I have arrived safely in Wichita. Though the flood waters have receded in nearby towns, there is still a lot of recovery work in the days, weeks, months ahead. I am working on the Response Technology Team (RTT) which coordinates everything from cell phones to computers to satellite hookups. The team I am on has years & years of experience so this is a great opportunity to learn & see if this is something I want to do next year. They are passionate about their work & have similar goals to mine so we are meshing well. This is also another chance to see how Disaster Relief Operations (DROs) function & the various roles that each team plays in the process. I have learned more acronyms than anything else but it is helpful to speak RC-ese since everyone speaks in this unique language. Every day I get a different report as to how long I will be here from another week to the full three weeks (ending August 8). You work seven days a week – 7 days on, 1 day off. The first & perhaps most important lesson you learn when doing this type of work is FLEXIBILITY. I am glad to have this opportunity & a supervisor who is willing to give me the time away from writing grants to have this experience. And, contrary to popular belief, there have been no sightings of Dorothy or Toto YET.
The pictures in this blog are from Coffeyville, Kansas, & show the extensive flooding that took place in this town. After the flooding there was an oil spill which resulted in 500+ condemned homes. I would ask that you remember these people in your prayers. It's hard to go home at night (especially while working on this DRO) thinking that your life is lacking anything once you see this widespread devastation that has far-reaching & long-term consequences.