Quote of the moment

"I have to tell it again and again: I have no doctrine. I only point out something. I point out reality, I point out something in reality which has not or too little been seen. I take him who listens to me at his hand and lead him to the window. I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue." Martin Buber

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2010 Rosalynn Carter Award/Scholarship Opportunities Announced

I am thrilled to share with my friends and visitors this announcement:
 Mattie J. T. Stepanek Caregiving Scholarship
Caregivers are often viewed as expendable resources in systems of care. As a result, many caregivers are overlooked, ill-prepared and will ultimately burn-out. The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving promotes the view that family, professional, and paraprofessional caregivers are the most valuable asset in any system of care, and they should be cultivated, preserved, developed, and valued.

The purpose of the Mattie J. T. Stepanek Caregiving Scholarship is to provide financial assistance to family, professional, or paraprofessional caregivers of any age who are seeking training or education in specific skills, procedures and strategies that lead to more effective care at the same time that they serve to protect the health and well-being of the caregiver.

Four $2,500 scholarships will be awarded. Deadline for application is June 1, 2010. For more detai ls and to download the application form, click HERE 

Rosalynn Carter Leadership in Caregiving Award
Named in honor of a great humanitarian, the Rosalynn Carter Leadership in Caregiving Award is the highest award given in the caregiving field. This award recognizes leadership in implementing innovative partnerships between community agencies and caregiving researchers that bridge the gap between science and practice. These partnerships help move effective caregiver support programs to widespread use in the community more quickly and efficiently.

The award winning team will be announced at the RCI’s National Summit to be held October 20 - 22, 2010 at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, Georgia. In addition to a beautiful statuette executed by renowned sculptor Frank Eliscu, designer of the Heisman Trophy, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will present the team with a cash award of $20,000. This special cash award is to support the team’s efforts in implementing effective caregiver interventions at the community level. 

Application deadline is July 1, 2010. For more information and to download the application form, click HERE

Monday, March 29, 2010

Palm Sunday: Moon Rising Over the Andes

How spectacular to see the moon's brilliance nearly out shining the setting sun as it rose over the Andes this Palm Sunday.  My amateur photos do not begin to bring to life the fullness of the opalescent orb floating over the rose colored peaks.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What's for Lunch? Why Pizza of Course!

Memo to self--When we presume competence of our family and friends with intellectual disabilities don't be surprised when they act competently.

Andy, my 24 year old son with Down syndrome is living with us in Santiago, Chile. He works  at the  office with my husband, Jorge. Andy's duty is document control: shredding and recycling the mountain of documents produced by the civil engineering company.

His independence has been increasing with each passing day that we have been here. Andy gets up in the morning and gets his breakfast. His favorite is ciabiatta  with a tall glass of pineapple juice.

With his morning bath routine finished and his favorite shirt on he gathers his belongings, office badge, and apartment key and is off to work on his own. 

When lunch time rolls around a real treat is to go out to Da Dino's Pizza on the corner of Apoquindo and Golda Meir between the Alcantara and Escuela Militar metro stops. This particular day a promise of pizza for lunch was once again made. Unfortunately though, Jorge was called away to a meeting and told Andy he would not be able to go to lunch with him.  Andy however, kept insisting "Pizza for lunch."  As Jorge started to leave for his meeting he told him to go on home for lunch and that they would go out another day. Andy once again insisted on "Pizza for lunch" and went on home without further comment.

About 20 minutes later I called Jorge to let him know I was out running errands in the neighborhood. When Jorge asked if Andy had eaten yet I was a little surprised since I hadn't seen him since this morning and thought he was still with Jorge at work in the office. And then it happened again. That rush of panic; that sense of fear that maybe I have been foolish all this time to let Andy be independent in this foreign country when so many things could go so wrong. By this time I was on the corner looking out across Apoquindo. Andy was nowhere in sight.

We thought about the moment he left the office and then it hit us: Andy went for "Pizza for lunch!"

My heart pounding deep in my stomach, I hurried over to the restauarant realizing the 20 minutes that Andy has been away would be the same amount of time needed to bake a pizza.  Just as I took the first steps leading up to the take-out side of the store, Andy appeared filling the doorway with his face beaming with pride  and the freshly baked pizza  - cheese only- firmly grasped in his hands. As I peered into the store I could see the clerk behind the counter showing me two thumbs up- his face perhaps showing even greater pride in his accomplishment of completing Andy's order.

Andy then informed me he was on his way home now to have "Pizza for lunch" saving half of it for tomorrow's "Pizza for breakfast."

U.S. Government-Justice Department May Want to Hire YOU!

This reminder comes from a good friend of mine, Ollie Cantos with the U.S. Department of Justice.  It is directed to Job-Seekers who may have a disability and an interest in working in U.S. Government positions, especially the U.S. Department of Justice.

[Originally Sent on July 20, 2009]

Hi.  This is Ollie Cantos, Member of the Attorney General's Committee on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities.  Several weeks ago, I sent out a mailing, announcing a call by Attorney General Eric Holder to all Department of Justice components to hire additional qualified individuals with disabilities, with the ultimate goal of our workforce reflecting an employment level of 2% to consist of members of the disability community.  Since that time, Attorney General Holder has met with our Committee, which reports directly to him, to reiterate his support for this effort.

Over the course of the past several weeks, the Committee, under the direction of Chairperson Fred Parmenter and in close conjunction with Vontell Frost-Tucker, Director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Staff under the Department's Justice Management Division, has been collecting applications from interested individuals with disabilities, who are eager to join the Department.

To help build our momentum still further, this email has been put together in order to assist in enabling members of the disability community to learn of specific job vacancies, retain a copy of the Attorney General's original directive for future reference and use, learn of various other employment-related resources, and read a letter that has been issued by the National Council on Disability (the independent federal agency making recommendations to Congress and the President on disability policies and programs), in response to the Attorney General's leadership in setting the tone for future recruitment, hiring, retention, and advancement practices within a disability context.

