Thursday, October 22, 2009

Team Building in Ruhururu

Our last workshop on Team Building in Bwezibari is by far the most smoothly run of them all. However it doesn't start off very promising with only one participant on site when we arrive at 9:30 am. Having passed the Health Center ambulance, which serves as a general all-round vehicle for the Health Center, returning after having dropped the trainers off, we were surprised when we arrived that we couldn’t find them. They turned up about 45 minutes later by which time 29 participants have gathered. I guess they were getting their marketing done early when they found no one at the site.

At the last workshop we provided some formal feedback to the trainers who have been facilitating these workshops. They have been doing a wonderful job, are enthusiastic, engaged, active and interested. They have adapted to the changes we have added in and the newer material that includes community development. They have taken turns so all trainers have facilitated all the sessions and have begun to include the volunteers who have also begun to be trained as trainers to facilitate sessions. We also suggested that they all need to concentrate on pre-planning each sessions so they not only have all the material ready to go but have run thru in their heads the lessons they want to pull out of each exercise.
Amazingly, they have responded to the suggestion about advance preparation and the material needed for each sessions has been prepared in advance and the lessons to be drawn appear to all be elicited. As well it appears that without prompting they are tying the questions they ask to elicit key points after the lessons to actual behaviour within the groups. I can barely believe it.

One example goes like this.
In the Puzzle Pictures exercise, everyone is given a single piece of a puzzle. Five pieces make a picture. Puzzles are unfamiliar to people here. They don’t play with them as children. A Peace Corps volunteer told me she gave a puzzle to the children in a family she stayed with and after counting the pieces they didn’t know what they should do with them. So just making the pieces fit together is something of a challenge. Some people are better at finding other matching pieces than others. But always one or two people wander around, not fitting in any puzzle, until with almost the whole puzzle together, a group goes looking for their missing piece. Some people and their pieces are also sent away from a group because they are the wrong colour.

The lessons that can be drawn from this exercise are many. When you have just one part of the puzzle, it means nothing, but when you have all pieces, you have a picture which means something. You feel bad when you are not included in a group, no matter what the reason, even if it is just because your piece is not needed. Some people are more active in finding matching pieces than others. Some people wait to be found. Even when you have all the right pieces together it takes time to make them into a picture.

Obviously it works best in debriefing people if you select someone who had trouble and ask them how they felt, what happened and what they did or ask the person who found other matches early, what they did that worked best.
Our facilitators have finally done this. This is when I figure that I am getting an additional lesson as well, that when one facilitates well in a group, magic happens. I am reminded of this a little later when we do the exercise Build With What You Have. Each of three groups is given a heap of what looks like junk and asked to construct something. In the past they have mostly rearranged it into a store or home. This time we specifically say we want a building made. One group has made a grass hut of a traditional healer. When at the end everyone goes around to the three groups to see what each has constructed, one person is left at each site to explain to others.

At the final site, one of the two men who came to this workshop in a sparkling white shirt and shiny tie, has made himself a corncob pipe and is drumming on a tin can, mumbling loudly, playing, for all it is worth, a traditional healer. As the onlookers say, amidst great laughter and applause, his group has constructed a building but he has made theatre out of it.

When the groups sing the songs they have composed about the work they will do as volunteers, their enthusiasm and conviction carry far beyond this hopeful church in the green hills of Africa. They are silhouetted against the church windows, the male and female voices a counterpoint to each other weaving together in graceful effortless harmony.
About half way thru our
workshop in the nave of a partially constructed church, local schools children are let out for recess and we are swamped. At first the participants try to get rid of them, shooing them outside, but finally they give up and tell them to be quiet. Amazingly it works and until the recess drum goes, they sit at the windows and on the floor and quiet as stone statues. Now where else would this happen?

A while later a group of seven women are returning from market, a couple with small children. They come tentatively to the door and look inside at the single group working on the benches at the back of the church. I smile and greet them in Runkankole wondering if they are participants. They answer shyly and then sit down at one side of the church to quietly pray before making their way home.
Photos: Puzzle Pictures; Groups Sing; School Children Join US; and Traditional Healer Drums



Anonymous ana said...

So nice and interessting reading about your workshop. Really great working. Thank you for sharing this:)

1:57 PM  

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