2: Select Your Team with Care

Select Your Team 
with Care

Attending high school in Kenya, Dan and his peers were well aware of the famine and civil war brewing in Mozambique. His concern didn’t leave him when he traveled to back to the United States to attend college courses. Not seen in the film is Dan spending time recruiting a perfect team and fundraising for what would come to be known as the Student Transport Aid.

“While Dan Eldon was attending Pasadena Community College in Southern California, he and his roommate Eiji Shimizu birthed the idea to raise money for a relief project for Mozambique’s civil war refugees. After making a pact to do something about it, Dan and Eiji recruited friends to form the Student Transport Aid, STA for short. As Dan said in his mission statement, “Select your team with care, but when in doubt, take on some new crew and give them a chance.”  

The 14 members of STA spent the spring months of 1990 meeting, planning and fundraising. Skeptical of how the money would be used through an aid organization, the group decided they would go to Malawi themselves. In the summer of 1990, eight guys and six girls between the ages of 16 and 21 embarked on a 3-week trek in Kenya, following the route marked in black through Tanzania, and down to Malawi..”  

          - From daneldon.org, author: Sara Cummings
This clip opens with the STA team en route to Mozambique giving a glimpse into the adventure that they were on and the joy they found in one another. Eventually, this clip reveals the tensions that were building from the decades-long civil war in Mozambique and the resulting influx of refugees to Malawi. As the STA arrive in Malawi there is clearly tension building between thee in terms of what they believed the next-steps should be. Should they continue or was it too dangerous?

Film Engagement Activities
1. Refugees: When the team arrives at the town, Amy asks, “What’s happening?” and Rich responds, “Refugees.” Rewatch this scene and consider the abrupt change from their adventurous and joy-filled experiences to their arrival at the checkpoint. 

Engage in a See - Think - Wonder activity about the clip in order to consider the experience of refugees. First answer the question: “What do you see?” Notice and name all the details you can about the setting. Then answer the question: “What do you think about that?” Finally, generate a list in response to the question: “What does this make you wonder?”   
2. After this clip, Dan continued on and the other STA members opted to part ways. 
  • Discuss the parts of Dan’s mission statement that might have compelled him to stay. 
  • What would you do? Can you identify reasons to continue and reasons to leave? For example, staying may mean that immediate help could be offered and one could bear witness to the unfolding stories and experiences of the refugees. However, leaving could ensure one’s safety and the ability to draw attention to the crisis in other ways. 
3. While Dan stayed and was able to use his photography to make a difference, what is best for one is not always best for all. The STA experience and friendship with Dan inspired members of Dan’s team to pursue their own meaningful journeys. Indeed, members of Dan’s original STA decided not to stay on with him though they went on to pursue their own dreams in significant ways via the arts, in education, and in their communities. 

Jeffrey Gettleman is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, writer for the New York Times and author of the book Love, Africa. He served as the East Africa bureau chief for eleven years, and is now The Times’s South Asian bureau chief.  

Christopher Nolan works in film as a writer, producer and director. Some of his credits include: Bat Man: The Dark Night, Batman Begin and Inception. He also wrote and directed Dunkirk. 

Eiji Han Shimizu is a writer, producer, educator and director. A recent film of his is The Happy Movie. 

Haden Bixby is a writer, a teacher and the International Program Coordinator for Cura Orphanage.  

Dan’s sister, Amy Eldon Turteltaub is a journalist and producer, author of four books, and host of the emmy nominated film Dying to Tell the Story. Amy is co-founder and co-chair of Creative Visions Foundation dedicated to supporting creative activists who use media and the arts to create awareness of critical issues and catalyze positive change.. ~ from kathyeldon.com http://kathyeldon.com/amy-eldon-turteltaub/ 

Members of the STA believed in taking action and acknowledging those in need. In Dan’s case, when something seemed wrong or unjust to him, he was compelled to take action and could not ignore that feeling. 

  • Have you ever had a similar reaction to seeing something that you believed to be unfair or in need of attention? How did that feeling and/or experience help shape your ideas about who you are and what your path in life may be? 

Everyone has a different path / journey to travel. 
  • What is your journey? What are some possible ways that you can make a difference? Be sure to check out www.rock-your-world.org to find specific steps to help identify an area of interest and action steps to take.
  • Have you considered or ever felt a personal call to action? 
Create a journal page in order to explore your answers to these questions regarding your personal path to making a difference in your life and in the lives of others.
4. Team Building: Who is on your journey with you now? What are their roles? Why is it important to have a variety of people on your ‘team’ as you travel through life? 
  • Describe the people on your team along with the value they add to your journey. 
  • Student Transport Aid was the name of Dan’s squad. What is the name of yours?
  • Design a team logo that reflects the wonderful qualities of the members who share your journey.

Rock Your World is a program of Creative Visions
Rock Your World is a Program of Creative Visions, a 501(c) (3) organization that supports creative activists - individuals who use the power of media and arts to create positive change in the world.
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