Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ang Tulay Soroti 2010

The following are excerpts and pictures from my newsletter update:

Ang Tulay Soroti 2010

Our team from Jinja, Arua, Philippines and Kampala went to Soroti for a week to walk with the children and staff of Amacet on the journey of grief and loss.

Jinja Prep

We started in Jinja with preparations for our Ang Tulay in Soroti. We had to get together with our small groups, go over process questions, collect materials for the activities, practice the stories and skits which are all part of the week and pray for each other and the participants we had yet to meet.  I was assigned to be a Small Group Leader for 11 children aged 9-11. My Assistant Small Group Leader was Julius, one who speaks the language of the children in that area, and we also had Kizza who was shadowing us as someone new to Ang Tulay. I also had a story about Acceptance to share with the large group and many songs and icebreakers to lead.  
The Children Arrive!
The kids at first were shy and didn’t say much. I think when they came into the classroom the first day and saw our seating arrangement, they knew something was up. Instead of row by row desks, we had placed the desks in a circle so we could all see each other and create a more intimate setting for sharing. 
We had a mix of children from the village, from Amacet children’s home, children of staff members, some spoke English, others only Ateso.  Their stories and experiences were as varied as they were and none without pain and loss.

The Small Group

They were a lot more expressive during the activities than the sharing time. I am often amazed at how creative expression helps us process things we often can’t express with words.

An example is Fears and Worries. The children wrote down or drew their fears and worries and then together as a group we burned those fears and worries and it was very meaningful for them. After that we created bookmarks with their hopes and dreams on them that they will keep as a reminder. It was a profound moment for many of them that despite the fears and worries they face, they can still forge ahead to hope and dream!

By the end of the week, during our step of the bridge called “Acceptance” we could not call on the children fast enough! They all had something to share! It was a great moment for me to see them so open and discussing their difficult past as a way to move forward stronger. Like the butterfly which struggles in the cocoon before it is able to fly, the children understood that our struggles help strengthen our wings so we can fly! A truly beautiful moment that was seeing them really get it!
"I Am Unique" and "Feelings" Activities
"Pain and Anger" Activity: Throw Your Anger...Into Colour!
Using the butterfly to help explain "Acceptance"

We all ate a yummy meal together at the end of the week complete with sodas and decorations! The kids were in heaven, many of them knowing they had to return to the village the next day.  

Reaching The End of the Journey

What privilege and joy to be the ones God uses to reach into the depths of these kids souls and bring out the treasure within!

Well, the 5am mornings and 11pm evenings, keeping up with 11 very energetic children, being present when they were sharing their deepest pain, the often frustrating moments of working as a team was all worth it!

As we sat together on Friday night, all exhausted from walking the journey with these children and adults, I couldn’t help but feel my heart leap at the idea of doing it again! When? Where? Who? Don’t know yet, but I know that the struggle is all worth it! For the freedom of the children it is worth it! 
The children go back
Team members Bingi and Shiomar

PJM Dutch-Canadian-Filipino Joke and I
Pastor Gordon from Victoria, BC

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