Connecting local responses around the world
We did our first SALT visit as a team on Friday, Nov 3rd 2011 at the SALVATION ARMY, Georgetown Guyana.
Before the meeting Steve, Nadia and I kept in contact, constantly SHARING ideas, about the concepts we learnt in the CLC workshop. It was exciting to LISTEN to each other's views and share our thoughts.
On the day of the planning meeting, I had black out or no electrical power at home. Steve and Nadia and Myself kept in contact via phone. Later that day, creativity flowed through Steve's veins and as I was talking with him on the telephone, he had the most brilliant idea, he contacted Nadia by skype and me on phone and we SHARED!
On the day of the SALT visit, Nadia and I arrived a little before the time and we were SHARE - ing. I LEARN - t that day that Nadia was facilitating for many years and was very reassuring to me, as I was beginning to get nervous. She SUPPORT - ed me and my "notes" ...I have a SALT notebook ...lol She was very HUMANE!! she carefully and very gently pointed out that the way I LEARN, was by writing it down , and it's ok. Phew, I was beginning to think I was getting too serious about this...lol....now now
It was also very funny to discover that both Nadia and I came with everything we needed for the visit...lol, paper, scissors, markers....
So what really happened:
Nadia did the introductions and breaking the ice with the community. She set the tone in a very beautiful way by APPRECIATING the community first off. One member of the community, got up and facilitated the "ground rules" for the visit. Nadia warmly welcomed his enthusiastic input....by LISTENing and smiling ....as soon as he was finished she continued ...it flowed NATURALrally, liked it was planned
We CONNECTED and IDENTIFIED with the community, with a comfortable environment created, demonstrating that nothing was right or wrong.One member of the community , when asked to introduce himself ( we were identifying with a fruit), replied" you people seem to know more about me, you are the expert, you tell me about me" O yes! and there was a hush! a silence...then it was Steve's turn. ..Steve identified himself with this member in his introduction, saying, " like XXX I am not someone who opens up and shares easily...I am a tough nut to crack! I do not buckle easily under pressure Steve was a coconut. I have to say that it was amazing to see this guy do something of what I will call a half upside down smile, that was expertly concealed. I must also mention that this guy shared...and this happened only because of the comfortable safe space created and the expressing of"hey buddy, we not that different"
Nadia skilfully got from the community what their ideas were on a community...and very soon we had an agreement that as a group, they were a community. Mind you, one member had a dictionary, and looked up what a community was! For them a community was a group of people coming together, standing strong to build something.
There was full participation. I facilitated Are we HUMAN? I recall hearing someone say, what do you mean are we human? Then came another question, What makes us HUMAN? tick tock tick tock...went their heads...it was amazing to see the community STOP and THINK, Are we HUMAN? with their faces saying...seriously ?? ...
As we moved along, we used no books, no prompts....it was just us, being ourselves and doing alot of listening! and talking when it was the right time. Steve facilitated Hopes and Concerns...this was very interesting , they shared their hopes ranging from becoming productive members of society, to getting back their family to helping addicts on the streets get off the streets.
We had excellent chemistry as a team and naturally we worked well together, despite it being our very first time. We had a lot of fun together and it was a very enjoyable experience, learning and sharing with the community and from each other. I cannot wait until our next visit.
After the SALT visit, Steve, Nadia and I thanked the administrator for allowing us the privilege of coming to the community...it was a real gift to me!
We then, stood negotiating whether to walk to Nadia's office and endure some drizzles or call a cab...we stepped outside and the rain fell heavier...lol so we called a cab.. huddled under a small umbrella, in the pouring rain we got into the cab and headed for Nadia's office.Here, it was awesome! we quickly settled in, with our teas and coffee..YES , see how comfi we were ...and we went through the AAR.