Connecting local responses around the world
What can a dream do for us?
(I witnessed the magic of a simple yet powerful tool we use in community life competence process (CLCP), building the dream exercise. Thanks to all my group members who facilitated this SALT visit extremely well.)
A tiny, dusty village in outskirts of Dimapur, Northeastern part of India...the sun beginning to set...this was the setting for a community visit where our team of facilitators met a bunch of young boys and girls. We were all huddled together in a small community hall, the youth gazing at us wondering why suddenly a group of people who looked different, wore different type of clothes had come to meet them. They were all geared up for a seminar on HIV!
Building the dream is one of the tools of CLCP and I had done this exercise during my first CLCP workshop. But it was the first time that I was to see the community try the dream building exercise and I was waiting with bated breath.
After the usual round of introductions our team eagerly waited for the youth to share their dreams and hopes for themselves and their village. There was total silence. I could see the young people reflecting on our query. No one had ever asked them about their dreams. They seemed surprised and taken aback at our question. When one of us shared our dream, did one shy young man got up to share his dream of having pucca road for his village. Soon our probing, gentle persuasion and the ACP clap motivated the young lot to come out with their vision for the future. From becoming a doctor to an airhostess and from planting trees to building hospitals, the dreams soon started pouring in.
ACP for the first time in their life had given these young minds a platform to share their hopes, passion, and purpose in life. Without dreams, we can see the world only as it is and we are blind to how it can be. Dreams give us a vision of a better future and the hope to work for it.
I was about to turn and leave, when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the young woman (if my team mates Gaston and Sanghamitra will recall, the girl who finally shared in the plenary). This is a moment which will always stand out in my memory. She hugged me and thanked me. “For what?” I asked. Our meeting with you cleared the fog (nice imagery, huh!). We got an opportunity to share our dreams, see what we could do. We used to mainly pay attention to what was wrong with us and our lives and nothing could change for the better. Now we've discovered what is right about ourself.
Everyone knows what isn't right...their flaws, their weaknesses, but few people know and focus on their strengths, the talents, their skills, their blessings... what is right. It's true isn't it... when our own mental patterns guide us we feel so empowered, no matter what challenges we have, no matter what mountains we need to climb, we make a plan and go about getting it done. More importantly, when we share our dream with others they feel the need to help us fulfill our dreams. We dream together and each other’s words feed our minds and stimulate thought and action.
I end with a beautiful quote by Dom Helder Camara: When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality.