The Big One


Opening that baby up….

We live in an earthquake zone. A high risk earthquake zone that is due to experience “the big one” every seventy years or so. The last big one was in 1934…you do the math. It’s overdue. Knowing this is part of the Embassy’s strategy to try and keep us safe, and with that policy comes an “earthquake kit” that we store in our garage. It looks a lot like a dumpster, but its full of essential supplies in the event of an emergency. What’s more in contains supplies for about four families. We are the rally house for our Embassy community as our home is deemed the most earthquake resistant in the area.

Annually we’re required to do an inventory of the contents to make sure they aren’t expired, damaged or missing. So this past weekend we did a thorough check of the contents. What’s in it?  I wondered the same and opened the big metal bin to go through everything. There’s mats, blankets and tents for sleeping, water and MREs (meals ready to eat), a wide selection of medical supplies, ropes, axes, hammers, crow bars, torches, batteries, even pens and pads of paper for leaving messages.  We did search and rescue training back in October, which teaches the basics on what to do in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake.  The helmets, head lamps and crow bars brought up memories of training on how to move huge concrete slabs with wedges and levers. The list of items was long and it was a reality check of what it might really be like if a disaster happened. It so hard to imagine a scenario when the contents of the chest are all we have to survive for an indefinite period of time. Let’s hope it never happens.


Everything was dusty from sitting around for a year in the world’s dustiest city (almost)



Items were stored in plastic containers that looked like they needed replacing more than their contents.


Checking items off from the list

According to this blog — at least lately — my life is one long resort visit. Its not. But its more fun to post about the joys of life than its problems…at least that’s the way it works for me. Occasionally, I think its interesting to share some of the less romantic, gritty realities of living in a developing country. At least, a few of them as the pertain to me. Earthquakes are the flip side of the coin to living in this extraordinary place.

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