For the past two weeks, from 8:30-5:00 every day (including highly anticipated coffee and lunch breaks,) we sit and listen and discuss and absorb information.
A few things we are attempting to learn during Leadership Orientation:
- Anabaptist theology and the practice of non-violence
- Missions and values of our organization
- Program overviews and holistic leadership
- How to fill out report after report after report
- Supervisory training
- Conflict resolution (We spent an entire day on this. I'm thinking we have some resoluting in our future. Also, I just made up a word.)
- Conflict analysis
- How to fill out more reports
- Tomorrow I think we learn some technology stuff and we even have a field trip.
What I've been struck by is the variety of experiences and countries surrounding me every day.
There are couples and singles of all ages and stations of life going to Chad, Mexico, Kenya, Lebanon, Jordan, Canada, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Honduras, France, Zimbabwe, and South Sudan.
There's a young couple from Switzerland who speak several languages that will be serving in Latin America.
There's a woman who was a refugee from the Bosnian war.
There's an African man who as a child watched his uncles get killed and vowed to grow up and join the military to "get even," but after working with MCC as a young man he realized non-violence and peace and reconciliation were a better choice and has since dedicated his life to peace work.
There is such a rich history among this group. Several have worked globally in other roles. In a short time we will disperse and begin our journeys to our new homes across the world.
Regardless of our unique stories, we now have several things in common. Primarily, we will be working towards some principles and purposes, things like acting sustainably, building just economic relationships, dismantling oppression, practicing nonviolence, and seeking a just peace. Doing "relief, development, and peace in the name of Christ," responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice. (Paraphrased from MCC's Principles and Practices)
I'm just beginning to unpack what all these things mean to me both personally and how they will look in our role in Guatemala. As these themes arise I hope to be able to share thoughts along the way.
For now, I'm excited and nervous and ready and not ready and expectant and hopeful and doubtful and energized.