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Andy Does Ratna Ling / Yeshe De

Exploring Tibetan Buddhism in California through Work and Study

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Treading in the footsteps
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andydoesrl
One of the aspects of working at Ratna Ling that really appeals to me is the lineage of volunteer staffers, doing the same jobs, somebody new every three or six months. It's all these different friends coming and going and leaving their mark on the site. I hear a lot of names and stories, but mostly what I see is the remnants of volunteers past.

These traces of old volunteers show up a lot in the shipping room, where things are relatively undisturbed compared to the rest of DP and the factory. Sure, a lot of material comes in and out, furniture moves around now and then, but there's not much one person can actually change in the shipping room.

This makes for a fun game when you find an old note attached to a piece of equipment with some obsolete instructions and wonder, "Who wrote this? Do I know their handwriting? This doesn't sound like something else they've written." Also fun- the legacy of hats: Alaina, two shippers my predecessor, saved up for a month to get a freebie Boston Red Sox hat. Nobody's ever worn it. It's on top of the cabinet now, next to a fancy top-hat that Gwen, my predecessor, made out of cardboard, tape, a kiddie paint set. Keeping them company is my rock-em-sock-em robot helmet from Halloween. I'm eagerly awaiting the next shipper to see what hat they bring.*

Mostly I just got really excited today, thinking about my contribution to the Shipper Lineage. I reprinted all the labels for the small art boxes, I built a bunch of storage boxes for folding thankas, I sorted and labelled all the barcode labels for books (with the new ISBN-13 barcodes, since most of our books only have the ISBN-10), I'm moving the shipping manual into a wiki and consolidating all the various reference manuals, etc., etc. Basically, I'm leaving the campsite in better shape I found it!

Of course, it's the next shipper's prerogative to say, "This is silly," like how I organized the computer desk to be left hand-friendly, and change it up again. And there's doubtless some smart thing that Gwen or Alaina or Javier or Alex or Meggie did in the past that we've forgotten or I've messed up. But it's all good, as long as that ball keeps on rolling.

* I'm also eagerly awaiting the next shipper so that I can train them before I leave after February.
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