Monday, 16 July 2018

Sri Lanka: Preparing For Our First Distribution!

Today the team traveled by van to our new location and to prepare for our first distribution. The journey proved to be very interesting and full of new sights! We spotted a water monitor, monkeys and even ended up in the middle of a parade. After our long ride we took time to stop at the distribution site. We are excited about tomorrow and are so thankful for our rotary partners! 

Team Sri Lanka 2018
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Sunday, 15 July 2018

Tanzania: A Wonderful Sunday!

Attending Mama Wandoah’s church at 7:00am!! The team enjoyed the music, the singing and being part of a wonderful service with Mama, Wendy and Benjamin. Wendy was to my right and she provided an excellent translation of the preacher’s words from Swahili to English. I did try to sing some of the hymns in Swahili but will definitely need to practise lots more.

The children were beautiful and sang a song about Jesus for us. They were all very well behaved and had huge smiles. The little one in pink stole our hearts.

Mama’s church is in the middle of its construction and we are happy to donate to this very worthy cause. There is a huge campaign to get all of the families involved as they hope to finish the church soon. It is a spectacular place to gather as we felt very welcome.

We could not leave before visiting the nursery to sing with the 100 children: “If you are happy....” and to teach them the hand jive. Everyone was wearing their Sunday best clothes.

Back to work tomorrow for our fourth distribution. Our team is congenial, hard working and loads of fun. A great group of volunteers.

For the children

Team Tanzania 2018
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Tanzania: Our Day Off!

The SCAW team had a well-deserved day off today. Our cultural adventures included a visit to the Mwenge Carvers Market where local carvers work with ebony and other woods to make beautiful African carvings. The Tinga Tinga Arts Cooperative supports a large number of artists who paint a unique artistic style of art. At the Village Museum we learned about the historical roots of the Tanzanian people and how they lived, and we enjoyed some energetic music and dancing.  Our team is learning a lot about the Tanzanian culture and enthusiastically embracing the local food. 

We even got a chance to stick our feet into the Indian Ocean at Coco Beach, a local beach destination. And at dinner we enjoyed a spectacular panoramic view of the Indian Ocean before heading back to our accommodation.

Team Tanzania 2018
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Saturday, 14 July 2018

Sri Lanka: Behind The Scenes Of Bedkit Production!

Today our team had the opportunity to travel with our overseas partners to meet the people, places and faces behind the production of the bedkits.  Donor’s contributions not only provide the children of Sri Lanka with necessary and important items; they also serve local industry and provide jobs to the people of Sri Lanka.  

Textile cottage industry worker

3 generation family involved with SCAW

In preparation for this distribution, locals worked together to organize, develop, produce, compile and coordinate the 24 items to be provided in each of the 6000 bedkits that SCAW will be distributing.  We are truly thankful for the generosity of the donors and the hard-work that our partners and Sri Lankan workers contributed to put together the bedkits. It takes many hands and caring hearts to change lives.

rotary group and team in front of the family business who makes pillows


family business who makes backpacks

Team Sri Lanka 2018

Tanzania: Tsongola

Traffic was lighter this morning as we made our way to Tsongola about one hour from our residence. We were able to set up with the help of the young volunteers from the school who took the mattresses from the truck and tied all 750 with twine.

A mother and the recipient of a bedkit were interviewed to see what was important to them in the bedkit and what if any suggestions they could make.

The excitement of the day was the 100,000 bedkit donated today in Tanzania. Congratulations to Mama Wanda,  Benjamin and Wendy our partners in Tanzania for a job well done!

Team Tanzania 2018
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Friday, 13 July 2018

Sri Lanka: Getting Ready!

We successfully and safely arrived in Sri Lanka last night! We happily got settled into our wonderful hotel, although sleep was scarce to been seen for most of us. Breakfast, accompanied by some nice walks along the beach were a wonderful way to start the trip. 

We had a productive team meeting for most of the morning and enjoyed a nice lunch in the hotel restaurant. Afterwards, during yet another walk along the beach, Richard and myself aided some local fishermen in getting their boat up on the shore.What an awesome way to interact with the locals! Soon after, a van came and picked us all up to go do some sightseeing. 

The aforementioned sightseeing included a tour of a Buddhist temple, local supermarket, church, canal, fish market and we excitedly caught our first glimpse of some Sri Lankan kids. Now we are getting ready and looking forward to distributing 6000 bedkits to the precious children of Sri Lanka.   

