Saturday, February 3, 2007

I emerge

Finally, internet. The only catch is I have 10 minutes to see how much I can update you on... I last wrote, we had arrived in Calabar. The next morning we gave a seminar at the St. Patrick school for boys. The seminar started around 10:30 and went till 5. This was our smallest seminar to date, only about 30 participants, but it was great! The participants were incredibly deep, I'm so amazed in every seminar for a number of reasons. First of all, these seminars are incredibly interactive, I first started asking rhetorical questions in my talks, but got feedback from the participants, so now I ask for responses. The participants all understand really the situation they are in, and that with all the potential Nigeria has they shouldn't be struggling politically, economically, etc. They really are willing to work hard, to dedicate their lives to improving their country. Some naturally understand dignity, for others it takes longer. Even the ones questioning the concepts do so in a very mature, thoughtful way. There is no immediate dismissal of anything, they think, they ask, they propose, and we're able to start to address/think about what we/they can do right now in their lives about the issues they want to address. Generally, they're not looking to get tv for everyone, or better wages, or electricity, or anything many would have thought would be top of their list. They understand so well that those are nice, but not essential. In all of their descriptions of what needs to change are corruption, at all levels, are education for everyone, are equal opportunities for everyone, are respect for all within their society, are external manifestations of freedom (we discuss that internally we are all free, and there are no disagreements to that), the really basic needs to be human, rather than to live in luxury. Because we had only 30 participants, many of whom were already members we were really able to get to know them. Winnie led with a couple games, and we then went into the sessions and had them all roundtable so we could listen to their thoughts and feedback much more than in the larger sessions. I've go no time left so I'll post now... hopefully I'll get internet again soon!

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