Participants, trainers, and staff at the February HROC International Training. Standing from the left to right, Egide (the cook), trainer Innocent, cook’s helper, trainer Solange, Catherine from Uganda, Nathalie from Uganda/USA, Stella from Uganda, Beth from South Kivu/USA. Squatting from right Lorraine from USA, Poline from Uganda with baby Esther, and Innocent from North Kivu. Missing from the picture are Rebecca from Kenya and James from Rwanda.
Next HROC International Training: The next Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities International Training will be held from 8th to 28th July at the HROC Centre in Musanze, Rwanda. For detail see, https://wordpress.com/page/healingandrebuildingourcommunitiesinternational.wordpress.com/35 or contact David Zarembka at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please forward this information to those whom you think might be interested in the HROC training.
Author of this report, Catherine Nankya from Uganda.
REPORT ON HROC INTERNATIONAL TRAINING IN MUSANZE – RWANDA
4TH to 24TH FEBRUARY 2018
By Catherine Nankya, Participant from Kampala, Uganda
In accordance with the invitation for the International Training (IT) by HROC Rwanda which was sent on 16th January 2018. I was among the IT participants from Uganda and I arrived at Musanze on 4th February 2018. The first week focused on HROC background and a basic workshop with community members. The second week focused on the personal journey towards healing while the third week dealt with training of trainers. During the training, the facilitators used a participatory mode of training where all participants were given an opportunity to share their views and experiences. This included group work, question and answer sessions, role plays and individual experience sharing.
- The exercises used during the training were well linked to the topics that were covered for instance:
- The first two days in week one, the exercises on team building made me comfortable and to very fast be able to work closely with other members. This is because being free in a group of people at times takes me some days but with these exercises drew me close to other people like it was another family that I had. Also the other exercises of team building which were conducted in the second and third week taught me that team building is very central. And apart from that, the team work demonstrated by our facilitators was a very good example. So it is one of the important skills I particularly want to develop and put into practice with my work.
- The exercises that were used during the basic training exposed me to a new experience especially in line with loss, mourning, and building trust. This is because these exercises were so enriching especially the way they make one think and imagine the loss and how one reaches a point of breaking down is so impressive. To me it made me build a strong bond with the loved ones I have lost and I appreciated that these things happen but then I’m not the only one who has lost people. And when I got to listen to the stories shared by the community members it gave me strength that I’m not the only one who has such pain as actually their pain was worse than mine. So it gave me courage to embrace the journey of healing whole heartedly. Also the exercise of the empty chair was another eye opener, “Yes, other people have abandoned me, but then I still have other people who love me so much and then I take them for granted. During this exercise I cried a lot not because I did not have people who loved me but how I took their love for granted and was pushing them away. That week I was able to call up my parents and text my brother and from today onwards I appreciate their love and when I feel like being aggressive to them I remember not to.
- Also the way the exercises were processed was to me a very important aspect that I also picked up. This is because it showed how much the facilitators were so mindful about our feelings. I have conducted some trainings which were not HROC but I have never cared to ask how people feel after these exercises because whenever they would laugh after an exercise I would think, ”Yes, I have done great!”, which may not have been the case. Also the lessons picked from the various exercises exposed me to how we can pick so many lessons from these exercises when other fellow international participants shared.
Team building exercise, Shelter from the Storm, where a group builds a “shelter” to fit all the group members, without talking after the initial planning. The purpose of the exercise is for the team to work together to accomplish a common goal and understand group dynamics in a team.
- The methodology used during the training was so engaging in the way that for the first time in life I felt very free to participant in the workshop. This could be linked to the way facilitators were so engaging and they gave us participants an opportunity to share our experiences and life stories without being judgmental and this kept on encouraging me to be more participatory since all our views were respected and listened to. This showed me how the power of good listening can have a big impact.
- The way the workshop was organized in line with the activities that transpired in the different weeks like. In the first week we had the first two days together with the international participants followed by the basic workshop. Then in the second week we had activities on our personal healing prepared us well for the Training of Trainers. And I’m very much appreciative of how the journey of healing was conducted. This because it gave me an opportunity to reflect on my life and face a lot of fears that I had been avoiding for a long time. “When I was narrating my journey of life, it felt like a very long story and I discovered much of the anger I had been carrying and fears I had where linked to certain things I was holding on for a long time including ways I was treated by people when I was still in school. But after narrating my story for the first time I felt it was time for me to forgive people who hurt me; it’s time to move on. It was time to find the new me and the time to love myself. Something big was lifted off my chest. I really needed this healing. I needed to find myself before facing the world.” It was a major turning point for me to accept to share my journey with other international participants who walked along with me until the end – in fact this was the prime point of my healing.
- Also in the third week being able to put all that I have covered in the prior two weeks into practice was a big opportunity for me. The basic training in which I was facilitating was very well organized and thanks to HROC Rwanda it was not even difficult to connect and understand the participants. And I hope and pray I will practice more since I have the HROC manual at hand with me.
Esther, participant Poline Alobo’s daughter, with trainer Innocent Hahirwa.
Language barrier was a major challenge. Since I could not speak the local language communicating outside the basic workshop with the local Rwandans was tricky in so many cases. I used sign language or engaged a third party to translate yet at times I wanted to interact directly.
All facilitators should try to create more awareness about HROC trainings.
The skills that I gained from the training were worth it to me and I intend to continue on using the listening skills in my journey of healing since most of the time, if one does not listen, it blocks the other person from sharing the pain they have inside. Also on my side I want to take a step to open up my heart to talk to people instead of holding on to pain. I also hope to extend these skills to my family and the community at large.
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From 1998 to 2016, David Zarembka was the Coordinator of the African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams. He continues his peacemaking work in East Africa with Transforming Community for Social Change (TCSC) and Friends Church Peace Team (FCPT). He has been involved with East and Central Africa since 1964 when he taught Rwandan refugees in Tanzania. David is married to Gladys Kamonya and lives in western Kenya. David is the author of A Peace of Africa: Reflections on Life in the Great Lakes Region. He is an analyst on eastern Africa issues for TVC News in Lagos, Nigeria.
Transforming Community for Social Change (TCSC)
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Reports from Kenya: www.davidzarembka.com/