I'm taking the liberty of a change of pace with today's Tanzania Live update - Day 6 and 700 bed kits having just been given out at a school in Chem Chem. I wanted to share with you what an energetic, skilled and dedicated team of Sleeping Children volunteers I have the pleasure of leading. You have met most of them in photos and videos accompanying Live Updates they have sending, but I wanted to tell you a little about each of them.
Several things happen at each distribution - the SCAW team has the joy of greeting the children and their parents, and then we get down to work including choosing a photo site, setting up the bedkit, taking a photo of each child, interviewing parents and children, and finally, the joy of briefly meeting each child, looking in their eyes and wishing them Lala Salama, a good night's sleep, and giving them their bedkit - the personal touch that shows each child that someone cares for them.
Our team also came to Tanzania with the goal of sending a more vibrant and complete picture of what happens on a SCAW distribution each day, using social media tools like Facebook, You Tube and others. You are seeing the results of their skill and efforts. My team is accomplishing this second goal beyond my expectations.
Each of my team members that you see in the videos and photos is an outstanding individual who volunteered to come on this trip. Let me say a few words about each of them.
Lori Albrecht - it is largely thanks to Lori that our team is sending back the wonderful "one-minute videos" with highlights of each day. In addition to her responsibilities for the day (and learning considerable Swahili to speak with the children), Lori is videoing the children, parents, overseas volunteers, SCAW team and capturing many of the wonderful sights and sounds of a SCAW distribution. After each distribution, in our vehicle or back at the hotel, Lori then works on selecting the "pieces" she likes best from all the videos she has taken, and distills them down into her "one minute of magic" each day.
Graham McDougall is the youngest member of our team at 17, and he has an amazing knowledge and passion for photography, computers and video creation software the names of which I have never heard before. Graham has taken hours of footage on this trip, from which he plans to make a short video showing the highlights of a SCAW distribution. Graham has also been advising Lori with some technical aspects of putting together her "one minute videos", including using a Wi-Fi Hot Spot for mobile internet while on the road, and figuring out how to cope with variable strength internet at our hotel.
Jennifer Travis is from the United States, and our team and SCAW are very excited to have Jennifer travelling with us on a distribution. Jennifer is passionate about interacting with the children, and making the distribution day a truly special occasion for the children. Whether blowing bubbles or bouncing balloons, Jennifer had large groups of children surrounding her and enjoying every moment they were with her. Jennifer's energy and passion for making things special for the children are resulting in many, many smiles on the children's faces in the bedkit photographs.
Lori, Graham and Jennifer are on their first SCAW bedkit distribution. Jeff McDougall (Graham's dad) on the other hand is on his fourth SCAW trip. Jeff has exceptional leadership qualities and interpersonal skills, and is making a significant contribution in many ways on this trip. I had never met Jeff before this trip, and the other day said to him I feel like I have known him all my life. Jeff provides good ideas and wise counsel, and is a pleasure to work with. I hope SCAW will see a lot of Jeff in the years to come.
Last and certainly not least, team member Leslie Banner will be taking over as Tanzania Team Leader in 2014. I have not traveled with another team leader for many years, and am benefiting from hearing Leslie's suggestions in a wide range of areas involving the leadership of a Sleeping Children team. I have the privilege of working with Leslie in other areas in the SCAW organization, and have learned on this trip that she is as effective in leading a bedkit distribution as she is in contributing in other leadership areas back home in SCAW.
Every member of my team is contributing to making the Tanzania 2013 trip a success. So today I would like to recognize each of them, and thank them for their efforts in ensuring six successful bedkit distributions so far, for making each day special for the children and their parents, and for their skill and efforts in enabling our team to share many special moments with the outside world through video, audio, words and photographs. I am very proud of each of them.
Ted Swanston For Team Tanzania