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.

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Comment by garland achumi on October 8, 2009 at 10:44am
hi Rituu
thanks for introducing my own self dream to myself, years ive been searching where i am and what i want to do and finally i got this lucrative time to think it over through SALT ! Garland Achumi
Comment by Joyceangami on May 30, 2009 at 9:16pm
Dear Rituu
Thanks for the beautiful article. The quote of 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. How true this is. Joyce
Comment by Zoengpari on May 26, 2009 at 5:57pm
Ritu............... you have taken me to the dusty village in my dreams.......
Comment by Bazo on May 21, 2009 at 6:32pm
wow....its so nice to hear different takes!! very nice.
'Be at ease with silence'. indeed!! Thanks Gaston for metioning this... i am never comfortable with SILENCE !! I learnt
Comment by Phil on May 19, 2009 at 7:35pm
Would you be willing for me to use this story in the module on 'Building the Dream' in Blended Learning? I have been looking for a story to illustrate the power of a dream. This one is very beautiful.

Would you happen to have a picture of the village? Of the visit?

I liked very much the quotation, "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." That is exactly WHY we need the dream.


(I think the story that perhaps we could use the story to show the power of facilitation. Thank you for your comments too Gaston.)

Jean Pierre Montilla from the Philippines illustrates the same ideas in a video clips on the Ning site too.
Comment by rebeka sultana on May 16, 2009 at 12:00pm
Thanks rituu for taking us to that village in Dimapur through your wonerdul blog.
Gaston thank you too. I liked your two learnings. It speaks my mind too. It creats discomfort when in meetings or sharing events we find people are not talking as if not finingd anything to talk or not interested ...too soon we start assuming. Let take time , let be ease with silence.

Thanks again.
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on May 15, 2009 at 10:12pm
Well said Gaston. The SALT visit was indeed a learning for me both about the community as well as a facilitator. I look forward to your story on TG. This is one SALT visit I would have liked to be part of . Hope to see you back in India soon.
Comment by Gaston on May 15, 2009 at 8:33pm
thank you Rituu for this wonderful articulation of what happened. I was sitting in the dusty room as well. My main learning that visit as facilitator was:
1. 'Be at ease with silence'. Sometimes we feel uncomfortable when there is silence and nobody participates. Letting the silence be, smiling at it and letting people reflect sometimes it the best thing to do (even if nobody breaks the silence).
2. 'Don't give up too quickly'. Some facilitators thought: these youth will never share, they are too shy. However, if we are persistent (in a SALT way), be flexible and try different techniques, we often get some beautiful and useful sharing.

I just finished a 2-hour SALT visit in Krishnagiri, South India with the strongest and most inclusive group of Transgender I have met so far! I'll dedicate a separate posting to their story soon.


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