I am sitting here in my room in Marion, NC on my new friend (and roomie for the week) Audrey's computer. I intended to get on and blog about all that I have been learning at this training, but honestly, most of it is still a jumble in my mind and I am processing so much info. So I will let you know a few basics about what I am learning here...
CHE (Community Health Development) is something that I new very little about before coming here. I understood that it was a preventative training - one to help educate people in healthy living things and ways to improve their lives. The official definition in our handbooks actually says, "broad based first-tier community health balanced with spiritual teaching." For those who still don't quite understand that definition - let me give you a very basic example: Lack of clean drinking water in a community causes many illnesses and deaths. One thing a CHE would do is to help people identify the issue, help them determine ways to fix it and help them find local resources and come up with a plan. The whole idea is to get a place to own the solution themselves and then to take that and pass it on to others. Oh - and the most important part - with each physical lesson comes a spiritual one. Holistic, mind/body/soul healing and health. I just realized today that this is what has been happening down at Oak's cafe in many ways.
I am actually being trained to train others...though at this point it feels very vague. That means that my role would eventually be to train myself out of a job as people locally take over and gain confidence and own the community's spiritual and physical health and development. Again, that is simplified (and probably not even totally correct since we are still learning!) but the basics.
And as I have sat with people all week who have the same missions heart and understanding of this world as I do in many ways - and actually "Get me" when it comes to an intense desire to be back in Africa - it has been good. I have made new friends, am learning new things, and wondering each day what our life will look like as it plays out in South Sudan. Will I actually be able to implement any of this eventually? Will I be able to do anything at all? When we use examples of the communities that we are going into, it feels overwhelming and (sometimes) hopeless as I look up info on S Sudan, talk about my limited knowledge of it and even more limited time there, and focus on a few of the issues there that a CHE could look at. There are times of doubt and fear - yet even more times of excitement of wonder. Ahh...this crazy life.
So, for all of you praying for me this week - thank you. I appreciate it! And keep it up!