Day 4

A new kind of tired settled into my bones today, the type that comes with the uncertainty of what will happen next (and the kind that happens after 3 nights on a cot in a room with over 300 other people). I am learning so much about what it means to wait patiently in this context, how important flexibility is as plans can change. I've also been trying to watch what types of snacks I am eating as an overload of sodium and sugar can leave me feeling yucky. Water intake is on my radar.

I didn't expect to feel so tired without leaving HQ at all. I noticed myself feeling frustrated and snappy at the end of the day so most of us ICT caseworkers made the decision to cut out early (around 5:30 pm vs 7 pm) for a dinner out. Since I arrived I have been eating food I had packed for a small dinner, opting to save my time for rest instead of restaurants. And man, the massive salad full of vegetables and fruit I had for dinner, plus the humor and camaraderie of my coworkers left me feeling much better. I had hoped to get some exercise tonight but switched my priorities to fresh food and sleep. My brain needs this type of fuel.

Regarding work, I had my first dose of ... sober reality. Part of my tasks today included cross-referencing and helping compile lists of the deceased. Just seeing the names, ages, relation, locations, etc made the loss much more 'real' to me. The media is reporting up to 250 deaths in this state alone, a staggering number. Add the numbers of people injured from the storms, plus the family members and loved ones coping with it all and that means a lot of people will need the support of their friends, family, churches, and communities at large. I am glad that the American Red Cross is here and on the ground.

This afternoon I learned the names of the two other volunteers who make up our team of 3 for the next little while that we work together. I look forward to meeting them and getting started. Tomorrow I expect to spend most of my day talking with individuals and families at a hospital in the Tuscaloosa area.

Beyond that I am sure there is more but my brain is done. As my work begins what I plan to write is limited. Out of respect for the individuals and families, as well as confidentiality, I will not be sharing specific stories. I do hope to continue sharing my experiences and observations in a way that communicates the great work happening here, so stay tuned for updates.

Signing out.

PS. Highlight at the staff shelter tonight was grabbing a banana and raisin bran for breakfast tomorrow. SCORE!

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