Camp Rhonda – The Hotspot
The heat was oppressive, and we were understaffed. I stood on the side of the street, Camp Rhonda sprawling in each direction, digging through medical packs looking for the right supplies. High blood pressure. High blood sugar. Aches and pains. Insect bites and infected wounds. The medical work needed ran the gamut today, and no matter how prepared we were, we never feel prepared for what needs to be done.
The biggest surprise from this morning was a lack of heat injuries. The temperature was in the mid-90s F, the sun relentlessly beating down, and yet dehydration wasn’t an issue. The residents of Camp Rhonda, among the most resilient people I’ve ever known, demonstrated this once again. A group that has been shoved aside, even in the media spotlight several times, continued to show that they had the will to survive, with or without the means. They greeted us with smiles, they asked what help we could provide, and we did our best to give them what we could, from water to blood pressure checks and options for future treatment.
But supplies were low. Staff was virtually nonexistent. One Incident Commander and one Operations Manager were all we could muster today. But we did what we could. The Camp Rhonda residents were grateful and displayed a kindness and grace to us and to each other that I don’t even see in those privileged enough to not have to worry about where their next meal was coming from, or whether or not they could see a doctor for an infection.
We all need to do better. We all want to do more. We need to be visiting these camps at least biweekly, but the first steps are recruitment, training, and supplies. Can you help us out?