You can tell they’re from out of town – who else would dare to drive a 15-seat van in Midtown Manhattan?
“Learning how to drive in New York City in a 15-passenger van, I feel like I can do anything,” said Meagan Sorely, one of the van’s four daily passengers. “But driving around the van is funny because you are so huge, and yet you somehow have to zip around. I think we really work on our finesse.”
Sorely and her fellow passengers deal daily with traffic and parking as part of a the Tri-State team of Invisible Children traveling volunteers. They call themselves “roadies” because they’re on the road every single day spreading the word about child soldiers in Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo to high schools and universities across the nation.
The roadies are split into groups of four across several different regions in the United States. Sorely’s team covers the New York metropolitan area and some parts of Connecticut. All of them are from out of town – Sorely and her two other American teammates, Morgan Harbin and Chris Hart are from Georgia, and the fourth member, Akello Babra Bridget hails from Uganda.
Life on the road is far from easy. They start their days early and work late into the night. Typically, they travel to two schools during the day. After their last screening for the day, they drive to their host family’s residence, where they sleep on couches, floors, air mattresses or, if they’re lucky, a spare bedroom. Where they lay their head changes every couple of days.
The roadies say that they’re motivated by a desire to do something bigger than themselves, and to help bring an end to war and the use of child soldiers in Africa. Here’s an inside look into what touring is like, through the eyes of one of the roadies, Akello Babra Bridget.