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The Gambia Introductory Workshop

The Gambia Introductory Workshop took place in March 2017 at the Kinta Kunteh Roots Camp in Albreda, The Gambia. In the 1600s this village was used as a port to transport Gambians who had been captured to be sold into slavery. 

I led the workshop, supported by Saiba Suso, an RC teacher in The Gambia; and Caroline New, Karl Lam, and Alima Adams from England. The participants were activists and people working in the humanitarian sector and were twenty-one in number. 

I started the workshop by asking everyone to introduce themselves in their native language and then in English. This brought a bit of discharge. I also asked them to say something they liked about themselves. They struggled a bit to do this—and it, too, led to discharge.

I introduced the theory of RC by wrapping a scarf around my hand to show how distresses pile up and interfere with our thinking. I had the participants tell me a hurt, and then I would wrap the scarf further on my arm. I explained how having sessions is like unwrapping the distress and that it takes more than one session to deal with an early hurt. I then introduced Co-Counseling sessions, and we had our first one. 

Topics we covered at the workshop included how and when RC began and its goal of everyone completely re-emerging from past distress; the structure of RC, including the financial structure; the inherent nature of humans; details about Co-Counseling sessions; the no-socializing policy; frozen needs; the definition of intelligence; restimulation; balance of attention; physical contact; early roots of distress recordings; contradictions; self-appreciation; not feeling bad about ourselves; and our responsibility to repair the damage caused by our actions.

We also had women’s and men’s support groups, led by Alima and Karl; demonstrations; and culture sharing. 

A topic people grasped well was how socialization and our upbringing affect our perception of ourselves. They shared negative things people had said about them when they were young and gave many examples, such as, “You are stupid,” “You will never amount to anything,” “You cannot do mathematics.” I then asked how this had affected their lives, and they gave examples of how they hold back because the negative voices keep returning. I repeated what is true about our inherent nature as human beings and reminded them that what the negative voices say is not true. People had powerful sessions after this. 

We then had a class on self-appreciation in which I asked the participants to say what they appreciated about themselves. After that we had Co-Counseling sessions in which the client would start with “I am” and then add things they liked about themselves. Maybe because of their activism, people had trouble thinking about themselves and putting themselves first. Therefore this was a good topic. 

The workshop was participatory, which let me gauge what to spend more time on and what had been well understood. On Saturday night I found out that two of the participants had trouble understanding English, so I did a summary of the workshop, with translation, on Sunday morning. This also gave us the opportunity to reflect on what we had covered throughout the workshop. 

Because of people’s work as activists, I could not resist sharing a bit about RC wide-world change work, specifically on care of the environment and language liberation. 

My highlights of the workshop were as follows:

  • Someone who lived on the island organized a team of people to each tell a bit of the history of the slave trade. It was restimulating to hear about the pain and horror of the people who were captured and shipped off to be enslaved.
  • During one of the breaks, a young adult showed me a video she had recorded near the river. (She’d recorded it there because the river holds so much history of pain.) It contained all that she had learned at the workshop, and its importance for her life.
  • Most of the people attending the workshop seemed to have a genuine interest in RC. I could see them nodding in understanding as I explained the theory. I am confident that a strong RC Community will grow in this area.

Our next steps are to remember that we have allies; to do our own thinking; to offer people resource, listen, and give sessions; and to meet regularly in discharge groups, sessions, and support groups.

Janet Kabue

Area Reference Person for the 
Nairobi, Kenya, RC Community

Nairobi, Kenya

(Present Time 189, October 2017)

Last modified: 2017-10-08 14:55:14+00