My psychological make up is that of a first responder. I find it very difficult to do nothing when a disaster has occurred. I want to go and help. I want to be part of the effort to rescue those affected and clean up the mess. I prefer the chaos in the moment of and immediately after the disaster to the comparative calm and organization of the reconstructive phase which is when most of the volunteers start arriving.
In my pursuit of opportunities to get involved in those types of activities I began some conversations with an organization called Greater Good Global Support Services (G3S2). Over the course of the last six or eight months I have had ongoing conversations with G3S2. In early September, looking for opportunities to go and help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, I contacted G3S2 and ask them what they had. G3S2 asked me to come and help them in their participation in Katrina Response Initiative. Machiko and I decided that I would go out to Meridian, Texas where G3S2 is based and spend a few weeks working with them.
I flew out of San Francisco Airport on Monday and arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. I was a little late in getting to the airport and thus my baggage did not make it onto the same flight that I was on. So I ended up cooling my jets in Austin for a few hours while I waited for my luggage to catch up. Headed north towards Meridian at about 2230 and arrived at the G3S2 complex at about 0030. I’m pretty sure there was some beautiful country that I passed through but I had no way to know it. All I could see was that which fell into the truck headlights.
G3S2 is a very small organization that provides support to missionaries and NGOs that are serving human needs worldwide. G3S2 was involved in efforts to coordinate volunteers looking to go to regions devastated by the tsunami with areas and people in the devastated region. In the case of hurricane katrina, G3S2 has joined a number of other agencies in a similar effort which is now called the Katrina Response Initiative. The primary focus of Katrina Response Initiative is to coordinate those who want to help with those who need help. It’s a great effort doing a great work.
Today was my first day out here. I am reminded that I really do prefer being in the thick of that action. This is one of those parts that I like less. My tasking here in a broad, general sense is to coordinate and troubleshoot organizational and logistical operations. Spent today gaining an understanding of what G3S2 does, brain storming about how genericize some of the processes that have developed within Katrina Response Initiative so that the concept can be reused in the future. While I find some of this kind of thing interesting I don’t really find it all that enjoyable. I am generally frustrated by the mechanics of trying to get large organizations to do what they’ve committed to or worse getting those same organizations to commit to something. Today I was calling warehouses in an effort to find out who has supplies still needing to go to Katrina victims. I finding frustrating that these people have stepped up to the challenge and are now left in a lurch because someone else failed in their commitment.