Photo by Tony Cece

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thursday, June 26

Today started with breakfast as usual then it was time to head out to our assigned destination. It became quite apparent that in the midst of such tragedy, poverty, and hopelessness it is easy to become overwhelmed. Our group has found hope in the smallest of reassurances. One group from our team worked with a homeless man who told his life story. At the end, the team members thanked him for talking with him and he stopped them and said “thank you for listening to my story. No one has ever asked me to tell that before”. This small statement created a huge impact on our team. Our presence here is so much more vital and important than we ever could have imagined. This simple fact was a gust of rejuvenation. The breakdown of the day, by each group, is below. We thank you for your continued prayer and support!

Dr. Arveson’s: Dr. Arveson’s group went to Salard, a very poor Hungarian/Gypsy community, today. They split the people into two groups: children and adults. The group with the adults saw a lot of jealousy amongst the community creating a lot of tension. In addition to the tension, they also saw aggression through both verbal and physical means. Since several of the people they worked with were very stressed the group utilized deep breathing tapping interventions to help de-stress. Overall, the group felt like they had positive encounters and were very encouraged.

The other half of Dr. Arveson’s group worked with the children. The children here in Salard were very aggressive, both verbally and physically, and vigilant. The children wore chains around their neck to use as a weapon to defend themselves from dogs, bullies, or attackers. It appeared to the group that the children’s behavior was a cycle that was passed down from parent to child continually.  The group members were able to clearly see there is a huge immediate need for clothing, food, and shelter amongst these families. Although this was a tough population, the group felt like they had a successful encounter with the children and enjoyed their time with them.

Lem’s: Lem’s group visited Tileagd and met with children age 3-13. The group split into two groups: one group took the younger children, while the other group took the older children. Both groups had classroom activities to do with the children but were able to utilize techniques such as Stone Therapy in order to effectively work with the children individually. The main theme for the group was teamwork. The group facilitated a game with the children in which teamwork was crucial to winning. After the game, the group recapped with the children and saw the children really had a retained the information they learned about teamwork.

Dr. Harris-Keyes’: Dr. Harris-Keyes’ group went out to work with various homeless population not living in a homeless shelter but instead living on the streets. Before they arrived at the homeless street spots, they were taken to the store and each group member was given around 8 US dollars to spend at the grocery store: their objective was to spend all $8 to provide food for a family for a week. The food needed to be filling, easy to store, and very inexpensive. The team had a great opportunity to see how difficult it can be for a very low income or no income family to survive. The average income of some families here is around 100 US dollars. After the grocery store, the group took the food to the homeless families and also conducted individual counseling with them. The needs amongst these people varied widely, as did their stories. There were ex-convicts, a woman with HIV who was not allowed admittance in any shelter, as well as people who refused to ask for help since they saw it as begging and they would not beg. The group saw a wide spectrum of emotions present. Some were very depressed and even suicidal while others were smiling, positive, and found every opportunity to point out the blessings in their life.

Dr. Keyes’: Dr. Keyes’ group spent the morning at the Smiles compound conducting individual counseling with a few members of the Smiles staff. After, the group headed out for three family visits in the community. While meeting with the first family, the group broke into two groups. The first group took the mother to do individual counseling while the second group took the two children outside. Both groups had a great time and positive experience in both settings. The second family visit consisted of a husband and wife; the wife was suffering from mental illness. This encounter was very intense, volatile, and complicated. The group felt somewhat uncomfortable yet also like they were able to learn a lot from this experience. The third family visit consisted of a couple with a 2-year-old baby. The husband suffered from Schizophrenia while the wife suffered from Multiple Sclerosis. This encounter was also quite tough but the group again felt like they were able to learn and experience something that will be very beneficial.

Overall, it has been a great day and we are looking forward to what tomorrow holds! Until then! J

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