At the beginning of November we had the pleasure of hosting the women who screen print our t-shirts to The Recreation Project forest. They came to celebrate the year and to farewell to a member of staff who was returning to the USA. Their manager wanted her staff to try something new that would take them out of their comfort zone, build trust and teamwork, while also have fun and escape the stresses of their daily lives.
The women who work for Remnant are Congolese refugees who have gained freedom from human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and now have the opportunity to support themselves and provide for their families. Through the sale of t-shirts, Remnant empowers these women by equipping them with education, vocational training, and financial security.
At first, there were challenges for our facilitators to overcome, such as the language barrier – the women speak Swahili whereas our staff speak Acholi, Lugandan, and English. Also, two of the women were pregnant and another brought her nursing baby with her. Initially a quiet group, our staff worked hard to engage the women (and one man!) in all the activities, and gain responses from them. The hard work paid off as we saw the women open up over the course of the day and provide us with some insightful reflections.
Some highlights from the day:
After completing the “Spider’s Web”, one woman described how she related this to her relationship with her children. Sometimes her children find it easy and they can just step through, while other times they find it hard and therefore she needs to be there to lift them up.
Having found a way for the heavily pregnant woman to also take part in the “Spider’s Web” activity, another woman explained how we sometimes take resources (in this case a larger opening to pass through the web) that would be better for someone else and that if we share those resources everyone is better off.
Miriam was incredibly fearful on the Zipline but she managed to climb up the tree and take the leap off the platform. She was then able to further overcome her fear by reaching the top of the climbing wall. The pride that she felt was evident in the smile on her face and her workmates pride was clear in the praise and encouragement they gave her.
The determination these women had was inspiring. Even when they kept failing at the “Milk-Tea River” activity they were not willing to give up, they kept on working together as a team to solve the problem and eventually succeed. They were not willing to easily concede defeat, a characteristic also evident in their daily lives.
During the “Bullring” activity, the women worked hard to find different ways to communicate and support each other. Those who had been quiet earlier in the day found their voices. It was also a pleasure to watch Brenda, their energetic and vibrant translator, ensure everyone was involved and engaged.
By the end of the day the ladies looked exhausted but had smiles on their faces. When we said goodbye they all gave me a hug which confirmed for me what a rewarding day it was for us all.
We received feedback a couple of weeks after the day that the women were still talking about how much they had enjoyed themselves, especially taking part in challenging activities they had never tried before.
Take a look at our t-shirts on Remnant’s website http://www.remnantuganda.com/friends/and if you would like to buy a t-shirt please contact Charles at TRP: firstname.lastname@example.org