In addition to completing application paperwork as part of the standard process, those who self-identify as having a disability (potentially making them eligible to be brought on board via "Schedule A" hiring authority) may call me at (202) 514-8191 [voice] and/or email me at Ollie.Cantos@usdoj.gov for further instructions regarding what may be done to optimize consideration for employment.

Whether you are a person with a disability or are networked with others who are, please forward this email far and wide in order to maximize opportunities for people with disabilities to become an integral part of our Justice Department team by filling jobs for which they are individually qualified.

Thank you so very much for all your help in getting the word out.  Your efforts will most definitely make a real difference in people's lives.

This email contains the following items:

1.    How to Identify and Apply for Job Vacancies within the U.S. Department of Justice
2.    Memorandum from Attorney General Eric Holder to All Department Components, dated May 27, 2009
3.    “A Systematic Approach to Arming Students and Job Seekers with Disabilities and their Advocates in Securing Meaningful Employment”
4.    Letter from National Council on Disability Chairperson John R. Vaughn to Attorney General Eric Holder, Dated June 23, 2009

Supplementing these items, for information about “Schedule A” Hiring Authority, which proactively facilitates expeditious hiring of individuals with disabilities into the Federal Government at all levels, it is important to download, read, and distribute important publications that have been put together by the Leading in the Employment of Americans with Disabilities (LEAD) Initiative of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  These brief but powerful educational materials are individually geared toward Federal Government hiring managers, human resources professionals, and disability program managers as well as service providers and job applicants with disabilities themselves.  These are found on a page of the Job Accommodation Network at:


In addition, the Federal Disability Workforce Consortium, a dedicated cadre of agency representatives from throughout the Federal Government, stands ready to be of assistance as well.  For further information and details, Visit:


Best of luck to all those who are endeavoring to secure opportunities for gainful employment!



Department of Justice agencies post vacancy announcements directly on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's USAJobs Web site where you can search by location, job series, or DOJ agency. This link goes to current Department of Justice vacancies:


Here are some additional important links:

                Opportunities for Law Students

                Attorney Vacancies

                Apply for a Job at the FBI

                Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives –Vacancy Announcements

                Civil Division
                Civil Rights Division

                Criminal Division
                Environmental and Natural Resources Division

                Executive Office for United States Attorneys

                National Security Division

                Office of the Inspector General

                Office of Justice Programs

                Tax Division

                U.S. Trustees

Job-seekers may Become a My USAJobs Member to post and create a resume, apply to Federal Government jobs, and receive automated job alerts via the Office of Personnel Management's USAJobs site.  See:


Note:  Where agencies offer electronic submission of job applications, job-seekers may submit their resume electronically. Where electronic submission is not offered, they may use this site to create a resume, and mail it to the address listed in the vacancy announcement.


DATED MAY 27, 2009 

Washington, DC   20530

May 27, 2009



SUBJECT: Hiring Goals for Persons with Targeted Disabilities

President Barack Obama has a comprehensive agenda to empower individuals with
disabilities and enhance access to employment for all Americans. As Attorney General, I am
committed to making the Department of Justice (DOJ) a model employer with a diverse
workforce that includes people with disabilities.

The Department, like other Federal agencies, must comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Management Directive 715, which requires hiring goals to increase employment and advancement of people with disabilities. While I recognize that DOJ’s workforce is comprised of many law enforcement positions that have physical requirements, I ask that managers, supervisors, and hiring officials assist me in working toward a Department-wide two-percent hiring goal of people with disabilities. If achieved, this goal will align DOJ with the most successful agencies in employing individuals with severe disabilities.

The Justice Management Division's (JMD) Human Resources and Equal Employment Opportunity Staffs are available to assist you and to provide information on special hiring authorities and accommodations for people with disabilities. These offices also will report quarterly to me on the Department's progress. If you have any questions you may contact Rod Markham, Director, Human Resources Staff, JMD or Vontell D. Frost-Tucker, Director, Equal Employment Opportunity Staff, JMD.

President Obama has said, "We must build a world free of unnecessary barriers, stereotypes, and discrimination. Policies must be developed, attitudes must be shaped, and buildings and organizations must be designed to ensure that everyone has a chance to get the education they need and live independently as full citizens in their communities." I am asking the DOJ leadership for its pledge to incorporate talented persons with disabilities into the workplace.




Disability will touch the lives of most Americans at some point during their lives either through firsthand experience or acquaintance with someone who has a disability.  Census figures indicate that, in 2002, more than one in six Americans had a disability involving limitations in seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, learning, or undertaking other major functions central to daily life.

As career and guidance counselors, vocational rehabilitation professionals, social service providers, for-profit headhunting firms and career placement organizations, federal government officials, governors’ committees on people with disabilities, disability rights advocates, and others seek to empower students and job seekers with disabilities to maximize employment opportunities available to them and as people with disabilities themselves are armed with the tools they need to succeed in the workplace, of utmost importance is the need effectively to understand both the social context within which members of the disability community must be viewed and the various support network elements that have been put into place to enable them to reach their full economic potential.  A working comprehension of these concepts[1] will allow stakeholders to know how to utilize a myriad of approaches which, when examined either alone or in their aggregate, will lead to actual employment outcomes for people with disabilities.



June 23, 2009

Honorable Eric Holder
Attorney General
Department of Justice
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. Holder:

The National Council on Disability (NCD) was recently advised of your department-wide memorandum concerning efforts to increase the employment of people with disabilities within the  federal government, and the members have asked me to extend our thanks for your support of this effort.  We hope that you will be able to reach the goal of making the Department of Justice (DOJ) an ideal model for other agencies to follow.

The Department, like other Federal agencies, must comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Management Directive 715, which requires the establishment of hiring goals to increase employment and advancement of people with disabilities.  We have learned over time that an endorsement at the top level of management will make that more likely to occur.

As you know, the National Council on Disability is a small independent agency composed of 15 members appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the U.S. Senate. NCD’s purpose is to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities, and that empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society. To carry out this mandate we gather public and stakeholder input, including that received at our public meetings held around the country; review and evaluate federal programs and legislation; and provide the President, Congress, and federal agencies with advice and recommendations.

