Weeks 3 and 4

Weeks 3 and 4

Tre Kayumba, far left, working with boys and girls at Nkosi’s Haven.

The seemingly improbable task of building a self-sustaining forum in Nkosi’s Haven has discouraged me on many occasions to continue the work in establishing the forum.  The idea was to have a forum for the boys and the girls to focus their energies and express their thoughts.

It appears that there is a sense of jealousy and administrators are systematically trying to dislodge the forum.  On several occasions during the past two weeks, the administration has tried time and time again to interfere with forum plans.  The adults in the community are patronizing the forum leaders, and its increasingly affecting and causing those involved in the forum to discontinue their role in the group.

“You guys are sitting here with your legs open, your rooms are dirty, and you want us to support your forum,” is the response heard from at least one adult.

The forum leaders are concerned that the lack of support from the adults in the community has led the participants of the forum to be discouraged.  I’ve noticed that the deliberate attempts to discourage those partaking or affiliated with the program and this has led me to speculate of the imminent role of these adults.  These are the very adults who have chosen to work in a community put in place to support neglected kids, orphans and the sick.  It has been utterly disappointing to witness firsthand, how detrimental the adults can be in the development of the kids.

Despite the odds, my forum leaders are resilient and inspired, not to be dissuaded by the doubts and lack of support they’re facing.  The forum leaders have realized that the adversity they are facing is going to be a challenging ordeal to overcome.  But time and time again, we all are making plans on how to address the administration, and sustain the very strong unit we’ve worked tirelessly for.

Please make no mistake about it, we are motivated and inspired by people’s ill energy towards us.

I, as the forum founder, am committed to see to it that these eager and bright leaders stay above the negative influence.  I have been challenged on many occasions to step down; the work environment has become rather hostile.  I’ve failed at including Hannah in the project as much as I should have, and I take full responsibility of that.  I am aware of the difficulty of engaging in humanitarian effort work, but have also learned that without a clear mind, you’re bound to be ineffective.  I believe that there where times when my mind and my inability to de-stress has led me to make irrational dissensions.  But I’ve realized my shortcomings and have not given up on my ability to succeed in achieving and instilling a self-sustaining forum.

During the next week, the boys’ forum will present two proposals to Gail Johnson.  One of the proposals is regarding a developmental soccer programs as a means for the boys to learn the essential skills of being a part of a team.  In the soccer program, the leaders will try to correlate life values in the games.  We will make communication a very big part of the game. Just as I was taught by my coach, Owen Finberg, about communicating while playing during a match, the leaders will try their best to instill that same principle.  The other proposal will be regarding community service and camps.

The following week, we will be finishing up with the Forum Constitution and the code of conduct we will be expecting every participant to abide by.  The girls’ forum has already signed contracts, and we’ll see to it that the boys who are interested in participating in the forum also sign.

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7 thoughts on “Weeks 3 and 4

  1. Hello Everyone!
    This is a wonderful blog. It looks great and really helps inform us of what you all have been up to. Congratulations on creating the forums and for writing your first proposal. It makes very happy to see you all in the photos and to be in touch.

    Big hugs!

    Jennifer

  2. I have to agree with a lot of the issues you raise here about the type of support offered by the adults at NH, this is my experience as well. I don’t feel that they are doing this consciously though with bad intention, but instead following a system of command upon which they were themselves raised (or at least this could be argued). The fact is that times change, and so do practices. The question now is how do we get the adults in this community to become more open to your forum and different ways of being/relating to the teens? With regards to the two proposals you are putting forward to Gail, HEART can certainly help you achieve these. For one we can start looking for a soccer coach, and we can offer opportunities for the NH kids to complete community service work.

    • I hope that the resistance we experienced was not deliberate. I have yet to experience real change of mind/heart from the adults and the forums haven’t reported or commented on any changes in the community. One thing is certain. Cynicism is extremely evident and to an extent contributes to people’s inability to do their jobs correctly. One important factor is that there is a lack of fundamental professionalism there and I’m not sure there is any indications of that issue being addressed. And your right that the adults are not on the same playing field as the children, and they have to make the transition to modern practice.I can appreciate them (adults) holding on to tradition, but they have to do it within reason. Gail has displayed enormous support and a willingness to consider new approaches, but she alone cant do this, she needs the other adults to conform.
      My recommendation to your comment about the acceptance of the forum, is that they have to be willing to listen and earnestly try to understand it. Any support from HEART is appreciated, and we’ll discuss that option soon.

  3. I can appreciate professionalism being an issue, and I wonder what the community would say about our comments. Perhaps we could gain some insight into some of these issues. Resistance is never for nothing, there is always a reason for someone to be resistant. In many ways it shows strength. But when resistance becomes an issue it may lead to stagnation.. This may relate to the inability of the adults at NH to adopt certain forms of change. There is a reason for this resistance, they don’t just resist for the sake of it. Certainly not. I wonder what their reasons are, and how complicated they are. Their voices are also a very important part to this issue to consider.

    • During my stay I didn’t feel as though people where willing to engage in any dialog regarding the issues surrounding the place. I believe people shied away from any confrontation out of fear and intimidation. I know that the forum has a lot to say but refrain from expressing their views in fear of the repercussions of speaking your mind. I’d love feed back from the community and I’ll be sure to invite the forum members to read our conversation and to add their take on it. I feel that the community has reach a state of stalemate, and their are various reasons for this state. I have to credit Gail for her leadership skills. She is one who welcomes people to the discussion table, and is not afraid to allow someone else to take the lead, and I think part of the resistance from the adults in the community is because they feel threatened. If my words appear to be inflammatory I apologize, but we need to be able to have these difficult conversation in order to move forward accordingly.

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