On Monday David Gibson began a 5-day workshop on Understanding Self and Others. The group engaged enthusiastically in the exercises and realized they were learning a lot about how to live in community.
On Tuesday the group was delighted to welcome Paul Luseni who arrived after completing duties at the university in Makeni. The group was by now getting into a healthy routine of living together with some preparing the community prayer, others cleaning around the house, doing the washing up and preparing the breakfast.
The workshop revealed some great insights from the African cultural perspective. In terms of growing up and the parenting it was noted that in Africa a wider circle of adults perform the parenting role rather than only the biological parents, well captured in the proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”. Another insight was that in Africa men are expected to be decisive and strong in order to play their rightful role in society. This presents a challenge for men seeking to develop their feminine side by showing tenderness and by nurturing others.
“How might my belief about myself and others be preventing me becoming the person I want to be?” was a key question as the workshop on “Understanding Self and Others’ entered the halfway stage. David posed the question for all: “Is the person I want to be, a Brother?” If so, it needs a real conviction that it is the best way for me to live in freedom.
The group was fascinated to learn that the “scripts” each of us have been given by our birth and childhood, strongly influence our beliefs and adult patterns of behaviour. Once the group was more aware of their scripts, they could see that there are ways of modifying them as adults.
“Strokes” are expressions of affirmation of others. An affirmation session gave rise to such comments as “humbling”, “new insights into myself”, “honest” and “why do we wait until these sessions to say these things to each other?”
Common situations of conflict in community were named … competing demands for use of the community vehicle or for favourite TV programmes, asking for money from the bursar. If such small issues of conflict are not dealt with openly then they can build up inside us leading to a major blow up. How to manage these inevitable conflicts was left to next week’s workshop on “conflict management”.
The group thanked David, their facilitator for the week, with such comments as … “I was attentive and awake throughout and never bored”, “the facilitator was active and involved us in small group work which kept our energy levels up”, “he was well prepared” and “I learned a lot”.
The week was rounded off by a well-earned social with stories, jokes and games shared by all.