With around 750 participants going through our course in the last few months you can easily say there are some good days and bad days. Last Friday was a difficult day. We brought a group of secondary students (high school) from Kitgum district, which is about 2.5 hours from Gulu. The bus had a flat tire on the way and the group arrived more than 4 hours late. Bad start.
planning to get through the web
In one of our games participants are asked to get their team of 12 people through a man made spider’s web (bungee cords). They CAN’T touch any of the webbing, or the whole team has to start over. One of the main tenets of the teaching is we don’t tell them how to accomplish the tasks or give them the answers. They have to use what they already have (themselves, their team, their environment) in order to complete the objectives. Safe to say, I was getting very frustrated when 45 minutes into the activity and after several tries the students couldn’t figure out they needed to simply lift each other up to pass through the web. They needed to work together.
On the porch with Case that evening I started to think about the day and couldn’t shake it. You could see in their eyes they just didn’t know, systems here don’t encourage thinking for yourself, or coming up with different answers to a single problem. The people “helping” are supposed to tell them exactly how things need to be done without any input from them. Because our team chose not to do that, it was an incredibly frustrating activity.
A few days later I came across this quote:
“Unless you’re willing to have a go, fail miserably, and have another go, success won’t happen.” Phillip Adams
After praying and thinking about the day, and this quote, my angst has since turned to complete joy. What a blessing this project is. When these kids go through our course they get a chance. A chance to run, play, learn, dream, apply, think, and fly. They get a chance to succeed, fail, or do both. They get a chance to try. I haven’t been with a single participant yet that didn’t give it a go or make an attempt to take advantage of the opportunities in front of them. Some have succeeded out the gate, some have struggled, but all continued to get up and keep going.
It is not something to be taken for granted here. Most of these kids have never, and may never again have a chance to do something like this. We pray though, that it opens their eyes to the possibilities in their lives. That by seeing, and then doing, a fire will be lit in their hearts to dream big, and to think in new and positive ways about their spiritual, physical, and emotional development. The game is changing here, with every chance that one of these kids gets.
trust me, they are very thankful for this opportunity
In the next year we are hoping to pour youth through the course. It only costs $4 to give a kid the opportunity to experience our ropes course for one full day, including a very sustaining lunch, which can’t be underestimated. That means for every $25 monthly donation we can send around 80 kids through our project in a year. Please consider making an impact and joining our team by signing up for monthly donations. Your gift literally gives these kids a chance to experience this type of joy and learning for the first time in their lives.
And for all of us, I hope we see our failures as opportunities to learn, but more importantly, as an opportunity to pick ourselves up and go at it again.