A two-day Trauma healing and Transformation workshop organized by the Bishop of Kenema Diocese Daniel Patrick Koroma in collaboration with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny funded by Trocaire of Ireland has ended in Kenema city.
The workshop which took place at the National Pastoral center along Dama Road in Kenema brought together about sixty participants from all works of life from the East and South of the Country.
In her opening remarks Sister Venita Suh of the Catholic mission welcomed all participants to the workshop and appealed to them to take the training very seriously. She said at the end of the training the participants will be able by merely looking at people – be able to tell whether they are in trauma or not and will be in a position to help. She called on them all to make good use of the knowledge gained from the workshop to help other people in their communities.
Speaking to the facilitator during the workshop Patricia Mathes Cane of CAPACITAR International disclosed to Awoko that she has been facilitating for the past twenty years and she has worked in thirty countries in the World.
This is her first visit to Sierra Leone she said and she is working in three regions namely Makeni in the North, Kenema in the East and Western Area in Freetown. She said this year marks CAPACITAR’s 20th Anniversary with 85 people from twenty countries in the World who went to California in USA to celebrate the Anniversary, with its mission “Healing ourselves, Healing Our World”. Cane said she hoped to have independent training next year to develop a team of leaders of the people of Sierra Leone saying the Method she uses is to teach people to do it for themselves so that they can teach others.
Giving a back ground of the organization, Cane explained that CAPACITAR’s roots go back to the 1980s, the war years in Central America, when on a solidarity trip with witness for peace they first met Sr. Mary Hartman, CSA, a member of the Human Rights Commission for Nicaraguan prisons. “It was Mary who invited me to work on a grassroots art festival in 1988, and when, for my own self-care, I practiced Tai Chi and acupressure, it was Mary who said, “Your art is great, but when will you teach us how to do that?”
She intuitively recognized the value of body, mind and spirit practices to help people deal with violence and trauma. From Mary’s insight Capacitar was born. Mary, who will be 80 this summer, affectionately calls herself Capacitar’s Grandmother. From grassroots Nicaraguans we first learn the word “Capacitar”- a Spanish verb meaning to empower, to encourage, ‘to bring to life’ – that became the name of our organization and the spirit of our movement.
“In Nicaragua we also had our first experience of popular education with the CANTERA team in Managua. Based on the work of Brazilian Paulo Freire, popular education awakens people to their own wisdom and empowers them to multiply what they learn in the community. Capacitar embodies Freire’s method, awakening people through ‘body literacy’, so they can reach out to heal and transform their families and communities.”
Patricia Mathes Cane explained about the CAPACITAR Emergency Response Tool Kit saying the health of body, mind and emotions is continuously affected by trauma, violence, weather, diet, environment, daily news, and the challenges of life. The use of simple ancient healing skills can empower us to live with peace and well being no matter what is happening around us.”
“The following Capacitar exercises are offered for use at times when we feel drained, scattered or depressed. These tools are for all of us, whether we are survivors of trauma, caregivers working with others or persons overwhelmed and stressed by daily life. The challenge is to build these practices into our lives and lifestyle, so they become second nature and can be readily called upon whenever we are aware of traumatic stress, energy drain, depressed feelings or loss of center.”
Some of the practices undergone include Finger holds to manage emotions, Emotional freedom technique, the holds, head neck shoulder release, Acupressure for pain and traumatic stress, trauma and the instinct to heal among others.
Miss Juliet Amara a teacher at the Holy Rosary Secondary School in Kenema told Awoko at the end of the workshop that she has gained a lot of knowledge from the workshop and that she is capable of taking care of her trauma and to detect and help traumatize people in her school and community. She thanked the organizers of the workshop and appealed for them to take it to a wider community in other parts of the country.
By Saffa Moriba in Kenema.