The Focused One
Sally Kettle is a ShelterBox Response Team member.
Her route to supporting ShelterBox had its origins in the Boxing Day Tsunami.
When the tsunami hit, Sally had just completed her first Atlantic rowboat crossing with her mother, and was in the process of forming a team of girls to row for the second time towards the end of 2005.
One of her team was in Thailand at the time. Sally tells us how her friend had arrived in Bangkok, but was told that everywhere in Phuket was fully booked so she should go north.
And it was that night that the tsunami hit, so she missed it, just by chance.
But relief about this near miss was soon followed by another blow. While training for the second Atlantic row Sally discovered a good friend of hers had died in Phuket.
It was a really difficult time, but led to her resolve to support ShelterBox.
In 2007 Sally was in Sumatra, on her first deployment for ShelterBox as a fully-trained ShelterBox Response Team member. There she had a chilling reminder of the tsunami.
‘Our translator and supporter, Panjee from Java, must have been about 17 or 18 when the tsunami struck. Now he always wore a hat. We said to him, you must be so hot with your hat on all the time, and he said ‘I keep my hat on because I lost all my hair through the stress of clearing up bodies during the tsunami’.
‘That was really so humbling at the time, to meet somebody who continued to support these efforts having been through something so utterly traumatic, and at such a young age.’
‘When you go out, you are living on your wits and your abilities, and you’re having to deal with change all the time. Everything you need is in your backpack, and that is a real freedom actually, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.’
Sally is currently working towards producing a film ‘The Row Girls’ which will retell her story of the second row with three colleagues in memory of her good friend who lost her life during the tsunami. ShelterBox will be featured in the film.