By Kasandra Kachakji, Communications Intern, Generations for Peace
The Advanced Training 2014 has flown by! Over five days, I have met some of the most inspiring people, taken a thousand photos, laughed until I cried, ate delicious food (and more cookies than I would like to admit), and made some amazing memories.
I got to see GFP in a different light on this first day. There was a tangible energy: a mix of anticipation and pressure, but overall just a positive excitement for the days coming.
As the volunteers arrived, the energy grew.
I listened to the participants as they discussed the successes and challenges they were having in the programmes in their home countries, and hearing these challenges really hit close to home for me. I have volunteered with youth and in youth development, and have faced the same issues: lack of volunteers, and disruptions during programs, etc.
There was a different energy the second day. I could not place it, but Josh pinpointed it immediately: “The Prince is here.” HRH Prince Feisal Al-Hussein sat with participants and chatted with them, and as I posted a picture of him on Instagram, Mark, our CEO, asked me: “Okay, ready to meet the Prince?” I have to admit, I was a bit starstruck. I introduced myself, and froze, but Josh jumped in, in his very natural way, and I snapped back into reality. We forgot to take a picture with HRH. Oooops.
Afterwards, we moved on to the sport and art session. Participants were asked to stand in a circle, facing outward. Hana Jumah, the Pioneer Facilitator of this activity, would say a word, and on her count, participants would act out what this word meant to them. I had to hold back tears at the word “refugee.”
I missed the third day 🙁 I had class.
It was Program Coordinator Ahmad Al-Jboor’s birthday!
The final day was my favorite, by far. The rain came down hard outside, everyone was exhausted and damp, but you could feel how ready everyone was to use their new knowledge and skills. After the press conference ended we headed to the auditorium, where participants presented their future plans for their programs, and gave feedback to one another.
I was among some of the first to arrive at the Gala Dinner later that night, and everyone looked amazing in their sharp, formal dress. I must have helped six GFP staffers with their ties!
I felt very moved during the awards. It was surreal to be in a room filled with people who are making real changes in their communities, and I was glad to see them honored for their hard work.
My time here at GFP has come to an end, and I cannot tell you how lucky I feel to have been part of such an awesome organisation. It is actually a bit difficult for me to put into words how amazed I am that I had this opportunity. Literally, I have asked Josh this multiple times: how am I this excited for work? For the last few months, I have felt valued and supported by the GFP Staff, and for the last week, I have felt inspired and motivated by the Pioneers. I have learned so much from you all, and I want to thank you for all the work you do, and for blessing me with your friendship.
Until next time, pass it on!