Day 3 - Rain!! This morning was the first rain of our trip. Unfortunately, rain makes it more difficult for the people of Uganda to travel. With a little later start to our day, we noticed a bird inside the meeting center. “That’s good luck…” Debbie said. A good sign for our last education day in Mpigi.
Debbie started the morning with sharing the EVE Team’s Vision and asking each of the team to share a personal story about themselves they haven’t shared before.
The group then shared some of the positive words they were told at yesterday’s team building exercise. “Thank you for coming, God Bless You!” “I was told I was loved for my kindness.” “People said they appreciated my being there and admired my commitment.” “I feel so good being here.” The power of positive words.
Barb and Debbie V. collected the list of concerns the group had shared and created a discussion and role-playing skits on communication, describing the deeper levels of sharing feelings, skills on when to discuss conflict with a partner and the importance of knowing when it is safe to talk.
Debbie then asked the group if anyone was willing to share a personal story either about themselves or someone they know. “My daughter was taken to Saudi Arabia and was abused almost to her death.” “My dad beat my mom for a long time. Mom took us kids to my grandmother’s, which brought shame from the community.” “Men are abused too. There is much fear and shame for a man to reveal he is being abused.” These stories and many more were shared. Pastor Michael shared a story from his family and said as a church we don’t bless you and go. We have counselling support for you. There is healing in the church. Angela shared a prayer for the abused and Psalm 72 and then members of the group lead us all in song.
Deb led a discussion on sexual abuse and the importance of believing the child or person who shares their story and the many myths surrounding an abuser.
After the lunch break, Debbie introduced Majo, a young woman we met on our last trip to Uganda 4 years ago who had a dream and created the Gejja Women’s Foundation in Mpigi. Majo was invited to share with the group steps on how to make a business plan along with some added fun group activities.
Debbie rounded out the day’s discussion by asking the group how would they share what they have learned these last 3 days with the community. Many promised to gather and share with friends and neighbors. Pastor Michael had an awesome suggestion of creating t-shirts that say “Ask me how to end violence!” on the back. 😊
We ended the session with handing out certificates to the over 85 participants and the giving of the EVE Team’s “I believe I am strong!” bracelets.
So many stories of grief, hope and love. And just when I thought the stories were done, our translator stopped by, as he has done every evening, to thank us for the love and the training and our efforts. He said he too has a story to share and because of us, he told us he may share it next time.
The power of stories from the heart.
We envision a world where violence is not considered commonplace. We do this by engaging people in discussions, to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and find solutions.