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Retreat and Reflect

17 Mar

Retreat

Throughout 2016 the team at TRP has spent many hours investing in others; planning, teaching, facilitating activities and debriefing others. It was great to reflect on last year and invest back into the team with a little fun and debriefing of our own at our staff retreat.

After meeting at TRP we all bundled into a couple of vehicles and made our way down the edge of Murchison Falls National Park. For some, this was their first opportunity to go into the National Park, experience its beauty and see animals which never venture as far as Gulu!

On the second day as we sat together after lunch the facilitators began to share some of their learning from the last year of working alongside various groups. It is not just the participants drawing wisdom from the activities we run, so I thought I’d share a some of what the facilitators have learnt, in their own words.

 

Acellam Denish

“I learnt how to turn fear into joy. I also learnt how to take risks. Sometimes you might be holding very tight to old victories, but sometimes that can become a blockage to realising new things. I learnt that to move into the future you have to sometimes take risks.

I also learnt how the people around me have a big role to play in my life. If I want to have a successful story in life then I need to listen to them and be close to them.”

 

Okello Robert

“During my stay here I realised that it is good to accept all the challenges that come your way. We have received groups from all kinds of places and I have learnt how to accommodate all kinds of different people as I work with them.

I also learnt my strength as an individual. There were things that I didn’t know I could do, but through the activities at TRP learnt what I am capable of and also where my weaknesses are. I’m so grateful to TRP that I have learnt a lot of problem solving skills.”

 

Atim Winnie

“I learnt how to be nice to myself and others.

I learnt how, just as all the different body parts have different roles, in the same way we all need each other and need to work with each other to achieve what we want to.”

 

Rubangakene Godfrey

“I have learnt that it is not easy to know things when you have never tried. It is after trying something that you discover it for yourself. So often we have groups where individuals say that they cannot accomplish things, but then by the end of the day they have tried and realised that they can. How will you know if you never try? You just have to try.”

Movement as Therapy

1 Aug

With the month of July coming to a close The Recreation Project was happy to host five organizations for team building activities including: the International Justice Mission (IJM) and Bicycles Against Poverty (BAP), both who have offices based in Gulu. Charles, our Development Manager, also shared a story about an experience he had while working with the Sacred Heart all girls climbing club:

I remembered the bright morning of July 23, when the climbing club girls entered the forest with beautiful smiles on their faces. Last Saturday TRP hosted the WellSpring project- this brougt the alumni members of the climbing club together to participate in a Dance and Movement Therapy program. The girls expressed that participation in our programs helps them relieve pressure they face whether at home or in the school- it gives them a change of scenes and a chance to play.

Dancing being part of Acholi’s culture, we are keen to understand how somatic-experience based therapy fits into TRP’s program. The Wellspring project is training us in new ways to build confidence in the young people we work with. At the beginning, ‘movement as therapy has felt very awkward to me. we are not used to expressive therapies, but are having fun exploring new ideas for healing. We the youth in northern Uganda are still recovering from our past experience of conflict; we lost hope for a better future a long time ago. At TRP we are proud to be one of the agents helping youth to reclaim themselves as successful agents of action and change. -Ogeno Charles, TRP

We are excited for what August has in store for the camp in Uganda as well as our team here in the United States! TRP will be hosting a Summer Fundraiser in Denver, Colorado at the Posner Center for International Development on August 2oth. To find out more about the fundraiser email info@therecreationproject.org or to donate click on the GET INVOLVED tab above!

Thank you all for the support!

Life Line

9 Jul

Life Line

The month of June was enormous for the Recreation Project! With over 200 participants coming through the camp in Gulu; we had tremendous success in helping various youth groups experience joy and learn valuable life skills through rock climbing and the ropes courses.

In addition we held our largest Wilderness Excursion to date! Over thirty six participated in an outing to the cliffs near Patiko. A large number came from the all girls climbing club based at Sacred Heart High School. Two days were spent building camp and practicing rappelling skills that were learned earlier in the month at the TRP camp in Gulu.

