This blog is being written two days after the experience and at the time I thought this particular day was by far the most stressful and uncomfortable. However, at the beginning of this day and because of the day before (day 2) I envisioned an easier one… I felt confident and more prepared. The workshop began differently than expected; due to a computer glitch, a video that was to be presented to the whole group was shelved and now we were put into smaller groups to facilitate training. Emily and I was now in charge of audio training for a group of four guys; Moses, James, Gideon and Kevin. We began by explaining in detail what mind-mapping was about, its relevance, followed by the steps we’d be taking for the rest of the day. The mind-mapping went really well, all four participants had a vast amount of information to give about their background, communities and the issues within. This was followed by storyboarding which was the most difficult part; we had to condense many stories (as well as exclude a lot of the work from the mind-map) into points which, was challenging. Reiterating and summarising a political anecdote that was packed and woven with other issues was near on impossible, at times both Emily and I struggled to pull it together. This in addition to an awareness that we needed to move onto the next step felt pressurised. Peter came over and pointed out that we should be finding an overall point with a beginning, middle and end to conclude the message the participants wanted to give. What we had so far was although strong, lacked direction. Both Emily and I were now trying to organise what the main focus and points should be but when we did, another point would be raised and we’d be back to digressing, meanwhile another participant would leave the room and or look at their phone. My discomfort with an attempt at cutting any more explaining or reiterated points was excruciating – I felt both stressed and overwhelmed. I explained this to Peter whilst we broke for lunch – and was advised that we were the facilitators and we needed to assert some direction. After lunch and removing ourselves from the heat, Emily and I took a stronger position in handling this issue and managed to get three themes together and a plan.
This particular day can only be described as painful at times. Nonetheless, I did come away knowing for the next time that the issue of time would need to be highlighted – a lot, and to find the right balance between being chatty and engaged in the stories being told – which can often lead to deviation – and pushing the things forward which might take a little more assertiveness but will lead to a more focussed goal.