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A Finish Line

A week has passed since I got safely home, and of course much has happened. My last day in Peru was incredible, with a visit to Macchu Picchu and with the news that the water system was successfully completed and turned on, but returning home ended up to be surprisingly challenging. Leaving Cusco, we nearly missed our flights due to a slow-moving ticket counter check-in, and when I landed in Lima I heard from my wife that there was a fast-growing fire not too far from our house. (The Valley Fire had started at 1:30 pm on Saturday afternoon, and by 8:00 pm had reached 40,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes. At the time, it was about 15 miles from our house, and we were under advisory (not mandatory) evacuation.)

At first, it was hard for me to get a sense of how serious this fire was, but as I continued to read up on the details of the worst firestorm in many decades to hit California, I realized that there was a very real possibility that our home was in danger. Unfortunately, I still had 16 hours of travel ahead of me, so there was literally nothing I could do for my family. My wife heroically packed a carful, wrestled the cat into her box (don’t laugh, it’s not easy), and got our kids and animals over to her parents’ house at 2:00 am. When I finally reached home, after providing an Uber driver with their longest fare-paying trip ever, it was still not clear whether the fire was going to threaten our town or not.

Long story short, the fire has stayed away from our area, and our stress over packing and evacuating has paled in comparison to the stories of hundreds of families in Lake County, including our own family members, friends, and coworkers, who lost everything in the inferno. If you have the means, I urge you to donate in some way. I will post separately about the project conclusion and the experience of Macchu Picchu.

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