In the evenings there was time to relax and eat while stories were shared around the campfire. Ben along with girls from the climbing club created life lines. These were stories drawn on the rocks using chalk that told of hardship and good experiences. Rocks indicated moments of struggle that were overcome while flowers signified happy memories. Poetry and song were also shared throughout the night. One climbing club member reflected on the loss of her parents and how going to school seemed hopeless until she joined the climbing club and found purpose and strength while rappelling from a 100 foot cliff.

Our largest Wilderness Excursion to date!

Our largest Wilderness Excursion to date!

And we’re off: TRP and Restore Leadership Academy climbing club!!!

27 Jul

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Today we received 15 girls from Restore Leadership Academy for our first climbing lesson. We are always so excited to get a new batch of climbers and filled with hope of what will come. We introduced the project, had some practice, and then Irene asked “What are your expectations from this club”. In the past, this question inevitably evokes responses such as: “I hope we will get a sitting fee”, “We need identity cards”, “A certificate”, “Transport allowance”, etc… in this case, we heard a new kind of expectation:

1. Learn how to socialize. ~Joan
2. Gain experience on how to help others. ~Barbara
3. Learn now about our environment and how to be more creative. ~Faith
4. Create unity among students and at home with people in myIMG_1841 2
community. ~Agnes
5. To be able to lead others. ~Prossy
6. Learn skills with creativity and teach others. ~Pauline
7. Know how to react and to lead people. ~Patience
8. Help friends in trouble and get more skills. ~Leah
9. Learn new leadership skills. ~Bridget
10. Learn more cooperation with others. ~Fiona
11. Learn how to take and live life with others in the environment. ~Vivian
12. Learn how to fit into the community. ~Olive
13. Learn how to help others reach their dreams. ~Anenocan
14. Be more courageous. ~Mercy
15. Work hard to achieve my goal and learn more about leadership.
~Gloria

You guys are doing something right Restore International and the Leadership Academy! They already have so much of what we hope to instill in young people in Gulu.  We’re really excited to see where this goes.

My experience on the Wilderness Excursion, by Alex Pycroft

20 Jul

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Arriving before the rest of the group, Ben and I got a chance to scope out what was in store for the day. Looking over the 80 foot cliff—gave even the experienced climber “Jelly Knees”. Imagining 17 high school girls, whose only climbing experience is a 7 meter climbing wall in the forest, I wondered how or if they were going to attempt the climb. The pride of witnessing all 17 overcome their fear of heights was something amazing to watch. All were nervous with a few wet cheeks rappelling down, but none gave in to the challenge before them.

DSC_0099After watching all of the girls rappel, I was one of the last people to head off the cliff. My experience leaning backwards over that edge was terrifying and gave me all that more respect for the girls club.

To get back to camp we needed to hack our way through dense grass and trees. It was a group effort with each of us taking turns with the machete clearing the way. The hike back to camp was a grueling hour, that fortunately ended with with a hardy meal of beans and rice.

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After lunch we set up tents—again, the girls showed exemplary leadership and teamwork to complete the campsite within 30 minutes. With the campsite up, and our things stowed away, we assembled the group to begin another key activity of the wilderness excursion—the LIFELINE. The lifeline was carried out on the smooth rocks using chalk. It’s a creative and simple way for each of the girls to present their whole life story. We asked them to include both positive and negative experiences that they’ve encountered—events that shaped their lives. A curve up shows a positive experience and a curve down, a negative one. I was privileged when asked to come and see some of the lifelines. I saw a number of events about academic achievement and challenges, several instances of death in the family, moving to new locations, but all ended with aspirations of a full and positive future (we had future doctors, lawyers, fashion designers, business managers). I shared my lifeline as well. We shared our stories, challenges and joys, and this created stronger bonds between us.

Around the bonfire in the evening, we were asked to say something positive about someone we saw doing something remarkable. I didn’t expect to be among the people praised, but was so grateful to hear some of the girls talk about the difference I had made for them that day. It was touching, a trip I won’t soon forget.

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