What a day we have had! I am currently writing this on my handy iPhone from a small room in a rec center on the Tohono Nation Indian Reservation in Sells, AZ. We were called in to help set up and run a Red Cross disaster relief shelter for the people on the reservation. There has been some crazy weather in the area; high winds and lots of rain are causing a lot of damage to people's homes and a loss of electricity.
Today started out like any normal day. We woke up, had our team meeting early in the day since we had a later start to accommodate the tax site schedule, then headed to United Way for lunch. After lunch we went to the community center in Flowing Wells to start working with people on their taxes. The community center's electricity was going in and out due to the heavy winds. We weren't sure if we were going to be able to complete any returns, but luckily the electricity came back on and we were able to fill out a few returns before we were called away.
We got back to our apartments to pack and promptly took off to meet up with our shelter manager at the Red Cross office in Tucson. As we were driving and got off at an exit both the Red Cross truck and our van hit a sign that was laying in the middle of the road and instantly gave us both flat tires. After a short hour and a half wait for the company that had to change the spare on the Red Cross truck (we changed our own tire very quickly and efficiently!) we were back on the road.
We arrived in Sells with another NCCC team from Denver, Sun 1, around 11:30 p.m. and were able to set up the shelter promptly. We haven't had any guests come in yet, so we are just waiting. Ian, Shawn, Derek and Sarah are all working the night shift with some Sun 1 members while the rest of us get some sleep so we can work during the day tomorrow.
Originally our team was supposed to go on to another shelter—the name of the place escapes me right now—after stopping to drop off supplies and cots. But, since the weather has just been nasty, the roads between here and there were flooded. We're waiting to hear whether or not our team will be continuing on to the second shelter in the morning.
We'll make sure to keep everyone posted of what's happening. Everyone seems to be in great spirits, excited to be here to help where we're needed.