posted in: Lebanon | 4

Today’s session was led by the enormously impressive Alexandra Chen, a clinical psychologist with vast experience of working with displaced people, who has been involved with Jusoor from the very beginning. She confounds expectations, as a Hong Kong Chinese who lives in the Middle East and is married to an Arab, who has a Harvard email address but has recently been working in Greece and Jordan.

She emphasised how privileged we were to be working at Jusoor (something Val and I are fully in accordance with), but tempered that by reminding us that this was not about us, that we were there to do what we could to help the school, the teachers, the children. It was very good sense, and did make Val and I reflect on our time last year in Johannesburg.

The hardest lesson for me to take on was the message that, for these children in particular, who have had so much taken from them, we are not here to breeze in, make an emotional contact, and then breeze out again. As a teacher, I have always wanted to make a difference, to provide memorable experiences, and to be remembered and valued for those things. Can I, on this occasion at least, manage the first two and leave out the third?

4 Responses

  1. Sue

    Your introduction week sounds really good. We only get 2 hours field training at Calais- but message is the same and Alexandra Chen is so right when she talks about remembering that as a volunteer, with in less than a month you will be on your way back to your ‘normal life’ leaving the refugee kids to carry on for more than the forseeable future in their own grim situation. In Calais, I really try to concentrate my mind that for a short while it is not all about me😀

    • chriswalters

      Induction week has indeed been good, but tomorrow we meet our class and start to teach, so considerably more nerve-wracking.

    • chriswalters

      Thanks for being such a loyal reader, and apologies for not replying more quickly. To comment on your various comments: yes, it is hot (though no hotter than UK, by all accounts); thanks for the Arabic translation, though not too helpful should I want to say it – it is kan yaman kan, and that would be this year’s title rather than kwasuka sukela, (which means the same thing in Zulu) if only Val could work out how to change it. Sounds simple to me, but what do I know?
      And many thanks for the good wishes. We may need them, as we start teaching tomorrow.

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