I’m going to write about our journey to Bangladesh. This picture represents my gathered feeling about why we were there and the work we did. When I look at this picture, I see so many things. First of all, there is a game being played, with rules and a structure that everybody knows and follows. I also see all the hands together next to each other. Every single child plays a part in the common atmosphere created within the group, each little hand and every little finger. The whole aim for me personally was to extract everything that I believe in, in terms of creating a playful space and what it can do. I wanted to deliver my experience with the magic and wonders of playing. There is so much behind the simple games. When we create a safe space for playing games we also create a way to play a part in the community in a new way. We also create a way for children and adults to express themselves and therefore help them to find their own personalities. Some people might think it is silly to waste time on stupid games and songs. My opinion is the opposite. I believe that everybody should start the day with a game to loosen up and let go of where they came from and to settle in the space together. I have seen how effective it is and how well we work together if we get a chance to vibrate together before collaborating; to have eye contact, to touch each other, to use our voices and be in the ‘now’. It makes us ready and prepared to face challenges. The theme for this trip has been “together” or ‘ekshate’. I did not know this in the beginning, but I have been reminded throughout the weeks. When we boil down the big pot of work we are doing, and we end up with the strong concentrated flavor, I find togetherness, collaboration, open arms, direct impulses of laughter and presence. These things can make a change in a troubled group and even in a society.
We mostly worked with staff working in the Rohingya camps with the children and the families. Therefore, we had to send our message clearly, so nothing got lost or dropped between the fingers. In one week, we had to share everything we knew to help them in field. It was very intense, and I learn so many new things every time I work with new people. The group followed us straight from the beginning. It was so fantastic to see how much they trusted us and how willing they were to adapt to our way of thinking. Giving them tools to make children gather in a circle without shouting or physically moving them, and the courage to be silly and find their voice in a group of kids. It felt very special every time one of them said that they found another ‘tool’ that they are going to try in the camp. I left the workshop with a feeling that they now have a basket full of tools but also a new way of thinking in terms of solving problems. And they did not only discover new games and new ways of thinking. I think that the group also found each other. Some of them are so stressed because the missions they have on their plates are not easy tasks and it seems to be a never-ending project. A lot of the workshop was to give them relief and energy to keep up the amazing work. It always feels a bit strange to think that these people work in the camps every day. When we leave we go home and move on to the next project, but they are always there. I guess it’s part of the job. We enter with extreme intense energy to leave as much as possible and it is draining in one way, but in another way, we get so much back. I can’t wait to hear how our ways are being implemented and how their work is developing.
One strong memory I have is from the end of the workshop when the lovely Shermin told us that she has a new way of thinking about children. She cried when she said that she used to be so angry when they misbehaved and now she learnt there are many more ways to reach the children in a peaceful and playful way. I think that she was so brave to open up and admit her frustrations, and I could see pain in her eyes. I hope she found a piece of her own inner child and connected so much with the little girl Shermin that week. When she remembered how it was to be a child she had to put her anger to the side because when you understand something it’s easier to handle it without negative impulses.
It was not an easy week and the work environment was hard. We did our best to always stay positive and back each other up. We really made a great effort to deliver as much as possible in a short time. I will remember this journey for the rest of my life and it’s safe to say that they will too. Ekshate (togetherness) power!