Today we did our last distribution of 600 bedkits at Tungi Primary School about 30 minutes south of Dar es Salaam. Each distribution day we headed south at 7 AM and crossed the bay using a car ferry which let us witness the hustle and bustle of the various vendors along the route, the fish market near the ferry terminal and the thousands of commuters going in either direction on the ferry. Everyone is very busy doing what they can to provide for their families.
On arrival at Tungi, the children already had their assembly and were beginning their classes while others were getting ready for their bedkit distribution. Being on our fifth day, everyone executed their assigned roles of the day very quickly. Our team lead Doug even got in some bubble time to the delight of the kids and the parents.
After Carol briefed the parents on the contents of the bedkits, who clapped in gratitude at each item, the distribution commenced and was completed with many happy faces throughout the process.
We took a group picture of all the folks from Mama Wandoa’s team as well as ourselves with the last recipient of a bedkit today.
After a small celebration with the complete support team consisting of watermelon and soft drinks, heart-felt thank you speeches were given from both sides and after some hugs and Tanzanian handshakes, we said our good byes. The support of our Tanzanian Overseas Partner Organization of Upendo Information and Counselling Centre could not have done more to help us ensure that the bedkits were of excellent quality and efficiently distributed.
As this was our first SCAW distribution experience for Carol and me, it was a real pleasure to be with Doug MacDougald and Gary Jewitt, two very experienced SCAW travel volunteers, who showed us and coached us on how to best do the various tasks that needed to be done. Our whole very positive learning experience, was done in a very gentle and patient manner. We shared many laughing moments which was very helpful as the situation that you find yourself in can be very heartbreaking, especially when you do the home visits.
Given the great need that exists wherever SCAW does distributions, it can be overwhelming as you want to help everyone and can’t! It reminded me of a short film clip that I saw where a man was running on the beach and would stop now and then to pick up something and throw it into the water. A person watching the runner do this stopped him and asked what he was doing. The runner said that he was picking up starfish left high and dry on the beach and threw them back in the water to help them out. The man pointed out to the runner that there were thousands of starfish stranded on the beach and asked him what difference it made to throw one back. The runner picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea. He then looked at the man and said, “It makes a difference to this one!” and continued on his run. I feel that is what we do with our bedkit distributions…helping one child at a time. We are very grateful to be a part of this distribution and look forward to participating in the future.
…for the children,
Joep Diening for Team Tanzania 2017B