On March 31, 2009, NCD issued a report on federal employment of people with disabilities (http://tinyurl.com/yk68fwp), which pointed out that the current level of such employment is unsatisfactory and has prevented many highly qualified individuals from contributing to our economy and gaining the independence they need and deserve. DOJ and NCD both employ many people with disabilities, but thousands more will be needed in departments and agencies throughout government to reach the 2% employment goals currently established by President Obama. We encourage DOJ to go beyond those goals by employing or appointing people with disabilities to positions of great responsibility within your executive management structure.  We can tell you from past experience that such an investment will pay off many times over.

On behalf of the Council, thank you again for taking a position of leadership on this matter and please advise if we can assist in any way.  NCD staff have worked closely with the DOJ Civil Rights Division on several matters of common interest, and look forward to joint opportunities to continue protecting the rights of people with disabilities in the future.

We also hope that DOJ will consider joining us and co-hosting the National Summit on Disability Policy that will take place in Washington on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26 and 27, 2010.  If you would like to learn more about that opportunity, or discuss any of the above, please contact NCD Executive Director Michael Collins at 202-272-2004 or via e-mail at mcollins@ncd.gov.

I look forward to an opportunity to meet you during one of my future visits to Washington, and thanks again.


John R. Vaughn

TO HEALTH! House passes health care bill on 219-212 vote!!

As an expat who had to decide on whether to leave my son behind in a group home and hope that services and health support would be available for him or bring him to Santiago, Chile with us-- the ONLY choice at the time-- I am beyond thrilled at this moment to have watched history be made. This has been a most emotional experience -- watching history being made.  I am in tears!

And how AWESOME to be only a click away from history- watching it live on C-Span
Thank you modern technology and C-Span!!

Thank you to all those in Washington, DC who cared enough to protect my son, my friends, and my associates with disabilities that they may live long and who knows, actually prosper (next on my political agenda =}

House passes health care bill on 219-212 vote

House passes Senate health care bill, 219-212

House Approves Health Overhaul, Sending Landmark Bill to Obama

House Passes Historic Health Care Legislation

Historic Health-Overhaul Bill Passes

House passes health care bill

Historic healthcare bill passes

House passes historic health-reform bill

Democrats in the House of Representatives approved the Senate health reform bill Sunday night by a vote of 219 to 212, sending the legislation to President Barack Obama for his signature. The vote marks the climactic finale to a year-long attempt by Democrats to enact Obama’s signature legislative goal – expanding health insurance to nearly all Americans, a goal that eluded the party for decades. No Republicans voted yes, and 34 Democrats voted no. (Corrects vote count.)

For more information...http://www.politico.com




Sunday, March 21, 2010

NPR: Chilean Children Suffer From Quake's Mental Shocks

 by Jason Beaubien- Chile's capital withstood last month's 8.8 magnitude earthquake remarkably well. Most buildings in Santiago remained standing. Electricity and water services resumed quickly.
But mental health experts say the earthquake and the powerful aftershocks that followed it are having strong psychological effects, particularly on children.
Read more: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124744971

Listen to the Story

Chileans' quake knowledge saved thousands of lives

SANTIAGO, Mar. 19, 2010 (Reuters) — Chileans' knowledge of earthquakes, combined with the abnormally long time it took for the February 27 quake to reach its crescendo, saved thousands of lives, a leading geophysicist said on Thursday.
Read more: http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/tre62i4ao-us-quake-chile-knowledge/#

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lights are on...But is anyone home?

One of our "disastrous" result of the quake on February 27, 2010 was the pool table sliding off its leveling pads and tilting. Given the table weighs more than nearly a ton gives us cause to marvel once again at the strength that quake had and thrust of movement within our 16th floor apartment. Yesterday (March 14, 2010) we finally put the table back in order and relevel it with the generous aid and strength of our good friend Steve. As Jorge and Steve hoisted the table up on their backs I slid the pads back in place while Steve's wife Sandie verified the level bubble to assure the table was back to its perfect playing form.

With the table in order as proven by a round of billiards, we enjoyed a lovely time at dinner thanking our wonderful friends. We joked that we needed to change Steve's name to Jack.  We finished our dinner of pastel del chocolo followed by Sandie's wonderful brownies and bid goodnight to our guests at our elevator door. We also wished them better luck than we had the day before in it -- given we had been stuck between floors for nearly 1/2 hour the day before! The time was just a little after 9PM. As I turned to go clean up in the kitchen the lights in our home and ACROSS THE ENTIRE COUNTRY went black.

And despite what Steve is telling everyone, it wasn't my coffee-pot that blew out the power!

News reports stated a 500 Million megawatt transformer in Los Angeles located in the Bio Bio Region 8 of Southern Chile blew and caused the entire country to plunge into darkness. The blackout covered an area of 2,000-kilometers (1250 miles) and affected about 90 per cent of Chile's population of 17 million people, from Atacama in the desert north, to the temperate central region where Santiago sits, to the much cooler south all the way to Chiloe island.

This of course frazzled the nerves and heightening we weary residents of Chile, especially given the more than 300 aftershocks in the last two weeks. Our power in Las Condes, Santiago  was restored within 90 minutes.  My nana's power, however, did not return until after midnight. It's good to live where the president calls home! Full power is not expected until mid-day today. Telephone service and text messaging was not available. Battery operated radios kept us advised of the country's progress in getting the power reestablished along the grid. 

The power failure also affected a benefit concert for the victims of the earthquake and a soccer/football game. Traffic lights seemed to be working well enough in our area and many other areas seemed to be blessed with generator and emergency lighting. Our entryway next to the elevator and stairwell thankfully was connected to our building's generator and came on shortly after the country faded to black.Reports alerted many to unplug valuable electronic items such as computers and televisions to prevent damage from power surges. Thankfully we speak and understand Spanish. My English speaking friends were still in the dark the next day not understanding what had transpired.

