- Posted July 9, 2014 by
Eshkol Region, Israel
This iReport is part of an assignment:
New violence in Israel and West Bank
I live in the Western Negev, on a kibbutz (communal community) on the border with the Gaza Strip. We have been putting up with rockets and mortars for the past 11 years or so. This is a fact of life here. But since yesterday, over half of Israel is getting a taste of what we have been living with all this time. Not that I am happy that they are feeling what it is like - I am not. But it is what it is. So here is what my war-disrupted morning looks like.
Instead of sleeping in my bedroom, I slept in my specially reinforced safe room (meaning that if there are incoming rocket alerts - “Red Alerts” - I do not need to get up and run any place.) I was woken only once last night - around 2 am…. not sure what it was, but I checked my phone and tv for updates, then went back to sleep until around 6. I have always been an early riser - so no change from my routine there.
Then the dilemmas start: I need to walk the dogs and take a shower, both of which are activities that take me away from easy access to my safe room. Neither of which are activities which you want to be in the middle of when there is a Red Alert because when the radar picks up the incoming rockets we only have a maximum of 15 seconds to reach cover before the rockets hit and explode (often, it's less than 15 seconds.)
And as stressed as my day is about to be, it used to be 100 times worse before they installed the Red Alert radar in 2004. Before then there was absolutely no warning at all. We had no safe rooms until 2012.
Trying to predict when a “Red Alert” is going to happen is sort of like Russian Roulette. Since I have never been much of a gambler, you can imagine how uncomfortable that situation makes me feel. But the dogs need their walk, so out we go - making sure NOT to wear flip-flops…. I must have something on my feet that I can run in, if need be. As I walk I have my camera running and am constantly looking for the closest, safest place for where to sprint to in case a “Red Alert” surprises us on our walk. I’ll be walking and thinking to myself: “Here, I could hide next to a wall. Here: in a doorwell. Here: in a bus stop shelter. Here…. well….no place to take refuge here - so I’ll just lie down as flat as I can and cover my head if the Red Alert sounds.”
Finally I arrive back home. Feed the dogs and time for a shower. Yesterday I did not get to take a shower - had intended to do so after going to the gym, but the roads were too threatening to drive the 7 kilometers needed to get to the workout and then the explosions were too frequent for me to feel comfortable taking a shower. Therefore, this morning, I will take my shower early. Do you get this? I have to time my showers according to the likelihood of attacks, rather than personal hygiene considerations!
Before I get into the shower, I set everything up. The towel goes on the floor to enable it to dry my feet if I have to jump out and run, while not slipping on wet feet, my hair and body towels get laid on the sink so that I can grab them more easily than if they were in their usual place, on the towel rack.
Clothing laid out on bed to expedite dressing process.
Hair-drying to be done in saferoom, not here. Why? Because the hair blower is loud and I’m worried I may miss the Red Alert and miss out on those precious few seconds I have to make it to the saferoom.
I was supposed to have gone to Tel Aviv today for a professional development workshop, but I already informed them yesterday that the roads were too hazardous for me to feel comfortable doing the hour and a half drive up, and then back, within the paradigms of today’s realities, let alone the fact that there have already been several rocket attacks on Tel Aviv in the past 30 hours.
So I will stay home and work from here. Albeit, it is incredibly challenging to focus on any kind of work during periods like these.
In my house these days: TVs (all three) are usually on a news channel, so no matter where I am, I have access to what is going on. Meals are eaten at the table or by my workstation, providing it is quiet outside. Depending on Red Alerts, or the level of tank/aircraft noise outside, I either work at my PC workstation or in the saferoom. I try to do my work on Googledocs (as I am writing this CNN iReport) so that if I have to run to the saferoom (which I have done twice already while writing this iReport) I can have access to it from my computer in there. Bearing in mind, of course, that if I have to be in the saferoom with the heavy armored door closed my wifi access is spotty at best. For this reason, I close the door only during a Red Alert and then wait until a few minutes pass, before opening it again.
At some point in the day I will have to take my chances on another walk-about with my dogs. Dinner will be either soup from the other day (see yesterday’s CNN iReport) or salad (I don’t feel like going through the production of meal-under-fire again, so soon). Then, once again, I will forgo my bedroom for the bed of the safer reinforced saferoom environs and hope to sleep through the night.
And there goes another day on the border with the Gaza Strip - July 2014 - Wartime Routines. I’m really hoping the rockets stop and I can get back to more mundane routines very soon.
PS the photos included are of my saferoom (with the two laptops on the bed.... neither are mine- needed for different places of my work), the living room showing the path where I have to run, my towels set out in the bathroom, and my bedroom with all the clothing laid out to expediate getting dressed)