|Mas cajas (boxes)|
My apologies for not having been posting as much as I hoped I would be able to in the last few days. About a week ago I was made a Team Lead, which has translated into a bit of a breakdown on my regular routine. Still keeping up with PT, but not writing or taking pictures at drop sites nearly as much. It has been an amazing experience, and one I wish I would have had a bit more time with, but that is another post for another day.
|Bad snack box|
During my time in PR I have delivered:
- FEMA 18 piece meals
Good snack box
- FEMA 30 piece meals
- FEMA Snacks
- Water in 12, 24, 30, 32, and 40 bottle cases
- 5 gallon Water Storage
- Flashlights (no battery)
- Maxi pads
- Garbage bags
- Hygiene kits
- Hand sanitizer
What is supposed to happen is the a Point of Contact (POC) fills out a form requesting certain items to be delivered to the community. The warehouse received the form, fills the order and loads the truck. Then we take the truck, contact the POC on our way out, and deliver the requested supplies. This is almost never how it happens though, and I don't think I have had a single delivery here where the truck manifest matched the requested items.
|Thanks, but no thanks to canned|
Additionally, depending on the site and the amount of stuff in the truck, these items have to be "prepped." If you arrive in a barrio and there are 100 people in line, and you have 2 boxes that each contain 200 bags, then you have to undo the garbage bags in order to give each person 4 or 8 bags. That math on that is even a little off because if you start with a line of 100 people, there are going to be more by the time you unload the truck and start distributing. Throw in the randomness of what is supplied (I had a load a few days back where they gave us 8 boxes of pads...individual boxes) and that most of the time you have one or two compromised pallets (really and truly, it is awesome that Anheuser-Busch made special canned water for PR, but the pallets are always overloaded, and so the bottom layer breaks, and then people think we are distributing beer.)
Normally I would leave off there since it is a nice little topic post, but as I haven't updated in a while, this blog will now take a bit of a personal turn.
Yesterday was my final work day. Today I will out process and tomorrow I get on a flight back to Minneapolis in the morning. This is such a bitter sweet thing; on the one hand I'm not sure I could keep up with the 10-12days on, 1 day off deal that seems to be the regular at the moment. On the other hand I LOVE THIS WORK and I LOVE PUERTO RICO. There is something about the intensity, and camaraderie that exists in spaces like this, that I haven't really experienced since I was in Peace Corps. If I come back from a horrible drop, I know there is going to be someone who will come out for a beer with me and listen to me complain for a couple of minutes before we all start talking about "better a bad day here, than a bad day in the states." The music, the dancing, the people, the joy, the dark humor have all pulled me in and reminded me that the 9-5 back home isn't the only way to exist.
There have been times during this deployment where I have wondered if I'm a bit too soft for this type of work and this culture. I'm a bit of an empath, which means I am easily impacted by those around me on an emotional level. A goal of mine with this deployment was to focus on being honest with myself about feelings and reactions, and when appropriate sharing that with others. This is in particular a difficult task when the emotions are "negative" and when I'm confronting the person(s) creating them for me. I'm very much wired to please others, it is why I find service such an important aspect of my being, but it has created some incredibly unhealthy habits that I fear if I don't break now, I may never do so down the road. I will not be a doormat, if I'm being treated poorly, I will do something about it, even if it makes me or the other person uncomfortable. My "softness" is also at the root of why I love what I do however, and why I seek it out on the regular. I care for people so much, and so quickly, that it becomes a driving force to this odd little life I live. I wrote a bit about that in my personal journal and may or may not post some more on this topic once I have a little time at home to reflect.
My body has held up well for this deployment, and I look forward to continuing with the PT and lifting regime that is now daily practice. My lower back has not had an issue once, and it is amazing all the ways a regular core workout can fix a variety of smaller issues (not just a bulging disk on L4-L5.) I got back into a healthy eating routine, pretty much by force, over the past couple of weeks. I had lost a decent amount of weight, really quickly, after a recent breakup but this workload has no time for a 500 calorie a day diet, and it only took me skipping breakfast once to realize that you can not do manual labor for 8-10hrs a day without food.
All around this deployment, no matter how last minute, was a really good decision for me, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Honestly if Christmas wasn't coming up, I probably would have tried to make arrangements to extend a few more weeks, and as it stands I'm exploring the possibility of re-deploying in late January. In all likelihood this won't happen, since the ARC is reclassifying from relief to recovery in the coming weeks, but I'm going to have a chat with someone about it at headquarters today.
Hope this post finds everyone well,