By this time in our adventure it feels like we are into a bit of a routine. Our team has gelled. We all draw on each other’s unique strengths making each distribution run a little smoother than the last.
Each distribution is unique. The venues are different. The volunteer helpers are different. The Rotary members are different. And the children are different. Our team has developed some routines but we remain flexible and adapt to the differences.
Each distribution has a flow. The children need to be changed into their new clothing, then checked in, their photo taken, the bedkits handed to them along with a snack, and then they are sent on their way.
Each venue presents different challenges and opportunities for establishing a smooth flow. That is our first task when we arrive. While some of the SCAW team members work on this, others are meeting the children, establishing trust and building rapport.
So many of the children we have seen are scared or confused, or simply overwhelmed. Meeting them with a big, heartfelt smile showing them photos and teaching them the “hokey pokey” helps to ease some the tension.
Many people are needed to keep the children flowing through the distribution smoothly. We don’t want them waiting too long for their turns in front of the camera. And many of them need help to carry their bedkits. Some of the children are actually smaller than the kits themselves.
The help of young adult volunteers is essential to our success. Today it was the Girl Guides and the Junior Red Cross. These young women helped to escort the children from one area to the next, handed the snacks to the children, and also helped the children carry their new bedkits to their waiting parents and teachers.
All the children are grateful for their new bedkits. Some smile so big it fills their face, while others are more subtle, but the gratitude is there; you can feel it.
Today, there was one girl who was the most friendly child we had seen. She asked our names and after receiving her kit, while waiting for her bus to take her home, called out to both Kay and myself. She gave us hugs and we simply had to capture her exuberance on camera. Our distribution today was at a school in the city. At the rural distributions most children arrive by bus. But in the city, children arrive in just about every form of transportation we have seen in India. It still amazes me how much stuff and people can carry on a motorbike or scooter. This dad drove off with two bedkits and two kids on his scooter. Others climbed into their school bus with their bedkits.
While each distribution is unique, the one thing that remains the same is the happiness and gratitude that is so evident in these children.
Team Chennai 2018
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