Creating a system for booking, tracking and storing volunteer information on Project Minot I was about to head off in search of suitable stationary and organisational devices when Clare asked me if my plan for the mountain of paperwork registration generates was “dropable”. This was something I has not considered and a feature I’m not sure most people have need of but here at All Hands, in the world of disaster response, the dropable office is a lifesaver.
Consider today. We have been working out of the Municipal Auditorium in Minot. Initially many services and organisations maintained a presence here; FEMA, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, SBA. Now it is just us and the teachers making hasty preparations to hold school here in September for students flooded out of their old one. Today we turned up to find locked doors. The Auditorium is now closed on Sundays. The Recovery Coordination Centre that we run out of the Auditorium is open on Sundays. So here we are sitting at a trestle table under a folding gazebo running a fifty person project out of boxes. Nobody missed a beat. Paperwork can be grabbed in an instant, flung into the back of a minivan and transported across the city only for the logistics to continue uninterrupted on arrival. Things can blow over, get knocked off tables, be righted and still hold all of their precious contents in easy to browse folders, organised alphabetically by first name. Genius.
Technology plays its part too of course. The four of us are merrily browsing the internet (as evidenced by this post) through a portable mifi device which can run off a battery for hours. We also have ipads that use mobile phone networks to connect and chargers that will plug into car cigarette lighters if anyone should run low on juice.
The dropable office has shown itself to be not just dropable but portable, not just wind-proof but change-of-plan-proof. Perfect, therefore, for the topsy-turvy, changes-every-second world that I seem to find myself in so often and have grown to love. Three cheers for Clare and her non-stop innovation!