Julia Albrecht
Team Sri Lanka 2018
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Tanzania: Mvuti

Today we travelled 1.5 hours from our residence to a small school in Mvuti. We arrived and were greeted by the Head Mistress of the school and were introduced to the children during their morning assembly. 

After a rousing rendition of the Tanzanian national anthem, the children marched off to class, singing the whole way and we got to work.

Trucks were unloaded, mattresses tied up, bedkits counted, the photo site setup.

We delivered 750 bedkits and put huge smiles on the faces of the children, always remembering to take time to play with the children and make sure that the day is fun for them. 

For the children,
Jim H. for
Team Tanzania 2018
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Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sri Lanka: On Our Way!!

From left. Lori, Julia, Laura, Patti,
Joan, Karen, Richar

Team Sri Lanka 2018
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Tanzania: Our First Distribution!!

This is what we have been waiting for! Our excitement and energy carried us along some very rough roads to get to our first destination of Vijibwene early this morning. With the combined help of our whole team and many volunteers, set-up was completed very quickly, the children were dressed in their new clothing, pictures were taken and bedkits given out. 750 Children will sleep well tonight! 

The team returned, dusty and tired, to a wonderful home-cooked meal. We will also sleep well tonight, with memories of all the smiling faces, shy giggles and and heartfelt words of thanks. 

Diane for team Tanzania 2018
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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Tanzania: Getting Organized!

Today, we spent getting organized and preparing to start distribution tomorrow.

Mama Wandoa and daughter, Wendy, carefully inspect the mattresses ready for delivery

Factory managers describe the process for manufacturing the mattresses:

Showing us how they cut the foam for mattresses:

Fabric ready for mattresses:

Complete kits ready for loading for tomorrow:

Mama Wandoa and our fearless leader, Helen, inspecting packages for delivery. 

Reunion of good friends!

Ron Shaw

Team Tanzania 2018
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Sri Lanka: Post Your Comments Here

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Monday, 9 July 2018

Tanzania: We're Here!

Our bags are packed and we are ready to go. First stop is Abu Dhabi.

From left to right: Diane, Peggy, Fran, Helen, Jim and Ron
After a long 12 hour flight we spent the afternoon exploring Abu Dhabi and this incredible mosque. Did we tell you it was 44 degrees?

Helen and Mama Wandoa being reunited at the airport.We are here now and ready to meet 6000 very excited children.

For the children and 

Team Tanzania 2018.
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Tanzania 2018: Post Your Comments Here

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Sunday, 3 June 2018

Uganda: Thank You & Farewell Uganda!

Yesterday the team enjoyed a well deserved rest day after 12 straight days of bedkit distributions.  It was a day for a leisurely breakfast, a swim, a nice walk in downtown Kampala and some shopping for local crafts.  The day ended with a delicious evening meal at a patio restaurant.  Also a day to have some laundry done!

Today is ‘Martyr’s Day’ in Uganda.  Homage is paid to the memory of 20 young men who chose to die in the late 1800’s rather than denying their religious beliefs.  Throngs of people walk to the historic site at this time every year to remember the sacrifices made by their ancestors.  A number of us went to a church service this morning to experience the culture of this special day.

This afternoon we joined with the executive of the Inner Wheel Club of Kampala to formally debrief our shared experience of 12 distributions that provided bedkits to 7000 joyous children.  Everyone agreed that it had been an amazing journey with excellent outcomes.  At each rural centre we were welcomed by excited throngs of children and their parents who greeted us with dancing and songs.  The Inner Wheel members and the SCAW team from Canada worked hand-in-hand to ensure that 7000 children received their precious bedkit and that a photograph was taken of each happy child.  This debriefing session enabled us to jointly assess the whole distribution experience and to make suggestions for the future.  

Afterwards our overseas partners, the women of the Inner Wheel, treated us to a celebratory dinner hosted at the home of this year’s SCAW Chair, Winifred Biraaro.  We laughed, hugged, sang, danced and enjoyed a delicious buffet meal prepared by Winnie’s daughters.  What a grand way to end this year’s SCAW distribution - celebrating as  a unified team who had achieved so much over the past two weeks.  

It has been a privilege to serve as the Team Leader for Team Uganda 2018.  Working together with the amazing women of the Inner Wheel was delightful.  Our joint team was strong, dedicated, flexible, energetic and wiling to do anything to make the project successful.  Thank you to the thousands of donors who made it possible to improve the lives of so many children.  100% of your money was utilized to provide Ugandan children with the gift of a better night’s sleep and school supplies to support a brighter future.  

