August 10, 2015, Mohave Valley, AZ- I got up at 4:17 A.M., so as to be ready for a 6 A.M. departure from Prescott, for this collection of desert villages, hugging the Colorado River, just east of Needles. We got here with 30 minutes to spare, and at 10, had a briefing with the Red Cross team lead.
The task for our team of four was mostly to serve as listening ears and moral supporters for the nearly thirty people sheltering at the vacant Mohave Elementary School, which has been replaced by another school, a few miles away. It is still a solid facility, and the gym, where people were feeling safe, is a very comfortable spot.
I spent some time sweeping up dust and dirt, keeping the water and electrolyte-replacing drinks iced, and listening to the interesting life stories of several older “desert rats”, as the long-term residents sometimes call themselves. The fire has wound down enough, so that many residents might return home tomorrow. Still others, as in any such disaster, have little or nothing to which they might return. I will find out who has what, tomorrow morning, when our team goes on a “Street Survey” of the affected neighbourhoods.
There is only one silver lining to all this- that the sense of community here is reinforced.