With less than a week to go, the office is a hive of activity in preparation for the Journey of Understanding February 2014. Sahdia and I heaved two suitcases of fleeces to the laundry on Friday – a job we’ve been putting off for 2 months! But 28 fleeces are clean now and ready to wrap around our participants to ward off the cold of the Lake District mountains.
We have a superb group of interesting participants joining us for this programme, with equally interesting dietary requirements! Derwentwater Independent Hostel are doing a great job at keeping up with us, providing Halal, vegetarian and vegan food and catering for various allergies. Kosher food is slightly more complicated but we have ordered 18 ready meals to be delivered to the Lake District and lots of Kosher hummus!
Sahdia and I have had the privilege of leading the preparation meetings for the British and American participants, both of which were fantastic and filled us with excitement for the programme. The British group (Amma, Kheron, Trevaughn, Laurence, Peter, Yusran, Husna and Jemila) are from a variety of areas and partner organisations in London, Slough and Yorkshire and came with wildly differing perspectives and views on their country, thus leading to a fascinating discussion about whether or not Britain is divided in its multiculturalism.
The Americans (Lyndsey, Marisa, Derek and Jorge) are split between East and West Coasters and also represent a multitude of experiences and personalities. Their discussions on segregation in the States were no less interesting than the Brits’! Half of the group had never left the USA before coming to the UK to study, so this is a particularly exciting experience for them as they prepare to meet their peers from all over the world.
Former Encompass Programme Manager Josh Cass is joining myself and Sahdia to facilitate the workshops on the programme, which (without giving too much away) will cover topics such as identity, community, conflict, power, privilege and gender.
Upon our return to London, we will be staying in the Museum Inn Hostel for 3 nights, cramming an interfaith panel, visit to partner organisation Aik Saath in Slough, and public speaking skills workshop into those 2 extra days.
On Monday 17th February we will be hosting the Showcase Ceremony. This will be an opportunity to meet the 24 participants and hear about their journey, as well as their action plans to put into practice what they have learnt once they return to their communities. 11am-1pm at Faraday House, 48-51 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AE (lunch provided). We hope to see you there – please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are coming so we know how many to cater for.