Since the earthquake caused the demise of our chandelier when it was repelled into the corner of our dinning room we've  enjoyed candle-light dinners every evening.  Washing dishes by  candle light was a whole new experience however.  Meanwhile, Jorge and my daughter shared their day in the glow of the candelabra moved from the dining room table and placed on the coffee table, while Andy made himself at home in the family room surrounded by electric candles and flashlights.

Many reported they were nervous (including me in the first few moments). However there was also a great benefit for the wonderful opportunity to sit out on the balcony, look up and actually see all the stars, including Orion's Belt, overhead of us in Santiago.... and to practice my deep breathing techniques.... been doing a lot of those these days. It was wonderfully quiet too, well for the exception of the buses which continued to run. Reports tell of the Metro stations needing to be evacuated and closed down early.

Today there's been great scrambling as everyone tries to figure out what really happened and how to prevent the next one. Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, insists the blackout was not directly related to the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated Chile on February 27, while according to  The Wall Street Journal, President Sebastian Pinera believes it was the culprit and as a result the power grid remain unstable for a about a week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Omlette Making in Chile with Andy-Ole!

"How about omelets this morning?" asked Mr. Breakfast as he rolled out of bed mid-morning today. Jorge, my husband and frequent personal chef, has always been in charge of weekend omelet making in our home. In fact his wish for our first Christmas as newly weds was to have his own special omelet pan, much to the chagrin of his very traditional Spanish parents. Enlisting the aid of Andy to serve as his sous chef the two of them gathered the needed equipment and ingredients and began to create our traditional weekend fare.

How simply wonderful and NORMAL finally! It's been two weeks since the tremendous 8.8 earthquake in Chile. Jorge seems to have become more accustomed to the unending tremors and aftershocks by sleeping through them. Andy copes by sleeping on the couch. Kristina has started working her 20 days on and is already looking forward to her 10 days off. To have just another Saturday morning with omelets was bliss. What made it even more fantastic was Andy's spontaneous use of Spanish in the process. Yes those four years of Level One
Spanish DID pay off! We often had significant differences of opinions with the School District in our efforts to assure Andy would be included in his home school. In writing his Individual Education Plan (IEP) we insisted that speaking Spanish for Andy was an essential life skill- a language necessity for him and so would need to take Spanish first as a basic need and secondly to fulfill the high school curriculum requirements.

We started filming him as we discovered that he really DID know Spanish, and now just needed a cause to put it into good use.

Andy Counts Eggs:

Andy Breaks Eggs for the Omelet:

Learning the Equipment and Ingredients for Omelets

What Color Is That Bowl?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day-long USA Federal Hiring Event for People with Disabilities

 A note from home- PLEASE PASS IT ON!!

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the U. S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) are sponsoring APRIL 26, 2010  a historic day-long Federal Hiring Event for People with Disabilities. Representatives from many agencies (including FEMA and DHS) will be reviewing resumes prior to the event, and inviting prospective candidates for interviews. 

For additional information, please go to:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A REAL Shake-up in the transition of power from Bachelet to Piñera

They call aftershocks replicas. I was in my 16th floor apartment watching Piñera's inauguration when the first "replica" of 7.2 magnitude hit causing the room to rock back and forth like a child's swing. When it wouldn't stop immediately I thought oh my God not again! I grabbed the dog, ran through the apartment taking down anything and everything that could fall down again and put them on the floor- less distance to fall. Flying past the hall office I thought: Memo to self-next visit to Sodimac (Chile's version of Home Depot) buy L-braces for all the bookcases! 

Our nana/maid, Angelica, was very shaken with this one. I had her start downstairs and wait for me in the park.  As I flew down the stairs and arrived on the second floor landing my fear was replaced with hysterical laughter as my field of vision was fill once again with the butt-crack of the young male nude that graces the outside ledge of the second floor. Something reassuring about seeing his buns of steel.

With Sammy in hand, I met up with Angelica across the street.  After moving away from the overhead wires that were beginning to swing rapidly I decided to go to the office to check on Andy. Jorge and Kristina were at the job site today. I wanted to make sure that if they were evacuating the building that he would be ok and calm. 
I climbed up the 8 floors to the office to have the door open to Jorge's wonderful smile. He had just returned to the office oblivious to the quake as it occurred while he was in route. Seems the trick here is to stay moving to feel calm. As in the old carnival game that tests your strength everyone in the office  collected by the staircase to determine their level of fear or calm and whether they would return to work or take the liberal leave that has been in place since March 1.

Andy was ready to return to work, but we decided to let him come home if he wanted. With the prospect of an early departure he headed for the elevator. He was extremely peeved that he had to take the staircase again. On our way home we stopped by Da Dino's our little corner pizza shop for take-out pizza and sandwiches.  I tried to encourage Andy to join Angelica, Sam, our dog, and me for a picnic in the park, but he would have nothing of it. I left the sandwiches with Angelica as she was not ready to return to the apartment yet. 

Andy, Sammy and I began our ascent of the 16 flights of stairs to our apartment. I tried to talk him out of the climb and encouraged him to sit in the lobby or at the park and have a picnic. He would have nothing of it. He wanted to get back to his room and the comfort of his things. These last weeks have offered Andy the most exercise he has had in a long time! I'm really beginning to rethink the membership to the The Club Golf 50 if this keeps up.  

Huffing and puffing he made it ALL the way up. When we opened the door to our apartment he firmly announced:  

 We sat down to our pizza, Andy had his Sprite Zero, I had two Tylenol for my tension headache followed with a glass of Chile's famous Carmenere red wine enjoying the moment of calm and the return to normal.


