Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Honduras: All About The Children!!

Today was all about the children. We travelled to a quaint little town where we were greeted by 500 happy children and their families. These pictures tell us exactly why we are here. Whether they are waiting patiently in line or anxiously pointing to their favourite pattern, we know they will sleep well tonight and arrive at school tomorrow with new clothes and new school supplies. 


The most popular bedkit today was the 'minion print' with many children asking for it. We ended the day with these lucky children.




But these aren't the only smiles we see, our group of Rotarians, Rotaracts and extra helpers leave knowing that we all had a part in creating the smiles on those 500 children. 



Team Honduras 2017

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Honduras: Steps in the Right Direction!!

We just finished day 6 of our 2017 Sleeping Children Around the World bedkit distribution in Honduras and I’m pleased to say that another 500 children are getting a “Better Night’s Sleep” in this developing country. 

Today, we travelled approximately 50 miles outside of Tegucigalpa to a rural area called Comayagua where the social network is not as forgiving as a major city.  The Rotary Club of Tegucigalpa partnered with the Rotary Club of Comayagua to coordinate a bedkit distribution, so that the children in this region could receive a bedkit from a donor in Canada.  The children in this community were challenged by malnutrition, poverty and a lack of opportunity on a much greater scale then what we had experienced the first 5 days of this distribution.  Despite their challenges the children were so appreciative of the bedkit and all the items that would provide them with a better life and sleep.

After the distribution was completed, we had a chance to formally meet the Rotary Club of Comayagua and its’ members and they were so appreciative of our efforts to assist them in this service project.  They are a growing Rotarian Club and they would like to develop a better partnership to make the SCAW bedkit distribution at Gracious a Dios elementary school an annual event.  As well, the Rotarians shared with us that their club was celebrating its’ 40th anniversary and this was their last service project of their year.

Later on that evening, as we returned to Tegucigalpa, I realized that the key to our future success in Honduras will be our ability to partner with oversee volunteers that are committed to allowing SCAW to spread the message of how it is so important to get a “Good Night’s Sleep”.  The opportunity to have the Rotarians from Comayagua participate is definitely a step in the right direction.

Regards,

Sieg Will for Team Honduras 2017
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Sunday, 20 August 2017

Honduras: Student Entertainment!!

What a wonderful surprise for us when we began Day 5 distribution at Escuela Republica de Honduras! After finishing our setting up, we were entertained by a group of students in traditional dress performing a Latino dance! Their costumes and make-up were very colourful, and their footwork and dance moves were graceful! We truly appreciated their hard work and practice to make us feel welcome!



Another surprise awaited us during this distribution! Some students had made thank you cards and origami butterflies, as a token of their appreciation for receiving their bedkits! That gesture on their part, truly made this day special for the team!


Team Honduras 2017
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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Honduras: Laughter and Smiles!!

Laughter and smiles ... a successful day of bed kits being received by both boys and girls!


Time for fun ... an opportunity to play the parachute game.


Time to test your skill at making creative designs with the ribbon stick




We enjoyed an evening as guests the Teatro Nacional Manuel Bonilla.

Team Honduras 2017
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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Honduras: A Special Day!

Another great day, with much anticipation from all of the students! It was wonderful to experience integration of special needs students at today's distribution. It was humbling to see the loving display of acceptance and educational opportunities for all the children today.




Team Honduras 2017
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Honduras: Joyful Stories in Pictures!

These pictures tell part of the joyful story of our day.  We arrived at the boy's school to meet our very excited bedkit recipients!



This whole team of teachers, Rotarians, Rotaracts, and SCAW team members all work together for the kids. 


This is one of the many Rotaract whose youthful enthusiasm and tremendous work ethic makes the day fun for all the volunteers and kids.


This teacher told us about his experiences with his 27 boys in his grade 1 classroom and the sleep education that they are taught at school. 


This mom told us about the challenges she and her son face, and how her 9 year old son often gets only 4 hours of sleep each night.


Our team had a great time with the kids today! 



These kids were loving their new bedkits!  



Our team was also able to visit one of the local manufacturers of the bedkit items where we learned about this small cottage industry business and the young owner who works hard to give back to his community.  A great day had by all!

Team Honduras 2017
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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Honduras: A Day of Smiles!!

The thrill of the journey has begun! Thanks to the SCAW donors we were able to enrich the lives of 450 girls today from an all girls school! It's pretty obvious how excited they were to each receive this gift of good sleep! Tomorrow we will do the same for 450 boys and we can't wait!





Team Honduras 2017
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Honduras 2017: Post your comments here:

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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Tanzania: Farewell and Lala Salaam Children!

Our distribution has wrapped up successfully and 5,500 children will sleep better and be protected from malaria!  Our last day went very smoothly, even with a couple of interruptions from rain showers. The children were delightful.


Kay found a kindred spirit in song and organized the children for photos.
Lyle gave mattresses to the children and rocked with getting children ready for photos.
Linda kept us on track and made sure our photo count was perfect.
Donna talked with parents about sleep and entertained the children with puppets.
Ruth gave each child a warm and loving greeting as she put the backpacks on the children.
And Lyndsay got some great photos and video for SCAW's marketing partner MAVERICK to use in upcoming SCAW projects.


