Perhaps you have wondered what Peace Corps does with me should an emergency occur, such as an earthquake here or political instability. There is an emergency action plan with different steps, and we even have what are basically fire drills, such as today, when I was in the middle of washing my clothes.
To be honest my village should have seen it coming. One our LCF (Language teacher) told us we may or may not be going to our hub village, Chautara, today. And that’s weird. Because Hub days are usually announced well in advance because it takes us an hour to walk there. We also should have noticed when he told us to keep our phones handy because he would call us if we indeed would be going to hub.
So me at my site mates Ben and Andrew got done with our morning class and were all like “Hey, our schedule says our next class isn’t until noon!” That was two whole hours of free time! We could do laundry and take a bath! We never have that much free time. So after our morning meal (Rice and lentils as always) all three of us were at the well scrubbing away doing our laundry. And I believe at some point someone said “Hey, this is cool to do laundry together, really passes the time.” And then our LCF called one of us. That conversation went something like this:
Andrew: “Hey Sanjay… What? …Right now!? ….Get our Go bags?…ok….ok….Right now really? Uh….Ok”
Andrew then informs us that we need to drop what we are doing get our go bags* and got to Chautara, which is an hour walk away. Initially we did not put all these puzzle pieces together and for about 5 minutes assumed this may be a legit situation. Considering how the past few weeks have been I don’t think anyone wanted to take for granted if something serious was going on.
I threw some things in my go bag, my only food being a tootsie pop, and as a group we booked it to Chautara where we met up with the other volunteers. One girl had a puppy because her neighbor’s dog had puppies and gave her one. She was not at home when she got the call so she just brought the puppy with her.
And to be perfectly frank, that puppy was the only bright spot I think anyone had in the last few weeks.
So to sum up, in our permanent site we will get a call and have to go to a consolidation point in our districts. Mine is 30 km from me, so I suppose I better hope the potential earthquake won’t close the roads and prevent my future bike ride. And I am the farthest from our consolidation point. At the consolidation point is a satellite phone, sleeping bags, tents, food, etc. It’s at one of the other volunteers houses. Hopefully he doesn’t eat all our emergency food supplies before the emergency.
So currently I have two buckets of wet, dirty, soapy laundry that will have to be completed tomorrow, and hopefully it won’t mold overnight.
*Go bags are something we are supposed to have on hand. It is supposed to have clothes for a few days, water, some food, passport, medications, etc. Anything we would need should we have to evacuate fast. None of us had them prepared.