From the USGS

with Earthquake Location


Preliminary Earthquake Report
Magnitude 7.2 Mw
  • 11 Mar 2010 14:39:48 UTC
  • 11 Mar 2010 11:39:48 near epicenter
  • 11 Mar 2010 18:39:48 standard time in your timezone
Location 34.290S 71.950W
Depth 35 km
  • 133 km (83 miles) N (349 degrees) of Talca, Chile
  • 137 km (85 miles) S (191 degrees) of Valparaiso, Chile
  • 147 km (92 miles) SW (233 degrees) of SANTIAGO, Chile
Location Uncertainty Horizontal: 12.5 km; Vertical
Parameters Nph = 54; Dmin = 597.7 km; Rmss = 1.13 seconds; Gp = 72°
M-type = Mw; Version = 7
Event ID US 2010tsa6 ***This event supersedes event AT00831838.
For updates, maps, and technical information, see:
Event Page

USGS Earthquake Hazards Program

National Earthquake Information Center
U.S. Geological Survey

Chile's Changing of the Guard: Presidental Inaguration of Sebastian Piñera

 Today started as any other day. Looking down the my balcony people are rushing to work, well except those who are stuck on Apoquindo while the road is blocked to permit Michele Bachelet to leave her house (a couple of blocks down from us). Unlike the USA this is not a holiday.  Unlike Obama's inauguration with nearly million people spilling out of the capital and a ceremony and festival of three days there are barely 100 people lining the street and nothing to inform us of the pending moment.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Daylight's Savings Time Extended Due to Earthquake

First it shook us out of bed, then it washed away towns and destroyed many lives, then it moved those towns 10 feet down the road, and knocked the earth out of orbit...
And now -- Chile Extends Daylight Saving Due to Earthquake

Chile’s federal government has postponed the country’s daylight saving end date in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. The Chilean Government announced that the daylight saving schedule’s end date for 2010 “would be delayed until April 3” – most likely at midnight (00:00) between Saturday, April 3, and Sunday April 4, 2010. Various news sources claim that the government’s decision to delay the current daylight saving schedule’s end date was to give a respite to places affected by the earthquake, particularly where there may not be electricity.

Chile’s current daylight saving schedule, was supposed to end at midnight (00:00) between Saturday, March 13, and Sunday, March 14, 2010 as DST in Chile usually starts at midnight (00:00) between the second Saturday and the second Sunday of October. It then ends at midnight (00:00) between the second Saturday and the second Sunday of March.

CNN Shows Unlikely Heroes in Chile's Tsunami and the Meaning of Ability

I thank my friend, David Wetherow of Community Works, for sharing this incredible and wonderful video posted on CNN of unlikely heroes. When a tsunami crashed into an asylum in Chile, two unlikely heroes, one schizophrenic, the other mentally disabled, formed a team to save their friends' lives...


Chile only two months ago passed their own version of a disabilities rights and access act . Chile also signed the Convention on Rights for People with Disabilities. I wonder what would happen if the directors and supporters of this asylum and other "hogars" and "fundaciones" in Chile saw this video and followed it with this video: "You Don't Look Disabled," also by CNN.

Pay especially close attention to the opening segment of the record-setting athlete, actress and model Aimee Mullin's presentation "You Don't Look Disabled, to the CNN staff.
Watch the video: http://tinyurl.com/y9vz6x2


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Embracing the Earthquake: Taking Accounting of Damage

[Fernando Rodriguez for The New York Times: A modern tower with structural damage underwent testing in Santiago. Many in Chile's capital are outraged at builders. From New York Times:  In Chile’s Capital, Damage Is Inside and Invisible ]

The insurance agent for our building came by today to take photos of our apartment, noting every crack and off-kiltered door jam and window frame. No word was given as to when things well be addressed and repaired. I pointed out that with each réplicas de terremotos (aftershocks or literally- replicas of the real thing) the cracking becomes larger and the likelihood of more molding will drop. The insurance agent stated that it would be months at best before we really see any repairs. Riding around town yesterday in a cab the crusty and wizened driver remarked how only the new buildings were the ones really damaged directing an accusing finger at all the shinny new buildings, bridges, and overpasses with cracks in them.  So much for bureaucratic oversight and all the document controls that have been established in the country. The insurance agent remarked that it appears buildings erected in the 1990's and early 2000 were greatly affected. Interestingly, that's right about when the military dictatorship handed power to a civilian government in 1990. Our building was erected in the 70's.

Do building and architecture --like the fine Chilean wines-- improve with age or politics?

Time to embrace my earthquake.

From New York Times: 
In Chile’s Capital, Damage Is Inside and Invisible
In many ways, her words sum up the state of Chile’s elegant, orderly capital 10 days after it was shaken by the 8.8-magnitude earthquake. While so much of the southern parts of this country lie in ruins, this city of high-rises and tree-lined boulevards appears mostly unscathed, a tribute, many say, to its strict building codes.

But many people in this city of 3.3 million still do not know if their lives will ever be the same. The worse off tend to be those left out of this country’s economic growth. They have also so far been left out of the government’s disaster relief efforts, focused mainly in the south.

Unsightly and unsafe camps, primarily occupied by Peruvian immigrants, have sprouted across the city’s historic center. In poor neighborhoods on the northern outskirts of the capital, thousands of people are still waiting for schools to reopen and basic services to be restored.

The poor are not the only ones living in limbo. Thousands of middle class families, without insurance or savings, have been forced to move in with friends and relatives after the quake left their shoddily built condominiums uninhabitable.

Read the full story:

Lost and Late in Chile: Earthquake Causes Shifts in Time and Place

Talk about your relativity in time and space! I now have a legitimate excuse to explain my directional disability and inability to  arrive on time [see Chile Earthquake Altered Earth Axis, Shortened Day]! Interesting side point to this article. It describes the earthquake as occurring "last month." While technically correct, in reality it was just last week-- and in my reality it is still occurring given this morning's rattling. Included here are both the news reports and the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology report.

MARCH 8: Last month's earthquake did more than kill hundreds and devastate a large swath of Chile. It also hurtled the entire city of Concepcion 10 feet to the west, according researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Using precise GPS measurements taken before and after the magnitude-8.8 earthquake, associate researchers Benjamin Brooks and James Foster discovered the dramatic shift.

They say that the colliding tectonic plates of the Chilean subduction zone are responsible for the earthquake and the sudden westward trajectory of Concepcion.

