Monday, February 17, 2014

Sessions and Learning: Starting in Full Gear

12th January, 2014

Alarm started ringing about one and half hour ago but we were too tired or too lazy to leave the bed. It was 8 in the morning when Maya and I both had to wake up anyway. Observing the pin drop silence around all over the chalet we reckoned, either everyone had left for breakfast or no one had woken up yet. It turned out, not very surprisingly, that the second one was the correct assumption. We had to rush because today we got loads of stuffs to do. From 8.45am, the sessions were going to start plus we had our country representation after the lunch. I wore a Salwar Kameez. It occurred to me that it would be a thoughtful decision to wear a traditional dress for country representation.

Breakfast went as usual. 

Antony Ajanthan
Yes, now it was the Session Time!!  The facilitators were awesome because every session was full of learning in a very interesting way! At first, facilitator Antony Ajanthan who was currently working in Trincomalee with Danish Refugee Council and had obtained a degree in Philosophy from Kandy National Seminary, took the lead of the session named “Identity step”. We headed outside bear-footed and stood roundly. Ajanthan asked to close our eyes and slowly he directed us to our insight, to feel it from deep within that why we were here and what we expected from here, what we could take and what we could give and in the end he asked to mingle with the nature, to walk slowly, observe slowly and think deeply and explore for one object that catches our eyes, the one object with which we feel connected. And we had to talk about that very object that why among everything that particular object caught our eyes and mind simultaneously. After opening our eyes we followed the instruction walking slowly and randomly here and there, observed things and tried to acknowledge those, thought and explored. That was really helpful. All of us had more or less rushing days before getting here. There was very less time to think.  It worked like a kind of meditation for us, a tonic to revive.

Coming back to the training room,we needed to warm up a little with each other so a small discussion took place how we could create a more comfortable zone to get mix with each other and side by side could make this ISV a great success by getting connected globally in true sense. We volunteered and Dan made a list. The list was quite long, have a look :
Find spaces-Mix up groups-Get involved-Role play-Be open, Ask-Translation
Listen to others-Real life experience-Hold your assumption lightly-Time management

Rashitha Delapola
After this we had a session named “Two truth one lie”. Rashitha Delapola, one of the facilitators from Sri Lanka came forward to lead us. Well, here I want to brief a little about Rashitha. He was a kind of man who could easily make place in anyone’s heart with his gentle smile and kindness. Moreover he was caring towards every participant just like a fatherly figure.  Especially my group got to know him better because he was in charge of our community visit. Beside of being an Active Citizens facilitator, he was the consultant on International Relations at National Youth Service Council of Sri Lanka which is the pioneer public sector organization responsible for youth development and youth empowerment in the country. His contributions were remarkable I must say!

Now coming back to the session, it’s a session of finding the truth. As all the participants knew each other for hardly two days, in this point the session turned out very interesting.  All of us were given a piece of paper on which we had to write two truths and one lie about ourselves and we had to share it with each other. The task was to find out the big fat lie about other participants by mere guessing. Well, it was fun!! I would like to share what I had written on my piece of paper and those were, “I am engaged”, ” I can speak Hindi” and “I hate walking”. Most of them kept guessing that the lie would be the one about my hatred towards walking which was actually wrong. I really do hate walking. At some point I met Maya and we both agreed on the same point that it was not the game for us. Still we thought to give it a try. And her three points were, “I speak Italian”, “I have gone for hiking “ and “I met my boyfriend eating grasshoppers”- the third one looked really odd to me because we were  not very familiar with eating grasshoppers but, I knew, Maya’s first language was her mother-tongue, then she learnt German and English but NOT Italian! So, there was the lie. And she took a look onto my paper and gave it back to me saying “ooh you are not engaged”.

We laughed. We knew it was not the session for us. We knew each other much better even within only two days.

Writing our expectations

Gathering again we tried to find the reasons why people kept guessing wrong at some particular point. I presented my view, as people kept thinking that I am engaged the reason behind it would be that in Asia or continental countries women does not remain single for a long time. They have to get engaged or married because after a certain age they can hardly find a good match or to the worse they don’t find anyone to marry at all. So it’s quite natural that a woman of my age could be engaged, yes.The ultimate point of this game was that in every way of life we have to guess; assume we measure we take. We have to keep guessing about people around us, or what is going to be next or what would be our choices and by a correct assumption a whole course of a life can change. A youth leader should have this quality of assumption, to be precise, correct assumption. A leader is meant to find truth or s/he will only loiter around in the wrong directions and never can make a right choice. We also should have the ability to make right guesses about the people around us. When you are working in the field of reality, correct assumption about a person might save your life.

Well, people might say, who does not know it? Yes, we know many things. People smoke, in spite of knowing that it may cause cancer; people drop plastic and paper on roads, in spite of knowing that it may cause environmental pollution; people do many things even after knowing the effects but this is a process how we set up our minds through knowing the same thing again and again, practicing it again and again and that's how we learn in true sense.

(To be continued)