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A theoretical and field SALT exposure in Kolkata

Dear Friends,
Recently I have got an opportunity to be in a theoretical "SALT Session", along with a day long field visit towards it's "Practical Implementation" in Kolkata invited by Dr. Rafique of CARE India Team.
It was very use full sort of reorientation for self-stimulation and self-recognition as a community representative of People Living with HIV.
As a matter of fact, I also invited by UNAIDS and attended may be the introductory programme in New Delhi around three years back, but that time I failed to get the complete test of "SALT".
Now, I would like to share some thing about this SALT Visit around Kolkata, which is my personal reflection.
The SALT Team Members were very much excited to learn this exceptional process and tried to grab to some extend, but all most all the field team members are habituated to work with "Downward Process", so it was little bit hard to imagine, recognise and adopt the "Upward SALT Process".
Ultimately, they recognise to practice SALT right from their life first.
In two community visits on the same day we felt the willingness of the team members have been increased slowly to learn for better performance as community stimulator for social change to learning and application.
Thanking you,
In solidarity,
Snehansu Bhaduri

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Comment by Laurence Gilliot on May 17, 2010 at 7:35am
Hi Snehanduri,

Thanks for sharing about your experience. I took me at least 6 months and many SALT visits to really understand the depth of the approach and the beauty of it. I also came to trust in the approach. Trust that all the ingredients are there and that, at the right time, the cake will be ready, the community will open up.

For me, what helps a lot is to let go of the goals the 'we' as facilitators set. We even let go of our role as facilitator. We are just a human being. We go and visit our friends, for whom we care, we listen to them and connect as human beings. It helps a lot to gain trust when we share our own personal challenges.
Ex: When Gaston and I were in Papua New Guinea, very often we shared about our own vulnerability to HIV. This often open the discussion.

For those, like me, who are not familiar with BSF is means Border Security Force.

Comment by Snehansu Bhaduri on May 16, 2010 at 9:10am
Dear Friends,
Today I would like to share about the need came out of different community.
The first community was just adjacent to Zore Point of Indo-Bangladesh Border. Their everyday lives ends for the day by 6 p.m. When the area comes under the complete scanner of B.S.F.
The community represented by some Warehouse security and others works in legal transport and passenger services. All are financially self sufficient.
So, all of their grievances/problems were Torture by B.S.F. and their inaccessibility to own agricultural lands etc. But, one point of communication one of the community member admits that one of his friend is related to illegal cross border. Which was the only achievement there in terms of first SALT visit there, although this is far far from the desired goal.
In second visit we found a very strong village based women group.
Where the main problem is increasing trend to Alcohol and Drug addiction within one third dwellers and youth and extreme poverty in a certain fishermen community.
And in terms of cross border issue we got very tactical replies like the answer to the question," How long are you living in this village?" The replies were, this village is three hundred years old etc.
Finally, I recognise from this SALT visit that, we must keep patience to practice this method to archive the ultimate goal.
Thanking you,
In solidarity,
Snehansu Bhaduri
Comment by Joma on May 15, 2010 at 4:50pm
Dear Snehansu,

Great to hear this, with the 1st participation. How SALTY you are. BRAVO
Comment by Dr. E. Mohamed Rafique on May 15, 2010 at 4:32pm
Dear Snehansu,

I agree you with you. I just saw your posting only after I replied to Joma on this same subject of where our team members got so excited about SALT in a remote village near the Bangladesh border that some of us talked simulataneously in a group discussion.

Looking back now, with the advantage of calm retrospection, I would say that it is better we make such "mistakes" in our first SALT visits like you had so well shown in the subsequent AAR. Thus the team will never forget this 'mistake' and thereby never repeat it in their lives!

We all learn better from our "mistakes" and experiences.

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