"Before the quake, there were about 50 to 100 GPS stations throughout South America," Brooks told media. "We're hoping to add an additional 25 to 35 more."

Read full artilce : Chile Quake Moved Entire City 10 Feet West
Read the report from Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology:

Chile earthquake graphic Chile earthquake moved city 10 ft to the west

Using the extremely precise GPS sensors, Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) scientists are part of the international team studying the effects of the massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile in February. Findings include the movement of Concepcion, Chile, 10 feet and of Buenos Aires, Argentina, about an inch. “The Maule earthquake will arguably become one of the, if not the most important great earthquake yet studied,” said geologist Ben Brooks.
Read more about it at Wired.com, in the Washington Post, and at Aol News. Image courtesy of SOEST; click on it to go to the article Preliminary Coseismic Displacement Field with high-res PDF versions.

Chile EQ map graphic
Click here or on the image above to download the high-resolution PDF (13.7 MB).
Chile EQ map zoom graphic
Click here or on the image above to download the high-resolution PDF (1 MB).

Preliminary Coseismic Displacement Field M 8.8 Maule Earthquake, Chile, Feb 27 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday in the Park with Jorge and Kristina-Regaining Normal

Sunday, a day rest. A day to worship with friends, to enjoy with family and to take a stroll or a bike ride in the parks along the water's edge as in Seurate's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.  A day of shared experiences with family and friends. Our Sunday was much like that, with just a few exceptions:
  • We are in Chile and not France. 
  • We have endured a series of earthquakes over the past week, the first February 27, 2010 registered a magnitude of 8.8 with as many as 100 aftershocks as high as 6.3 and one at 5.1 this early Monday morning as I type.
  • Our sense of peace is interrupted with occasional flashes of tension and frustrations, depression and worry.
Yet I managed to find moments of cherished calm throughout the day.

After a rocky start with our frustrations flaring, we made our way to Sunday services at the Santiago Community Church, serving the English-speaking interdenominational congregation. This Sunday was a national day of morning for those lost in the quake. Here I found peace and a warm sense of community with a recognition of life's rhythms continuing in the confirmation of a young teen member. and the taking of communion. After the service we joined the congregation in the patio and garden. Jorge and Kristina inspected the community hall to review the damage it sustained and to determine its structural integrity. Yes, there would be need for new structural supports for the ceiling's beams. However the main church building completed in 1947 appeared to have fared well as did most of the congregation.   It was also a time to meet new friends and strengthen recently made friendships.  Our shared stories, our fears, our hopes, and our means of continuing on through recovery linked us together as a stronger community.

Later that afternoon, I decided to face my fear and anxiety of driving in Chile and take our Hyndai Tuscuon (using a manual drive) out into Santiago's roads for the first time. Pulling into traffic in this capital of more than 5.25 million people can be as scary as waking up to major earthquake event.  Santiago traffic is not for the faint of heart.  Even experienced big city drivers experience moments when they need to muster up their courage to join the fray, being ever quick to drive defensively and to deal with the aggressive Chilean way of driving. Compared to Santiago driving major USA cities such as Washington, DC, Los Angeles, or Boston are a kiddie ride. Here drivers rarely offer any slack. Drivers, especially those of taxies seem to hover their hands mere millimeters above their horns ready to announce their annoyance with the person in front. Santiago's streets are confusing and  poorly sign-posted making it important to plan beforehand any route. On some of the major thoroughfares, the driving direction will change depending on rush hour traffic, and on days with smog warning levels Pre-emergencia or Emergencia even vehicles with catalytic converters (rental cars, too!) can be banned from driving depending on their license plate numbers (announced in the media).

With a deep breath and small prayer I eased out, or more truthfully,  lurched out into traffic as I struggled to become familiar with the feel of the car and its shifting. Poor Jorge, with each gear change his head bounced back on the head rest. At one point I was so confused with the roads, the shifting (was I in third or fifth gear?) I stalled out in the intersection as oncoming traffic loomed steadily closer. I finally got the car into the correct gear as I moved over to the curb to regain my composure, but not without the windshield wipers waving wildly and the blinkers sounding a counter rhythm.  Eventually I tamed the beast and was able to drive to the mall and back home in one piece.

When we returned to the apartment we discovered while we were joy riding in the streets, Andy and Kristina had taken the apartment for a spin of their own. Yes-- once more an aftershock of 6.1 magnitude brought their heart rate up a couple of notches.

By this time Kristina was ready to shake her willies out as much as Jorge and I were to recover from our city cruising. Kristina put on her running shoes and we hopped on our bikes.  The three of us made our way through the parks bordering the Rio Mapocho on Avenida Andres Bello that runs from Comunas Las Condes, through Comuna Providencia and into Comuna Santiago.   People of all stations in life took in the late afternoon sun dappled by the leaves beginning to foretell the change of seasons. Children ran about laughing as they cajoled their parents into buying an ice cream or a clown molded wild animals from balloons.  Like Seurate's painting it was another Sunday afternoon in the park with Jorge and Kristina and our fellow Santiagueños. Off in the distance  we could  see the Mueso de Bella Artes nestled between the trees and hear a band playing near by.


All too soon our idyllic Sunday vision disappeared.  We quickly realized the band played seeking donations for the daminifcados [those who lost their homes and livelihood because of earthquake damage and tsunamis].   The stately colonaids of the museum were now replaced with rubble across the front with tape preventing entry and possible injury from falling bricks.


It is now Monday afternoon (when the pictures above were taken). Much of the rubble has been cleared. Employees throughout the city are working to regain normal.

Flags still fly while signs displayed proudly on taxis, buses, and buildings shout out Fuerza Chile. The weekend telethon collected 5.25 million pesos for the daminficados and the conversations now have themes of  the business of the week. Santiago and I look forward with anticipation to our next Sunday in the park.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chile fears health crisis, but slow to let aid in

Mass vaccinations start, while many foreign medical workers wait for orders
I wonder if it's a result of Chile's love of following bureaucratic protocols to a fault. While the bureaucracy here in Chile certainly assures many their employment and serves to increase the frustration levels of those attempting to make their way through it... will it also serve to hamstring it in recovery?

