Table of Contents
- 2017 Oct • Reflections after the Gorkha Earthquake
- 2017 August • Flooding in Nepal
- Jamuna Shrestha and Poonam Pokwal Visit Ohio
- A Story of Yad Gurung
- Experiences with the Bhutanese in Pittsburgh, PA USA
- Mini-Workshop with the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh
- Planting Seeds of Peace
- Crisis in Darjeeling
- A Taste of Empowerment
- AVP Taste of Empowerment Mini-Workshop
- 2017 May-July • Jamuna Shrestha Visits with Resettled Bhutanese in the US
- Jamuna Shrestha to visit the US
- 2016 September • AVP trauma healing workshop
- 2015 November • Workshops help with recovery
- 2015 Oct • Beginning workshops for recovery
- 2015 Sept • Nepal is Beginning to Heal
- Seeking Discernment
- 2015 June • Vidya Sutton returns to Kathmandu after the earthquakes
- Trusting in the discernment of the local Nepalese
- Nepal Earthquake Relief Log
- Visiting communities to listen to stories of loss and repair destroyed hopes for survival
- Nepal Relief Update
- First batch of relief support is distributed in Nepal
- Update from today’s visit to a village
- April 2015 • Earthquakes hit Nepal
- 2015 March • Discernment workshop in Nepal
- Planned Nepal Friends Peace team • March – April 2015
- Bhutanese refugees struggle after relocating in the US
- 2014 Apr – May • Nepal
- 2013 December • Nepal Peace Team
- Training Facilitators for AVP Workshops in Refugee Camps in Eastern Nepal
- Struggles in the Lhotshampa Refugee Camps
- Lhotshampa Refugee History
- Supporting AVP Facilitators in Nepal
Experiences with the Bhutanese in Pittsburgh, PA USA
Claire Lama offered wonderful hospitality in Pittsburgh. Her husband Prasant is a wonderful cook and her son Ezra loves to play. Poonam Pokwal arrived from St. Paul. She had just begun her apprentice facilitating in the camps, and is grateful for the opportunity to learn and apprentice. We stayed in a lovely room on the third floor with the sunshine, treetops and fireflies.
- A two-hour mini-workshop with a yoga group of eleven Bhutanese women on June 20 in a health care center. The participants were all Bhutanese mostly illiterate and older women, with the English-speaking yoga instructor and her interpreter, who both participated.
- A three-hour mini-workshop with thirteen nursing mothers with eight children, most of them babies, on June 23 in the same health care center. The participants usually meet once a month to learn and share about the child and mother relationship after the birth of their healthy, happy new baby.
- A three-hour mini-workshop with sixteen professionals working with Bhutanese (three were Bhutanese themselves) and two Bhutanese women who did not understand much English at a family care center on June 23, 2018.
Nadine encouraged using a richness of language necessary for people to understand. The first group had their own interpreter who did simultaneous interpretation for the instructor, with a little support from Jamuna as the interpreter was also participating which sometimes distracted him from interpreting. Jamuna interpreted just enough for Nadine to participate with the nursing mothers, and Poonam did simultaneous translation for the two non-English speakers in the last group.
- Opening Talk: Why are we here? Jamuna explained why she is here. She began supporting the Bhutanese in 1991 when they first came through India to Nepal. Then in 2008 discovered how helpful the AVP workshops were. It took four years to get permission from the UN High Commission on Human Rights to share this with the Bhutanese, but for the last five years she has been doing AVP with the Bhutanese, interrupted by two massive fires of the bamboo/grass huts in the camps, and a massive earthquake! Then news of the suicide rate among the 97,000 Bhutanese resettled in the U.S. broke her heart, so she is grateful to Friends Peace Teams to support her to come and visit the Bhutanese in the U.S. We explained our work was based on the AVP philosophy.
- Welcome: Sit comfortably. Relax on your skeleton. Stop. Stop in your body and stop in your mind. Let what you want, like, understand fall away. Feel your breath, your heartbeat, the unconditional gift of life. Open to the feel the transforming power of life. Life is valuable, you are alive and valuable. Nothing we can say or do will make us any more valuable than we are right now. This is it. This is enough.
- Gathering: Name and a power for good I have is….
- Good Listening: We brainstormed good listening, ensuring that the elements of: 1) stop your body, stop your mind; 2) turn towards, not away from the speaker; 3) try to track their words and meaning, not your own.
- Affirmation in Pairs: Taking turns in pairs, we practiced listening and saying positive things about ourselves for 3 minutes.
- Light and Lively: Big Wind Blows, naming things to introduce ourselves (with nursing mothers we did Pattern Balls sitting!)
Core Self Drawings: Remembering a time when we felt totally ourselves, we drew that feeling, then wrote our name and three words somewhere on the picture. We showed our pictures reading the three words and collecting them in the center, noting that this is who we are individually and collectively, this is the good place from which to make decisions and take action, and to help remind each other to come back to that place when we feel distress has taken over.
- Storytelling: With the last group only, we had time to share stories in two different pairs of a time I experienced violence myself and a time I solved a situation nonviolently. At the end we put two pairs together to make a list of things that made the situation go well instead of poorly, by noticing in each story the pivotal moment or turning point and studying the factors that made it go well. Each group read out and posted their list.
- Reflection: Recalling what we did the whole time and going around the circle to make any final comments on what we liked, didn’t like or suggestions for the facilitators.
- Closing: We played knee clap, or closed with the reflection comments.
- On the good listening companion’s exercise, people often tried to start from negative so as a facilitator should give examples.
- We did more focus on stop – think – speak practice as a speaker, which encouraged participants to think and speak out. Later on they feel good, relaxed, happy and joyful and realized how many positive things we have and God gifted to us skills and knowledge to handle or cope in any difficult situations. So we don’t need to be afraid and anxious.
We noticed how the commercial cooperate culture is growing everywhere, and this is not necessarily American culture. We all face the same commercial cooperate culture take-over, and we all need to learn how to live together in healthy environment. We can make create the culture we want together.
- Sometimes the merciful thing to do means resting to become strong and healthy. We gave participants the right to pass and to rest, if that’s what they needed! (The “service providers” needed rest the most.)
- In each and every activity we should stick to giving the instructions, step by step. No matter what the group dynamic, we should just give clear instructions. Facilitators should talk less and focus on the activities.
- Be flexible to keep people active and engaged. For me, this was the first workshop I did with mothers with infants. It is important for facilitators to think about how we can observe the group’s needs through facial expressions and body language. Which we can do, because most communication is nonverbal.
- We used the powerful sequence of the roadmap. Even though we did very short mini-workshops, it worked well because we followed the roadmap. We invested time in friendships or getting to know each other’s names, sharing something about ourselves and learning something about others. We had little time for agreements, so we just had participants read the AVP philosophy, then we did some affirmation, then built up communication skills, and then did cooperative tasks and games.
- We realized we need to teach and practice new facilitators how to work with participants who were more emotional or overwhelmed from trauma. In the yoga group, many had cumulative traumatic experiences and so many of them had thoughts of suicide. Sharing that with the group effects others, too. So we need to notice how to carefully do grounding exercises.
One Participant’s Testimony