Well, last week was certainly a busy one! On Monday I gathered up piles of fabric, embroidery threads, scissors, needles and pins, loaded them into the vehicle and set off for Hamburg, a small coastal village that lies between East London and Port Alfred. My purpose was to take my Red Shoe Workshop to the trainee Community Development Officers of the Keiskamma Trust. This programme is overseen by the Centre for Social Development at Rhodes University, and my co-facilitator for the workshop was the group’s trainer, Nozipho Khwababa, an employee of the CSD.
The great thing about this workshop is that depending upon the group who are participating; it morphs into what it needs to be. In this case, Nozipho wanted her students to have the opportunity to strengthen their sense of self, so that when they walk amongst the community, they will feel lighter, less burdened by the trials they face.
The concept of the workshop was completely new to all but one of the group, so their anxiety levels were high when I explained what they would be doing. Most of the participants couldn’t believe that it was possible to achieve the goal I had set, but nevertheless bravely entered into the process. By Day Two the mists of confusion were gradually starting to lift, and by Day Three, the students had the bit between their teeth and were so into the process that they took their projects home and worked on them overnight.
By the final day, the frowns and shaking heads had changed to laughter and celebration. They couldn’t believe what they had achieved, and in the closing discussions reported feeling very much better about themselves and what they were capable of achieving.
We returned to Grahamstown late on Friday, extremely tired, but happy that the workshop had been such a success.