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Terror in Terremotos- Santiago, Chile February 27, 2010

It's been nearly one week since the world's fifth largest earthquake occurred in Chile at 3:30 AM, February 27, 2010.  I had just barely fallen asleep after staying up until 2 AM preparing for Kristina's Welcome to Chile party, thinking I'd have everything done, could sleep in and actually be able to enjoy the festivities. Our daughter arrived in Santiago Thursday, last week, 3 days prior to the first earthquake with plans to start work with Bechtel Mining and Metals that coming Monday. Shortly, as I drifted to sleep the bed suddenly bounced up and down in short, quick shakes as though someone was using a jackhammer under our mattress. The rapid up and down shaking was the precursor to what seemed to be an unending series of violent spasms that set our apartment building swaying deeply from side to side. From our opened windows I could hear the cracking and grinding of buildings and hear the explosions coming from the electrical transformers across the capital city.  As I ran out of bed trying to make sense of this unnerving, unceasing, and ever increasing level violence my first and immediate thought was "Terrorist attack!" having lived in the Washington, DC area when the Pentagon was attacked during 9/11.  I quickly dismissed that thought as memories of our life in California flooded back (Loma Perieta, 1989; San Fernando, 1971) as our building was now forced to endure unending thrashings.

All four of us, Jorge, Andy, Kristina and I met in the office area outside our bedrooms as we tried to make sense of it all. Sammy, our dog, fell out of my arms and ran to hide under the couch in the living room. His yelp as chairs fell and doors were slamming open and shut with the force of the quake made me worry for his life. More and more the building swayed as we heard the crashing of our belongings and those of the apartment dwellers about us. For us it seemed never ending, we wondered as the building swayed deeper and deeper and the ceiling molding fell about us was this it? Praying to God to please make it stop, we discovered later the quake lasted three minutes, the time of a song; short in simple terms of daily life-- a lifetime in a moment of fear.

We hung onto the door frames as we had done many years ago in California.  (According to FEMA: Doorways for shelter are to be used only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, loadbearing doorway). Now we know that was not the best thing for us to have done. We should have stayed in bed holding on and protecting our heads with a pillow since none of us were under a heavy light fixture that could fall (If that is the case for next time, we need to move to the nearest safe place).

And then it stopped.

Wonderfully ever-ready Jorge was able to get together flashlights for all of us as we tried to make our way through the darkness. While the building and the earth beneath it were no longer swaying our hands and voices shuddered with nervousness and fear. I ran to find Sammy crouched and shaking under the sofa and check on the birds to see if they were fine. The bird cage had moved three feet from the wall but was still standing. We took a quick assessment of the damage in the apartment: chandelier ripped from the ceiling and tossed into the corner, chairs upended, dishes on the floor, lamps broken and smashed brick-a-brack.  Amazingly there were corners that seemed untouched while others were in great dishevel. We could tell the direction of the movement by the way our belongs were laying across the floor.  Each room had cracks in the wall with breaks in the plaster.

We quickly got dressed. Helping Andy get his belongings together we realized that his bedside lamp was tossed upon his glasses, breaking the lamp and snapping the temple joint from the frame. He would have to endure this event without his glasses. We dressed in long sleeved shirts but didn't take our coats not realizing the chills we'd feel from the shock of it all coupled with dip in the early autumn temperatures.  Andy remained remarkably calm through it all exclaiming after it was done, "Look at this mess!" His simple and astute summation made us laugh and allowed us to gather ourselves in better order as we made our way to the back door to start the descent.... of our 16th floor apartment.

As we slowly walked down stairs we noticed that most of the residents were remaining in their rooms. Many of our neighbors are elderly and barely made the walk from the elevator to the park on a quiet summer's day. How would they evacuate the building now?

We agreed we'd meet in the park but worried about the possibility of the trees toppling over or breakage from the neighboring apartments. We waited outside wondering what was the true extent of the damage, not only here but across all of Chile. We were not sure if our apartment building was stable enough or had suffered structural damage. With the strength and endurance of the quake plus the extensive cracking in our apartment we felt that it had a good chance of receiving significant damage. Soon we could hear ambulance and fire engine sirens as they sped down Apoquindo. Family members from neighboring communities rushed to the apartments to check on their elderly parents, family members and friends residing here. We decided we'd stay where we were and remain outside in the park.

It was a curious opportunity to meet our neighbors, to share our fears, our horrors and then laugh at the little things as we tried to return to calm  and regain a sense of normal. We remarked at how lovely the full moon was-- now that we could stand still in one place long enough to actually see it. We recalled how it rose remarkably early in the afternoon's twilight over the Andes and now how tranquil it stood glowing down upon us. We joked with one neighbor who was to join us at Kristina's party that we really know how to throw a "Welcome to Chile" party and that we should change the theme to a recovery party. One neighbor suggested we join her and her sister rescuing her, offering us a couch and floor space at her sister's simple, one floor home. We thanked her but decided to remain behind to see what would be needed at the office and with our friends and neighbors.

Jorge recalled our new car was in the garage and noted that many residents were pulling theirs out. We decided to spend the night in our car to listen to the radio and have some warmth. The continued conflicting reports of tsunamis caused us even more concerns. We lightly napped through the early morning darkness jolting upright with each aftershock that followed.

With sunrise we climbed up the stairs to our 16th floor apartment to inspect the damage and determine our fate. As novices to quakes of this strength we perceived our damage as extensive, but thinking back on it now it was really minimal in comparison to what others have had to endure.  Nonetheless we opted to join with other expats and the Bechtel Crisis Team at the Ritz Carleton a few blocks away. We packed a few items, feed the birds and fish, scooped up the dog and made our way once again down the 16 flights of stairs and drove to the hotel.

