As a member of the Guyana Team I have so much to be reflective about during SALT visits. Quite recently CLCP has just conducted  training of which I participated. Looking back, before Life Competence , local response meant feedback after an intervention in the community - how they felt about what was shared and not really about what they could do for themselves.  SALT  brought new flavour to local response - community involvement from beginning to end.  I recognize that to be successful in this process there are qualities that one must possess or reshaped, that of openmindedness, self awareness (being comfortable with who I am) and a willingness to try new things.

I'll first share on the visit on a girl's orphanage. They were first asked to introduce themselves and state how they felt about being there. They were very restless and just wanted to talk, thus asking  "how they felt?" was a way of opening commuication.  It was a way of asking "how was the weather inside?"  I then asked them to share their concerns and hopes of which the majority wanted to be reunited with their families.  A six year old who couldn't write still wanted to share and said, "I want a heart because I still want to write," and even though it was in scribble that a person couldn't understand I allowed her to state what it was she wrote.  She said she wanted to be rejoined with her sister who was adopted.  i was in awe of this, as a facilitator I was able to watch something come into fruition before my very eyes.

i found that their restless and disruptive demeanor at first was because of who they are - children from various backgrounds, circumstances and maybe unknown future; as a facilitator I had to exercise patience, tolerance and to maintain open communication to stimulate a discussion that unfolded beautifully.  They were supportive of each other thus putting into effect the ideal of what a competent community and local response should be, with open communication as key.  Because of this I eventually got to the understanding and appreciation of why it is that they behave the way they would.

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Comment by Olivia Munoru on February 13, 2012 at 4:18pm

I love this line: "Looking back, before Life Competence , local response meant feedback after an intervention in the community" . It's so true!

You have a lovely style of writing; I'm excited to read even more of your posts Paula!

It sounds like the Orphanage visit was quite a personal journey as a facilitator. I find this every single time I interact with new people in new situations - I am tested, but when I come to relax and open my mind, I find, like you, that I learn a lot about the people, the situation and myself. This can never come from asking a community for feedback on an intervention!!!

NIce to meet you..... I can't wait to read more....

Comment by Gerard Ee Huck LIan on February 13, 2012 at 8:16am

Hi Paula,

My organisation operated 2 homes for a few years and my experience is that cilldren always want  to be with their family. However, there are always reasons why it is not possible so sounds like you did great by giving them the chance to visit the family that lives in their hearts.

Comment by Shabakie Fernandes on February 11, 2012 at 7:38pm

I love you sharing Paula!! you are very SALTY!!!


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