your second book is already being formed. But before you try to become an on-site reporter, and capture all the emotions and amazing details down on paper - get thyself safe!