Connecting local responses around the world
Ironically enough, the Trinidad Experience did not begin in Trinidad, but in Guyana. A T&T delegation comprising of government officials and representatives from civil society got themselves "salted" at the Clara Lodge Hotel in Guyana. We did not only see the application of the process in our own lives, but we saw the real life applications of it when we conducted two SALT visits, one with Prison Officers and the other with the MSM community. Personally, the visit to the Prison Officers remain a lasting memory in my mind, as I truly was impressed by the officers ability to dream amidst some extremely challenging situations.
But back to trinidad, where the national delegation was eager to "pass the salt" and stimulate the passion of their respective communities. After much planning, we began the process on Monday 4th at the Normandie Hotel here in Trinidad. There were the skeptics, those who thought that this was another HIV workshop and those who thought it was a waste of their time. However, sometime along the day, the attitudes began to change. Participants, from a wide cross section of society, recognised that they shared the same hopes and concerns. They realised that they all had the same dreams and as one group put it in their dream "The limit to your reach,is your capacity to dream."
There were times when it was easy to revert to the negative. To slide into that realm where we get burdened by the shackles of the past. However, this uneasiness was soon abated by the waves of compassion and mutual respect. The SALT visits, one with youth and the other with PLHIV, participants saw their "saltiness" pass on to others.
At the closing ceremony, one of the UNAIDS officials, who came only at the end, remarked that he had never seen 'a group of people so energised after spending 4 days in a workshop." The participants shared their eagerness and excitement for the process to continue; realizing that the work has only just begun.
It's safe to say we're ready to...pass the SALT!