Liberate yourselves”, he said, “speak the language you are most comfortable speaking, express yourself in the way that feels most natural to you.” That was one of the first sentences that Bonface, the host, spoke welcoming the group of eager participants to October 2019’s Mwamko Mpya workshop.
His point was to emphasise that this is a safe space. A space where the participants could be their authentic selves, a space where they could share their real stories, express their raw fears, outline their hopes. It was a space where they were not only expected to be their true selves, but the success of the workshop is hinged on this authenticity.
And share they did – happily, boldly, beautifully, intentionally.
These are a few of their stories; stories that we are honored and privileged to be partakers of. May their voices encourage us to work with added urgency and greater insight into why the program needs to reach more and more members of our security forces.
What came to mind when you received the call from GSN inviting you to this workshop?
“I felt like I belong. I felt that I belong to an institution that cares about my wellbeing, I felt that I belonged to a community that is concerned with the mental health of its people, I felt like I belonged to a family that desires the best for me.” All that from a simple phone call?
This is what a participant in the October 2019 Mwamko Mpya training said he felt when a staff member at GSN called him with details about the workshop. His sense of belonging that emanated from that call speaks volumes about the reception that the Mwamko Mpya initiative receives from the members of the uniformed forces that GSN partners within this ground-breaking program.
Kumbe tulikuwa tumelala (Alas, so we have been asleep!) When one participant heard the name of the program Mwamko Mpya, her first thought was “kumbe tulikuwa tumelala, sasa tutaamka.” (Alas, so we have been asleep, now we will wake up).
Many of the participants came with huge expectations for the October 2019 Mwamko Mpya training which can best be summed up by the term, learning. Many of them are counsellors at their various stations whose work daily brings the wounded at their doorsteps. Their main aim was thus to learn how to better handle their own stress and trauma and in turn equip their colleagues with the tools needed to handle their own stress and trauma.