This morning, after trying our brand new household chore system (still in test-phase), our first group therapy session took place. We all told – mentors and children included – the reasons we are here, what we expect to happen and what we’ll do to reach our goals. It was the very first group therapy session for most of us. Though we the mentors are not here because of our own emotional problems, we also shared them for the sake of justiceship and equality. We also have goals with this journey and will certainly be greatly affected by it. The stories of the children are deep and upsetting and include drug abuse, difficulties with anger management, the struggles of being adopted – plenty of frustration and deep-rooted emotional injuries.
Despite the seriousness of their problems, the children revealed their true selves right away. They all showed true honesty and great deal of will to change. My mentored was the first to speak up with uncompromising honesty and no taboos. This set the tone for our little group of thirteen people. We got sensitive quite a few times and will continue to do so in the future. Following the exhausting discussion we only played in the afternoon: we went to a hotel nearby which has a pool and garden with a pathway leading to the ocean. We’ll spend a lot of time here, Pali came to like the hotel at a previous trip. The local hotels usually don’t accept local people as guests – this was the only place where they accepted Pali joined by Singhalese kids to teach them how to swim.
My mentored conducts kung-fu lessons from 5:15 AM where he welcomes anyone – so far him and me are the only permanent participants. After a morning like this, the 24 hour mentor-shift can be quite exhaustive. We learn and play all day, every day. After being alert and ready between five in the morning to ten-eleven at night I’d expect myself to fall asleep at the moment of hitting the bed, but to my surprise I don’t really get tired except for a short period in the afternoon. Even at night instead of sleeping we discuss our thoughts of the day with Gyöngyi, which can take 1-1,5 hours, or I write my journal, and in the morning, instead of the 15 minutes of tossing and turning I wake quickly and energetically.
One can tell that the whole new situation and location is still strange for all of us. As Pisti put it, he got the ground pulled out from under his feet. We’re getting to know each other and the children are testing each others’ and our boundaries. Today, on the fourth day we had our first bigger argument which brought the group together at the end as we managed to come to an unanimous decision after an honest and disciplined discussion. Sharing each of our opinions and thoughts on one of us’ misdemeanor led to us to realize how one person’s actions can deeply affect the whole group. This is a new situation now and we’ll make our choices with more seriousness and attention to others from now on. We have some rules that can’t be transgressed in any situation (this include taking drugs or alcohol during attendance of the program, pulling back others in their progress, etc.). After somebody transgresses one of such rules, the group can vote trust for the person one time. In case of a second breaking of rule the person has to go back home. This first time the group voted for the stay of this person. All of us decided that not punishment but healing is what’s needed. Everyone stood out for one of us wholeheartedly, which gave great self-confidence for all of us, especially the rule-breaker who said he was very surprised at our reaction and gave him strength. It’s great to experience that mistakes can be forgiven and there’s no need to hide the errors because we can solve them with love, acceptance and understanding.
The children can take home their experiences gained here and give to others from them. Their surroundings, the ones they love. They can change their reflexes and develop new ones instead of them. Here they all get much attention and love, nobody is wearing masks or hides secrets. In case anyone talks about others behind their backs (it always comes to light), we have a group discussion about it the same night so everybody can realize that we can get along better if we undertake our thoughts.