“It’s like a vacation.”
“It’s like a vacation. We don’t have our home responsibilities, and we get to relax and just hang out together.”
For our Little Ripples Teacher Training here in Batouri, Cameroon, the participating teachers and cooks have all been staying together in a dormitory at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) compound; the same property where Kelsey and I are also staying. Every evening, from my room, the romantic sound of crickets is overpowered by the roar of laughter coming from the dormitory. I love it. It makes me feel so happy to hear them having fun together, and so this evening, on their final night, I figured I’d go see for myself the happenings at the dormitory.
These programs are entirely community-led. They made every decision from which day to run the program to what hours and to who will be on the teaching team each day. The teams are diverse and yet they have committed to working together.
Trust in the process. Trust in the modeling before the explanation. Trust in the people. Trust in the children, and they will trust you.
If there is anything that can foster community between people and across cultures, it is sharing a meal and a cup of tea. While we do that, we will also be sure to sprinkle in some early childhood development, mindfulness, and games!