Hi everyone (a translation volunteer for this message would be great),
1) I'm with my family and their gorgeous but very active 13-month-old baby here in Santo Domingo. I've got only intermittent Internet access, so it's tricky to keep on top of everything. I'm still very much alive, though, and fascinated by all the new comments on the Facebook Wall, so keep them coming.
A few reminders:
1) Would everyone please remember to give the new website a test-drive and let Hilary Chan know how that went for you?
2) We'd like more feedback on the results of our USHAHIDI trial run last week. Was the system clear? Easy to use? Why do people think so few volunteers did the mapping -- was it too complicated? How would you suggest it be improved?
3) Don't forget to check the discussion tabs on fundraising videos and our legal status, where we're debating the merits of becoming an NGO or some other kind of formal organization. We'd like your suggestions and thoughts.
4) New members: Please introduce yourselves on the Wall and let us know what skills you might be able to contribute -- are you an architect, a translator, a structural engineer, a crisis-mapping specialist, just someone with an interest in this issue? The better we know you, the better we can put your skills to good use. Remember, this is a working group, not just a "show your support by joining" group, and we need everyone's participation to make this work. Right now, about 10 people are the really active members who are making things happen. I'd love to see this number double by the end of the week.
Want to become a member of the Jor El elite? Start by introducing yourself, then just dive in: If you see something that needs doing, don't bother to ask; we're not hierarchical or formal here, just jump in and do it. Don't worry, no one will get upset if you do it wrong -- you can't screw anything up. (I do recommend reading through the Wall, though, to get a sense of what's been done and what still needs doing.)
5) If you haven't secured your heavy items to your walls, arranged your furniture so that things won't fall on your bed if there's shaking, filled your apartment with food, water, flashlights, batteries and whatever medication you'd need in an emergency, and made an emergency contact plan with your family, do it today. And spread the word on your Facebook page. Remind another family to do it. Don't wait even another day. We need to be a group that walks the walk as well as we talk the talk. It keeps coming up that many of us know how important this is but still haven't done it. What use is Jor El if it's leadership is decapitated in an earthquake? Go on, do it today.
All my best from sunny, humid, tropical and slow-moving Santo Domingo,