We hit the ground running on our first day at the children’s home. I thought the first moments upon our arrival would be filled with greetings and hugs and playtime with the kids. Instead, we were tasked to shift into crisis mode because there was no water at the house. When I say no water, you need to understand the house is in a very rural part of the country. In many ways, it is “out in the country,” so it is dependent on a well for its water supply. The well feeds a cistern and that cistern feeds holding tanks on the roof of the house. These tanks create both the feed and water pressure for ALL the water in the house (showers, sinks, toilets, etc.).
As it turns out, the well is not producing what it once was, so the cistern was pretty much empty, as were the holding tanks on the top of the house. So when I say there was no water in the house …. There was NO water in the house.
The novelty of the welcome wagon was quickly replaced by the seriousness of the crisis committee. In addition to properly understanding the specifics of the problem, Lee and I had no real idea as how best to solve it. It turned out one of our team members had the phone number to the water truck company, and they sent over two trucks to fill our cistern and water tanks.
This M.O. became the norm our first full month here. We went from problem to problem to problem. I think the best way of stating is we could not put out the inferno because we were too busy fighting fires. Compounding to this stress was the fact we were (and have been) pretty much flying blind. We came into this new role with a 90-day transition plan, a plan that would allow us to observe and learn from the existing leadership team and then ease into a formal transition of operational control for the children’s home. One week before we traveled, Lee and I were notified the existing leadership team resigned, and for all intents and purposes, we’ve been on our own.
Trial by fire, on the job training, drinking from a fire hose; whatever you choose to call it, it’s been crazy and overwhelming in spots.
From the most mundane (a child broke one of the brand new wall fans we installed) to the most critical (the kids were playing and this one fell off the couch and landed on his head), it’s been 100 MPH of driving with no clear roadmap.
Thankfully, we have a team of staff members that have been empathic to our situation, and who’ve gone above and beyond help us learn and grow in our new roles.