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Volunteering at the Astrodome - Transience Divine
September 8th, 2005
09:42 pm

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Volunteering at the Astrodome
On Friday I realized that I could free up the time to volunteer for a couple of weeks. And that was the whole idea behind my giving up teaching for independent coding, so I decided that it was a moral imperative to do so. For once, there's a real need, and I can help. So I got out of all my responsibilities, and I have two weeks to groove at the big party at the Astrodome.

I've been busy getting ready, but it all went well. Work responsibilities are satisfied, play responsibilities are in a reasonably happy state, and if I stay in touch, they'll all remain that way.

I started this entry on the plane down. I'm very excited. I want to blog for real while I'm here, but don't know if I'll have time. I wasn't even able to find a place to stay the first night.

So I came straight to the dome and did a night shift. I was told that I would never be able to get in, but it wasn't difficult and I got the nice little Volunteer band without going through any official registration process. I slept on a cot in the clothing sorting room and was jolted awake by the announcement system starting back up, less than four hours later, but I'm still pretty charged. I just need to call the Youth Hostel so I can get one good night's sleep and a shower.

The system dynamics here are understandably horrible, but better than they are reported to have been a week ago. A call goes out for lots-and-lots of volunteers, and 30 minutes later they have next to nothing to do. A few hours ago, the building I was serving food in had run out while the Astrodome-proper was closing full feeding stations for lack of demand. For approximately two minutes, we were told "Don't feed anyone but evacuees-- we don't have the food!", before they realized that we a good deal more food than we needed.

I'm in one of the main computer labs now, in the Astrodome. Very excited. I'll say more later.

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From:siderea
Date:September 9th, 2005 01:54 am (UTC)
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"I'm in one of the main computer labs now"

How many do they have? Do evacuees get access or is it staff only?

I've just been contacted by a volunteer who coordinates priacte housing/transportation with refugees. Her Astrodome contacts have dried up. Would you be interested in being such a contact?

Pass it on: http://www.mixolydian.org/katrina/resources.php
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From:jrising
Date:September 9th, 2005 04:58 am (UTC)
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Two that I've seen, plus one "oops, I wasn't supposed to tell you about that" that I got. One is dedicated to a FEMA-related "Client Access/Assistance" program, for evacuees, that I don't know anything more about (> 100 laptops worth). One is for general family-, housing-, or employment-finding use (for evacuees), and I think it's going to double in capacity tonight to about 40 computers. The third is clearly for a subset of staff (not general volunteers).

I can be a contact, but I only just helped with computer stuff (by wonderfully fortuitous timing-- perhaps the topic of my next posting). Tell her to tell me what she'd like, and I'll see if I can do it.

Of course I will pass on your webpage. I assume you also want to know about the pages that are in common use down here?
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From:siderea
Date:September 9th, 2005 05:12 am (UTC)
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Oh, yeah -- so does everyone else in the world. Blog with all the detail you can about the conditions and resources there. It's an absolute black hole to the rest of the world.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 9th, 2005 06:10 am (UTC)

Lockdown?

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I heard something about some near riots because of the debit card fiasco. Any news? Are you stuck inside?

Please email me. I would love to see if you can get these people paged for me. Most of the ones on my list only need TRANSPORTATION out and they have homes to go to. I have run out of people who are looking for housing. I would love it if you would pass out papers with my phone number on it so that people who are tired of waiting around can get the hell out of Dodge.

From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 9th, 2005 06:11 am (UTC)

Re: Lockdown?

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Sorry, it's Lisa S again. lisa_stanford@oci3.com or lisa_stanford@comcast.net

I can't wait to hear from you. I hope we can work together on this!
[User Picture]
From:jrising
Date:September 10th, 2005 04:24 am (UTC)

Re: Lockdown?

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I wasn't aware of any big problems, and there was certainly no lockdown. People were pretty disgruntled while waiting in lines in the hot sun, but we were able to keep giving them things to drink along the way.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 9th, 2005 05:50 am (UTC)

referred to you by v.l.

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Please visit oci3.com. I am an independent "underwater railroad" contact. I have matched several families with homes throughout TX and even as far as California. Please keep me in the loop, as I have SSOOOO many people on my list just waiting to help. We only need a contact on the inside to get this thing back in gear. I need to know about the paging system. Yesterday I was able to call a number and request someone's name to be paged, without revealing my "true identity." Then those people could go to the phones and call me back so I could talk to them about potential matches.

What I'm seeing is that many people are saying they WANT to stay in Houston. I don't understand it. I have places for elderly people, families, single people, etc. I have a long list of sponsors who just want to help someone get to their loved ones or to a host family.

Please please help me help these people. Visit my site and then shoot me an email. lisa_stanford@oci3.com

This entire process is uncivilized and completely wrong. We are not getting the whole truth, and there's a big conspiracy in covering up the reality of the situation. Please give us the real truth and help us get those people out of there who are ready to leave.

There is nothing wrong with independent volunteers helping to place FREE and INNOCENT people with homes of other volunteers who want to help them improve their lives.

Lisa Stanford
Independent Volunteer, OUTREACH!!!
OCI3.com

Can't wait to hear from you.
L in Atlanta.

Please call 404-840-7482 or 404-378-9699 or use my email. Thanks a lot.

[User Picture]
From:jrising
Date:September 10th, 2005 04:20 am (UTC)

Re: referred to you by v.l.

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Replied to privately.
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