Writing again and… Flint

When I left off writing last, I was in Athens after volunteering on Chios for a month and then a few days in Athens itself. I ended up staying in Athens for three weeks following Chios when I returned to the US to spend a week in Vermont to give a talk at my hometown university, UVM, on water, before going back to DC to pick up the job search trail and begin yet again.

Everything that had been in the pipeline before leaving for Greece had fallen through, so I started from zero. Most of us have gone through this at some point, so you know it’s not fun. But, while my mood over the whole endeavor prior to leaving for Greece was not the greatest, having gone and did that proved solidifying in some ways and I was ready for another round.

Fast-forward two months and it’s all about waiting right now. There are many irons in the fire, all over the place, in space and time, with many moving parts, nothing concrete and requiring lots of patience. I have no idea how this is all going to pan out, but here’s to hoping that something professionally or personally (because, well, you never know) alters the status quo soon.

I was in DC. Waiting. Definitely keeping busy. I have more writing projects than I can count (and behind on most of them (and starting this again…)) and my jobs website will be launched in a few weeks. The job search takes time too, obviously. But, that whole “usefulness” thing that was nagging me before Greece started to bother me again. And, well, I was also going a little stir crazy in Washington. Not able to travel really and my days were not full of much or at least as much as I wanted.

One of the largest water crises in recent US history is currently happening in Flint, Michigan, as I’m sure most of you have heard of in the news. It is really a blight on and a shame for the United States, supposedly one of the more developed countries in the world. What Flint has made happen is that communities across the country are now checking their water and hundreds of them are finding that they too have polluted water that is not potable. This is not getting the news that Flint is, but it’s happening everywhere, even in my home state of Vermont, which is, in theory, ahead of the curve on environmental issues. Flint is its own special case, but all this shows how water is taken for granted (do you know what water source your tap water comes from, how it gets there and where it goes when it leaves?), it’s not given the importance that it has in our society and livelihoods and that the water infrastructure in the US is, and has been, crumbling to its citizens’ detriment, and often the most marginalized and vulnerable are the most affected.

Combining the above two paragraphs, I just arrived yesterday in Flint. I’ve signed up with the Red Cross to volunteer this week doing home delivery of water to people who (1) do not have access and (2) who can’t leave their homes to get it themselves (senior citizens, handicapped, etc.).

I understand that my water skill set might be used in a different way here, but for the meantime, using the ole muscles to deliver water is also necessary for those in need and part of me is just plain curious about how all this is working, so will get my feet wet slowly. What we read in the news is one thing, but what is the situation on the ground and, logistically, how does all this function? How does a family live off bottled water for all their needs?

As a result, the blog will be active again. I will try to write every day and do what I did when I was on Chios. If you have any questions about the situation, please put them in the comment box below or contact me directly, and I will see what I can do in getting them answered.

I will post this then off to start day 1!

Photo: None other than the Niagara Falls. I made a pit stop on the way to Flint.

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