We had our second training day on Saturday. It was held at UWCSEA East and lasted till 4pm. I found it very interesting and I liked that it built upon our training from the previous training session. It became more evident that our trainers are preparing us for how to host a conference and interact and lead groups through peaceful discussions. We are gifted with so much knowledge sometimes it feels that I should be taking notes. A constant theme was being put into different small groups and being able to hold conversations, be sociable, jovial and in this way put everyone at ease. There was a lot of brainstorming that had to be done which means that it is unequivocal to be comfortable to speak in your groups. Another common thread for each activity we were put in before lunch was that there was always a seemingly irrelevant opener or icebreaker. It is not until this reflection process that I realize that they should be mandatory in that they allow groups of people who probably have very little in common and do not know each other to have something to talk or laugh about.
Lunch was not an explicit training session but in some ways, it felt like one. Me and my friend, who would usually just sit with people we knew and were comfortable, saw someone that we just met in the previous activities and sat with them instead. People seemed to follow us and soon this long table was filled with people from an eclectic array of backgrounds who barely knew each other peoples names, chatting and laughing and agreeing together. The topics that we quickly leaped upon were of such a higher standard than anything that could have come with just me and my friend in months. We discussed issues of race, income inequality, corruption in influential institutions, and plans for the future. The connection that happens in a blink with people once they choose to be friendly and open is rare and I, as well as everyone, savored it.
After that, we had lectures by Cathy Jones and Mr. Watersomething. I found Mrs. Jones really interesting as it was a skill that otherwise I would have looked over. It was unprecedently challenging as it was suppressing the urge to talk.
Lastly, we got into our final groups and discussed activity plans.
It was a fruitful day and it was hard to leave school that day as it was also leaving that wonderful community! I was looking forward to coming back on Tuesday.