As Team Leader, I had an amazing, hard-working team!

We want to sincerely thank our Overseas Volunteer Partners. Without Mama Wandoa, Wendy, Benjamin and their team of dedicated volunteers, this distribution would not happen.


So "Lala Salaam" (sleep well) children in Tanzania.


Helen Scutt for Team Tanzania 2017
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Friday, 4 August 2017

Tanzania: Hot, Hot Weather!!


Before our 7:00 am departure for the second last distribution, we loaded three hockey bags and two knapsacks filled with donations from generous friends and family (hats, flip flops, shoes, t-shirts, sunglasses, school supplies and sports equipment). Lyle used metres and metres and metres of rope to 'hogtie' the bags to the top of the van. The bumpy roads and huge potholes were no match for Lyle's knots!

Even though the distance to Mwangaza school was relatively short, the trip turned into an 1 1/2 adventure because there are almost NO street signs and Tanzania does not have GPS. When we FINALLY arrived at the school, the overseas volunteers greeted us with smiles, laughter and huge hugs.

Today was the hottest day yet with absolutely no breeze in the school's inner courtyard! The temperature was 33 degrees celsius with incredible humidity! We will NEVER EVER complain about the heat and humidity in SW Ontario again!

Following the distribution, we delivered the bags of donations to Matumaini school- a residential school for children with physical disabilities (ages 7-21). Since 1969, this incredible facility has been operated by the Salvation Army. Of the 210 children, 57 are albino. Sixteen teachers provide Form 1-7 education for all and almost all graduates advance to two designated high schools in Tanzania. Some regular supplies, like food are funded by Salvation Armies around the world, including Canada. A new boys dormitory is close to completion and Lt. Thomas Siana is seeking donations for metal framed bunk beds ($360 Canadian) as bedbugs pose a problem with wooden beds.

We were moved by the compassion of the staff and the caring actions of the students toward each other. Having seen some of the conditions from where these children came, it is heartwarming to see them In a place that can better accommodate their uniqueness. God bless!


Ruth Sealey & Kay McLean for Team Tanzania 2017
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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Tanzania: Another Day in Paradise!!

Another day in paradise!  The skies were blue and the temperatures were warm.  Does it get better than this?

Today's distribution of 785 bedkits was at Kibamba Elementary School outside of Dar.  The traffic was much better -- hence the travel time was much better -- than what we experienced on the earlier distributions which makes a big difference when every seat is filled in the van!  The school was built on a hillside so setup on level ground was a problem but not insurmountable.  When I wandered to the back school it was clear that soccer wasn't the game of choice at recess!

As usual the children, moms and dads were elated to see us.  They listened attentively to the introductions and applauded in their own inimitable fashion to our distribution.  The children were well behaved and smiled at the drop of a hat with little or no encouragement.  It was a pleasure to see happy faces! 

There were two other things that struck me.  First was the number of "thanks you's" I heard in dispensing bedkits and mattresses.  When I inquired of a few children it appears that English is taught -- which it was at previous schools -- but also emphasized especially in circumstances as this.  Maybe it was rehearsed but it was nice to see the children taking risks with my language and encouraged me to continue taking risks with theirs!  Second was the friendships and camaraderie afforded the disabled children.  Their friends were excellent at guiding them through the process at the pace required of the disability.  I hope that sense of friendship continues with them forever!

Despite the fact that the clouds were white and fluffy, being of the cumulus kind, there were a couple of very short cloudbursts.  Not only did they not disturb the enthusiasm, they provided a welcome respite from the heat of the day.  With the slope of the hill, there weren't many trees and hence no shade.  

The day was wonderful, the children were wonderful and the impact of our efforts were noticeable.  Another beautiful day in paradise!

Lyle McLean for Team Tanzania 2017
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Tanzania: Day 3 of Distributions!!

Our third day of distribution went very well at the school in Chanzige.  We had some extra helpers today, as Benjamin's family has joined us from the UK. Although we had a small rain interruption, we successfully distributed 785 bedkits.



On our way back to our home base, we visited the factory where all of the bedkit mattresses are made. We were able to see how the foam is made, and some of the chemicals are from Quebec, Canada. The foam is then cut and covered with brightly coloured fabric and wrapped in plastic to protect it.

Mr. Davesh Dave and Mr. Dipak Desai were very gracious hosts. They have been supplying the mattresses for 16 of the 17 years SCAW has been distributing bedkits in Tanzania. They also donate the transportation of the mattresses to each distribution site and provide 50 extra mattresses for Mama Wandoa to distribute during the year. We were pleased to share with the representatives from Unoplast that SCAW had purchased a bedkit in memory of Mr. Paresh, a wonderful man who will be greatly missed.


And on a personal note, this distribution is extra special for me this year, as my daughter Lyndsay is on the team.


By Helen Scutt forTeam Tanzania 2017
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