miércoles, 10 de julio de 2013

July 8th & 9th (Day 1 & 2) Facilitator entry

¡Integrando a México!  
Days 1 and 2

The first participant burst eagerly in a good seven hours before official arriving time, and by eight in the evening all 30 participants were at the ranch, some having travelled more than 20 hours to get there, others soaking wet from the rainstorms that make a timely appearance every year at the opening of the course. We sampled the first of contracted chef Doña Tomi's dinners and knew that, cuisine-wise at least, this was going to be the best ¡Integrando a México! yet. Anyone who can cook up a true tortilla española (still gooey on the inside) in less than 40 minutes automatically has my admiration for life... Doña Tomi managed it in about 20. 

The facilitators watched like anxious parents as each participant found a space at the dinner table and tentatively started conversation with those around them. Some of us wanted to put ourselves amongst them, fill in the silences, ease tension, but in the end getting to know, and feeling comfortable with, one another has to be an organic process, and it was time for we facilitators to leave the room and let them find their own feet...

Already by Day 2 it seemed that most of the group had. Ice-breaking circle games were well-received, and it quickly became clear that there are natural performers amongst both staff (Saúl's wobbling 'octopus', Andrea's robot dance!) and participants. Group efforts at kneeding enormous balls of imaginary dough looked ridiculous from outside, but every one of those joining in gave it their all and appeared enthralled. It was a stressful day for facilitators, (though we hope no one else noticed!), due to there having been a break down in communication between the Local Education Authorities and the school at which the course is mainly based. 

For a few tense hours it seemed we wouldn't have access to the site or facilities, and IaM would have to somehow convert itself into a nomadic entity, roaming from place to place. Patient negotiation by Pato, the Organiser-in-Chief, and Betty and Rodrigo our Logistical team, secured the school for a fortnight, so we can breathe in peace for while at least. 

Towards the end of the day's formal sessions, participants sat in a circle and reflected upon efforts existing student movements were making for the betterment of their country. It was a moving moment. Afterwards, in their Reflection Groups, several insisted on the importance of continuing to work for positive change after the IaM course has come to a close.

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