Team Uganda is now signing off….

Lois Wey
Team Uganda 2018
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Uganda: Signing Off!!

We got on the bus early arriving at Korongo Anglican Public school by 8:30am. The Inner Wheel team had been there since sunrise preparing for the distribution. Beside the school was a large Anglican Church - one of 17 in the area under the priest who acted as this writer’s translator for the recipient interviews. He walks beside the hardship and struggles of his parishioners.

In just a few hours we had given our LAST Bedkit.

We did it !!!!

12 distributions in
12 days

7000 bedkits distributed
7000 grateful families
7 tired SCAW Uganda team members
11 tired Inner Wheel Ladies
18 hearts full of love and gratitude for the opportunity to bring such important gifts to these needy children on behalf of our many generous donors

Donors are the lifeblood of SCAW. Thank you!

Their generosity supported our ability to increase the number of bedkits in the distribution this year in Uganda . When you see the children who were unable to be bedkit recipients, you know how vital this annual distribution is in Uganda. 

We are now on the bus which has been our home for 12 days, making the four hour trip back to Kampala.

Tired, sleepy and content with a job well done.

Janet Helmer
SCAW Uganda 2018 team member

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Uganda: Kyabigambire

Refreshed and ready for a new day we headed a short distance to our distribution site in Kyabigambire. We were met by cries of ‘yayayayayaya’ a sound of appreciation by the women of the area, we shook hands and felt very welcomed by their community. The children were all dressed and ready in their colourful clothes from the SCAW distribution. The children had been waiting patiently then slowly moved towards us in a wave of colour. When we started blowing bubbles they laughed the carefree laugh of a child as they tried to hold the bubble in their hands, like how I will hold this trip as a memory, a fragile thing that is there and then it is just a beautiful memory. All set and ready to go we sang some songs with the children. We concluded the singing with the children singing the ‘National Anthem of Uganda’ followed by us singing ‘Oh Canada!’ Many times I have sang this song but I will remember this time specifically as we sang as a group of seven Canadians seeing the watchful eyes of these innocent Ugandan children. We went back to the front where we were entertained by the women dancing to the sound of the drums. The distribution went well, a light rain fell. Afterwards we sat under the stool shade of a large Mango tree with members of the inner wheel as we concluded our visit to this community. We watched as children with bedkits and family members dispersed from the area.

Tonight the recipients will replace their papyrus mat with a new foam mattress, the mosquito netting will cover their bed tonight and protect them from malaria. The children will use their new lunch bucket tomorrow to pack up their matoke or rice and vegetables for lunch. The sandals provided in the kit will be treasured. The children will examine the math kit and be excited to think they have 12 exercise books to use for their lessons. The others items will also be very useful to them, including a blanket, 2 sheets, a wash basin, boxers, a water bottle and a backpack.

We waved good bye and set off down the road, so thankful for the wonderful organizing of our Inner Wheel friends, as things are going very smoothly. The children will have a good night’s sleep for many nights and even though we know that there are many more who need our help, we head home knowing what we did ‘for the Children.’

By Margo Leonard
Team Uganda 2018
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Uganda: Kitoba

Every day we have so much to appreciate. We had our closest distribution site so far. It was a short half hour drive to Kitoba.

We were met by a sea of smiling faces and joyful singing. The mattresses and bedkits were ready to be taken to their new homes where they will be treasured. Our photographers scouted around while the rest of us blew bubbles and greeted the parents and children.

A unique background was chosen. With everyone at their posts, the Inner Wheel ladies made the wheels turn well. With the background music playing Happy Birthday, we started our distribution. I was fortunate to see every face of these amazing children as they sat for their photos, tall, short, colourful outfits of yellow, green, blue and red. Some children had shoes, others did not, sometimes adding a small necklace, curious eyes, frightened eyes, shy, timid smiles, giggles behind hands, downcast eyes, and a heartfelt curtesy from the girls as they accepted their kits.

As the distribution nears its end, we watch as families leave, thanking us again as they start perhaps the several kilometres walk home in the heat of the day. The sun provided the warmth of the day, but the children provided the warmth in our hearts as we packed up our belongings. After another successful distribution with so much help from our Inner Wheel friends, we loaded the bus and thanked the volunteers from the community, in particular Margaret Atuhairwe, who was the liaison for the Hoima area distributions. Each time as we drive away from a site, the area nearly empty of people, we leave of bit of our hearts here. 

We are happy that we are able to help 585 children a day. 

By Margo Leonard
Team Uganda 2018
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