The core of an Alternatives to Violence Project Training for Facilitators workshop having small teams prepare and facilitate one typical workshop session and then do a team self-evaluation in front of the large group. Our lead team demonstrated each of these processes for the practice teams before they got down to their work.
One member of our lead team was assigned as an advisor to one of the four practice teams. Each team was given a skeleton agenda with one theme: Introduction to AVP, Violence and Transforming Power, Good communication, and Cooperation. It included one or two exercises that matched their theme, but they would need to prepare their own gathering question, “light and lively” game, and closing from the AVP Basic Manual or create their own.
The community president came to our house that evening to tell us they needed the main community meeting building the next day for an emergency meeting to decide how to deal with a woman who was buying many plant seedlings from the area without community permission. We would need to move our workshop to the “comedor” (community dining room) and proceed without Brito from our lead team since he needed to be at this meeting. We released him from our workshop with our blessings since his growing experience as a facilitator would help him inject positive energy into the other potentially heated gathering.
So on day 2, practice teams gathered around a small table with their manuals, markers and large sheets of paper to prepare their session. After deciding who was going to lead each activity, they prepared their materials and practiced how they were going to present each activity to the large group. The lead team coaches needed to help their practice teams understand their tasks without doing too much for them. This was challenging because it was hard for everyone to read and understand instructions in the manual and write legibly, and Spanish was a second language for older people who mostly speak Bora. They practiced all morning and left for lunch in a major rainstorm.
Bora mom reads through AVP manual to learn how to present an exercise
Small group members prepare practice agenda at AVP Facilitator training
Lead team member assists AVP Facilitator practice team
"There is no doubt that Blue Heron is a very fun festival. People come with all manner of colorful clothing, tattoos, and behaviors. I didn't have any volunteers to help me at this event, so I especially appreciated having good conversations with customers who were interested in our work in Peru and happy to share parts of their life stories. One memorable regular visitor to our booth was Eric Stayer better known as Bushy Vanderbilt who is a part-time wizard that has won multiple competitions for his well quaffed beard."
"I appreciated getting to know other neighboring vendors who each have their own fascinating life stories. Some vendors have built a business traveling to festivals to sell their wares (lots of tie dyed clothing) or services (henna drawings) while others are people with other careers who mostly want a chance to share their creative efforts and make some extra income if they can. I made a special connection with an artist named Nate who offered to do a sketch of me while we discussed ecology, spirituality, and prisons."