January 6, 2011
Has the week gone by already? I guess there’s not too much time for reflection when you are either “ON” or dead asleep.
The beginning of this week was a difficult one – for me and for the participants. We hit those mid-workshop doldrums where the excitement wears off a little bit and fatigue/reality sets in. Understandably everyone missed Prentice, and it was an adjustment for people to get the hang of working with me solo. However, I can also proudly say that some serious breakthroughs were made!
The major transition this week was in my role as a facilitator with the large group workshops (Monday and Wednesday). Instead of leading with the teacher trainees, I stepped into the role of observer while the new teachers took control of the group. There were a couple moments when we co-led an unfamiliar exercise, but for the most part, they ran the workshops. The participants loved it, and the teachers gained confidence and ownership of the work. Teacher training days (Tuesday and Thursday) were extremely interesting because we started to get into the specifics of nuanced leading styles and adjusted the workshop structure to take into account cultural differences between America and Liberia. I learned three new theatre games from the other teachers to bring back to New York with me, and we became much more comfortable with each other. You know things are getting good when a whole room of Liberians have no problem making fun of your teaching quirks. We created a Peer Feedback structure to work with, and I gained some useful tips about how to better lead for the second half of the workshop. (Better be prepared to take it if you’re gonna ask, right?)
In spite of the drop in energy at the beginning of the week, we ended on a high note. One of the exciting developments that took place was on the “business side” of things. LYDIA and Asmi have partnered with a group of local carvers to create wood bowls and spoons to bring back to New York. The items are made from a beautiful red wood only found in Liberia and South America, and all the revenue that comes from selling these items will go directly to LYDIA and pay for their 2011 operating expenses. It was one of the ways that we could work with LYDIA and help them get started.
Jared, Camu, and I are off to a beach town called Robertsport for the weekend, and I look forward to sharing Jared’s photos with you when we get back.