Fieldset
Getaway Car

The other night I was in charge of the getaway car. So there I was, at three in the morning, sitting in the moonlight,  swatting at mosquitoes, with three cars pointed in the right direction. The keys were in the ignition.

The other night I was in charge of the getaway car. So there I was, at three in the morning, sitting in the moonlight,  swatting at mosquitoes, with three cars pointed in the right direction. The keys were in the ignition. I was trying to keep the drivers awake in case we needed to get going in a hurry.

No, not a robbery! We were doing a distribution of 'non-food items', meaning various things that someone who has lost their house might need to live: tent, blankets, bucket, soap, cooking pots, etc. This is a city of refugees, now. (Technically, not refugees because they have not crossed an international border. They are more accurately called 'internally-displaced persons', or IDPs.)

And because these are now valuable items in desperate times, distributions are difficult because of the security risks. We want the things to reach those who most urgently need them, not others who might sell them or steal them. And the stock you bring is limited in number, so you need to limit somehow the people who receive, despite nearly infinite need. Rioting and stampedes are a real possibility.

So it's delicate. There is some discussion and planning with community leaders. But secrecy as well, with some element of surprise so that the crowds don't swell out of control. Tight security. Strict lines. And this one was done at night so as to reach those who would leave in early morning for their jobs.

And me: the lone medical person on the team in case someone gets hurt. And in charge of the evacuation cars. I joke that it's the opposite of a hospital project, where the medical staff get all the glory and logistics' role is forgotten, as long as the lights are on and the water is running. In this case, logistics has all the action, and I'm just support staff.

In the end, then, I saw nothing. Four hundred households received their kit, no one was hurt, and we left efficiently but not with tires squealing.