Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One More Makes Four

It is the evening of August 21st. There are just over two weeks left of tour, 51% of our tour is booked, and there is no end of anxiety about the coming future. Nevertheless, we are pushing hard and forcing ourselves to defy the odds. Each new day is exhausting; but each new day is equally rewarding. Every screening booked is another school we will be able to visit on tour. Some only a few short weeks away.

Booking aside, today was a very significant day. For the past three weeks, our teams have been incomplete. With only three Westerners per team, there has always been the knowledge of an unfilled void. An empty chair, so to speak. We have waited patiently for weeks to hear of our Ugandan teammate and, after all the waiting, we finally got the news.

Okello Quinto is the name of our fourth teammate. He will be flying in from Uganda tomorrow and we are planning to greet him at the airport at 6:15. I couldn't be more excited! From what I hear, Quinto is a world-renowned Ugandan dancer and I am looking forward to the energy he will bring to the team. This is going to be a rough tour. There are a lot of enemies to fight against: apathy, negativity, ignorance. But I couldn't have asked for a stronger team.

With Quinto, our team is finally complete and the reality of what is about to happen is beginning to settle in. We are hitting the road. I am going back on tour. Am I ready? You betcha. Let's do this!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Roadies Are Here

Saturday night.

The garage door is open and a cool breeze ventilates the room. I am sitting on a reclaimed van bench that has turned into a make-shift sofa while several friends sit around on their computers and phones. The house is busier than normal. The roadies are here.

The first week is always the craziest, not because of the endless trainings or the constant shuffling between the movement room and the conference room, but because of the sudden urgency of tour. Summer was like a dream. We were booking nine hours out of the day and the work was hard, but it almost seemed like we were working for a far-off goal; for a day that would never come.

That day is quickly approaching.

There are just more than four weeks left until we leave. Just a short month until I am a roadie again. But this time, there will be new responsibilities and new challenges.  I am a team leader now and with that title comes a lot of weight. Who do I turn to in times of trouble or conflict? Who will make the hard decisions? I have to be prepared to lead my team to success during a potentially hostile climate. I have to be able to set the standard for positivity and encouragement and put on a smile even when everything is going wrong. Can I measure up to that?

It didn’t hit me until this week how real this whole thing is. But now the roadies are here, Greater LA is 3/4 of a team, and we are making preparations to hit the road.


That’s as far as I got last weekend. I am continuing this post from a coffee shop in San Diego where I sit with a good handful of other roadies. The wifi isn’t working in the house, so we have come here to catch up on work and plug into the rest of the world. The place is called Lestat’s and it’s got a pretty hip, alternative vibe. Instead of seats, there is a collection of Craigslist sofas, each of varying colors, and studded leather couches that look like they were transplanted from a cigar lounge of another time. The artwork is intriguing. I won’t go into details.

It is only Wednesday but it feels like each day this week has contained within it another week. We are working 11 hours out of every day. Into the office by 7:00 AM. Out by 6:00 PM if we are lucky. The work is hard but our resolve is strong and our team of fall 2012 roadies is growing tighter by the day. Every day, new roadies knock Q and A questions out of the park. We are picking up speed with booking and the reality of tour becomes more cemented with each new training.

And I honestly can’t wait. Despite my fears and insecurities, I know there will be a lot of freedom to make this tour what I want it to be. There is a lot of work to be done now but I know it will pay off in the end. We work hard, but we work for a cause far bigger than any of us. And our mission couldn’t be more just.