August 7, 2012

Still Re-Building from the Flood

I am at a loss for words. I have been working hard since 8 AM, and yet I feel I have accomplished nothing. That is not true, actually. I managed to spend money. In my defense the items were needed.

Amazon CARES began in 2004. Now, in 2012, it seems everything is breaking down. The flood in early 2012 destroyed the shelter and the volunteer bathrooms and showers. Donors helped us rebuild a much smaller shelter. I would love to show you a video clip. But I’ve been trying to upload it for four hours and don´t hold out much hope of getting it done today.

Now that volunteers are about to arrive, in 3 days, our generator at the shelter has died. It has been through many, many repairs over the years, and we have been told that no more repairs would be possible after the last bandage was applied. I purchased blocks of ice so that the food we purchased won’t go bad. We don’t want to buy a new generator (a $2000 expense), as the government continues to promise that we are getting electricity…soon.

A French Veterinary student, Sophie Sage, arrived a few days ago. Today, she and I will stay in an Iquito’s hostel. With no generator, there is no water. We’re trying to get a repairman out there, and our second idea is to find a used generator.

The microwave we’ve used since 2005 died too. I live in fear that our boat motor will be next. I guess it is no different from owning a house. When the warranty runs out, the item breaks down. Oh, did I mention our washing machine also broke down!? And the Chef needs new kitchen knives. I looked at the old ones, and she isn’t lying.

Cat atop boxes of tile.

Both of the volunteer bathroom sinks are broken, the plastic wastebaskets have long since floated away, and we never indulged in mirrors. It turns out, in Iquitos, it is really difficult to buy a sink without an accompanying toilet. Two stores later, mission accomplished. How I lusted after the ceramic tiles in the store. Lust. That is the only word that could describe my feelings for these tiles. Our showers and bathrooms are pure concrete, which is, in itself, a nice thing for the jungle. I am sure our lovely donors are not interested in our having tile floors in the showers! Instead I told all the volunteers to bring flip-flops!

Buying fans for the volunteer lodge.
So today Amazon CARES was forced to part with money to buy a microwave, 2 sinks. 3 wastebaskets, 2 small fans and a bargain set of knives for less than $20.

I can imagine that most small nonprofits struggle with how to spend their money on items that are necessary, but don’t seem to relate directly to programming. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. At least I saved on mirrors. I purchased two children’s mirrors in plastic for $2 each.  
Any volunteer would agree that a fan is more important that vanity. As I already said, vanity has no place in the jungle!

If you want to receive a daily text update during the vet campaign which ends Aug. 26, US and Canada residents can text the word “YES” to US number 202-258-2780. 

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  1. Clarification: "So today Amazon CARES was forced to part with money to buy a microwave, 2 sinks. 3 wastebaskets, 2 small fans and a bargain set of knives for less than $20." The total sum was not less than $20. The knive set was less than $20!

  2. And here I thought you were a supershopper!

  3. All organizations have administrative and equipment replacement needs and I don't think any donor would expect otherwise. Sounds like you did a great job;)


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