Joining the other gringo refugees at the Ritz was almost a surreal experience. As one friend shared it was a scene out of the movie Titanic, most especially for her. She and her husband were residing at the Times Suites, in an extended stay hotel. They woke up with the roof-top pool flooding the stairwell. They quickly grabbed their belongings, walked through the waterfall that was once their stairwell and moved into the Ritz. As they entered the lobby someone was playing the piano, a large buffet filled with food was being served and the Chilean wine was flowing gratis to all who passed through their portals.

Many of the hotel's guests were tourists wondering how they would be able to make their way home now that the airport and roads leading to it were closed due to earthquake damage. English was the language of choice in this microcosm yet the voices heard were most distinctly different with accents originating from America, England, Canada, Australia, New Zeland, and some their English thickened by home languages of foreign locals including Chile, China, Norway, France.

The Ritz also sustained some damage to the upper rooms as their spa and swimming pool sloshed over its edges and through the floors. But despite their troubles, whether structural or ones their staff faced back home, they were incredibly comforting and accommodating.  The Ritz managed to secure the operation of the staff elevators sharing their use with the nervous guests. ALL of the staff remained accommodating and reassuring throughout the entire weekend (never mind that their families and lives were also in turmoil). The staff was able to locate on their satellite CNN in English and we remained glued to the "tellie" as we not only watched but felt the events unfold before us. With a sense of the macabre we set up a tsunami watching party with glasses of Chile's best red in hand snuggled securely in the bar's club chairs.  Little did we realize the impact this would have on the country's wine country- located in the epicenter.

Many of the employees at one of Bechtel's job sites have family in Concepcion, the epicenter. Bechtel management staff quickly set up their crisis management and assistance teams once they learned that nearly 600 of their employees remained missing.   (Happily as I type this all have been located). Two other wives and members of the Human Resources Office and I set up resources for Bechtel Spouses including a blog site and a face book fan page.

A special note needs to be made regarding another most accommodating and wonderful staff member in our lives, our nana, Angelica. We had tried to call our nana but were unable to get through, of course with all the communication lines down. Yet, despite all that had occurred with her own family (many of whom at the time were not accounted for) she appeared at our apartment that afternoon to come and assist us with clean up and determine if we were going to continue with our plans for the Welcome Party, our concierge informed us later. We did make contact with her later and suggested she not come in until mid week. She is here now, radio headset secured in her ears and still anxiously awaiting word from some of her family.

Since then we have had many vigorous after shocks that have kept us all on edge. I have used Facebook as a means to reach out to friends and keep in touch with those who continue to be involved in the search of their families. This weekend, one week after the initial earthquake Chile Ayuda Chile holds their telethon. Cruz Roja, Hogar de Cristo, and Un Techo para Chile have begun their recovery efforts. We will be continuing with our clean up- knocking of falling plaster, setting up our emergency boxes in earnest and getting our minds and hearts ready to say good by to our daughter as she travels on Tuesday to the jobsite for 20 days.

Chile's Fire Department/Bomberos Serve Chile Voluntarily

 It's incredible to this American gringa to consider one of the most important social services of an entire country, the fire department, serves as a voluntary agency: http://www.bomberos.cl/servicio.php

(as translated by Google Translate)

"Our fire trucks and firefighters are essentially professional in your work, but the motivational nature-and I dare say, moral strength of their service is a voluntary" (Miguel Reyes Nunez, National President) 

In Firefighters, volunteer is not, strictly speaking, an "ideal" is a practical reality and that has proven effective since 1851 in full force and strength, as it highlights the National President of the institution in the initial appointment.

What are the implications for fire trucks and firefighters in the country be voluntary and volunteers?
From the standpoint of the social economy, it is evidence that more than a century and a half, Fire delivered to Chilean society as free human resources required for the service in emergencies.
It is also evident that look economistic not exhaust the wealth of which requires being chosen and support the voluntary nature of its members. 

Valórica In essence, volunteering is empathy with the other, constant invention of the homeland as a project of common life. It is the daily realization be real shapers of social capital.
So in a world that seems driven solely by the principle of power, or the horizon of economic success, the volunteers not only survive and grow, but take on increasing importance. This, despite some omissions also exist, ranging from the protocol up financially. 

But in spite of everything-and in Chile, Fire is probably the biggest and best paradigm of this, the volunteers stay and progress, because without being saints or heroes, the volunteers know who has needs, pain, danger, or suffers from discrimination, does not expect speeches, statements or studies, but an efficient hand, here and now. Volunteers make the principles of solidarity, charity, philanthropy, brotherhood, bread, shelter, medicine, rescue, protection, and integration for those who are hungry, cold, pain, distress or exclusion. 

Without exhausting the analysis, it is clear that such connotations are certainties and explain the validity of voluntary membership as an option for fire trucks and firefighters in their institution.
Obviously, given the particular nature of the service and autoasumido by Firefighters in Chile, any and every firefighter is aware that, in addition to that vocation, society is interested in having a professional quality service.
Therefore, one can speak properly in Chile their fire trucks and firefighters are indeed "professionals volunteer emergency" subject to the requirements of a highly trained and constantly updated, but without seeking to change any payment or remuneration. 

The organic expression of this professionalism is clearly evident in the work of the National Fire Academy of Chile.
Understood in this way the volunteer, it appears clearly that the Chilean firefighters and two acts are ultimately volunteers come to the institution and give it up. Once he or she has entered, is subjected to a body that require the highest professionalism that is Dabl conceive, both to the efficiency of its service and for their own protection in accidents. "To live is to serve until the end." "So I venture to sum up this vocation, not always easy to understand, it means to be a firefighter or volunteer firefighter Chile. Life as a service, and dedication to others, without any reward other than the volunteer duty. 

"And it is not, of course, daring recklessness or meaningless or the pleasure of living only extreme situations. That would be superficial and irrationality.

National President, Miguel Reyes
"It is about giving meaning to existence because we feel, deeply and truly, that the existence of another is as legitimate as their own, and that therefore his defense, his care and protection, can not and should know no borders.
"Being able to deliver that total is thus an act of sublime coexistence." "Lives of lives is what motivates us and deaths ever lives." (Miguel Reyes Nunez, National President)