Trust is something that doesn’t come very easily. On February 25th, Frida and Maja, interns from Gothenburg University-Sweden conducted the second counselling with the High School students and they facilitated about Trust. They shared that Trust includes trusting others as well as oneself. It is not always easy; trusting someone can make you feel vulnerable. The students had many ideas about the topic and actively participated.
They had two exercises;one which was indoors and the other outdoors. Both exercises were aimed at practicing Trust. The second and final activity is called “Trust Circle”: the students stood in a circle with one person in the middle falling backwards, trusting the classmates to catch him/her. It was challenging and so much fun!
After my positive experience at High School, I was excited to go for counselling at Junior School. The theme was the same as for the older students: Bonding. We gathered in the big hall, it was filled with happy faces. Just as last time, we were so well received. They seemed to remember us and even our names. I and my colleague Maja divided the group in two and the group with the youngest children followed me to another room. We had a great time getting to know each other and bonding. When I asked them what they think bonding is about, they gave great examples as “Loving each other”, “Sharing with each other” and “Playing”. I asked the students to do a painting of something they like and that makes them happy. The paintings were so nice, everyone participated and seemed to enjoy the task. Lucky me, I got a big bunch of lovely paintings! It sure was a challenge for me to keep the (about 60) children’s focus, but every challenge is an opportunity and I think it went well.
After some time in the classroom it was time to go outside. Some of the children had noticed that I had carried a football with me and they were very eager to play with it. We stepped out on the big field and played a name game, we formed a big circle and I stood in the middle passing the ball to the children. The one who received the ball said his/her name loudly and the others repeated it. It was a fun game and a good opportunity for me to practice the names and learning as many as I can. After the activity, we played football.
Even though time was almost 4 pm, the children seemed to have a great portion of energy left. I even had some trouble keeping up with them. We shared a beautiful moment out there in the afternoon sun. Can’t wait until next time I will visit Junior School!
Compiled by Frida Kindblom-Intern from Gothenburg University, Sweden
It is an exciting feeling to meet the children for the first time when I know that I will spend many hours with them and get to know and adore them along the way. On Thursday February 20th my stay in Kampala reached one month. The same day was my first counselling with the children at Junior School. As some of the children from Junior School came to the office in order to get to school when the term started I had already met some of them. Even though they were only a few compared to the crowd of around 100 children I saw at arrival, I loved seeing some familiar faces and practicing the names I had learnt at office. Frida and I greeted all the children as they came running from class heading for the big hall where counselling was happening. Because of the large number of children we decided to divide the group in two where Frida did counselling with the smaller ones and Sharon and I did counselling with the older ones.
The topic of the day was bonding, just as with the high schoolers. The theme seemed a bit difficult for the children to grasp at first but as Sharon and I were talking and discussing with them, they fully understood. The aim with the theme was to ensure the children that bonding works in different ways. Everybody’s different and the way you bond with people is different too. Another aim was to give the children a way of thinking about their relationship with their parent in prison.
By talking about bonds with people who are close and distant and explaining their equal worth we were hoping that the children would make the connection to their parents. I was happy to see that the aim was fulfilled as we created a mind map at the end of counselling. The children got to point out people who they have bonds with and how to bond. First thing that happened was that one boy in the back of the classroom raised his hand and said that he has bonds with his father. The children pointed out loving, helping, praying, accepting, forgiving and trusting as ways to bond with other people.
The counselling session was finished off by two activities, one inside and one outside. I will carry with me precious memories especially how welcoming the children were when we were to play outside. I got to teach them a game and then they really wanted to teach me some of their favourite games. I saw some giggles as they were watching me trying to keep up with the songs, lyrics and dance moves they were showing me. It was also a special moment when one of the older girls took charge when teaching games. She truly took the lead and I was happy to see how well she led the group and made sure everyone had a good time. After such a great first experience, let’s just say that I cannot wait until next time.
Maja Lindmark; Intern, from Gothenburg University-Sweden
After spending three weeks at Wells of Hope Ministries, it was finally time for me to meet the children for the first time, which was February 11th. I really enjoyed the car ride to school, it was so nice to get away from the city and see some nature. When arriving at Junior School and stepping out of the car, I was almost overwhelmed by how peaceful and scenic the place was with its big green fields and beautiful views. The children were at their classes, so at first we got a tour around the school area. After the tour, we sat in the shadow resting for a bit when I suddenly heard some children’s voices. All the children were on their way out of their classroom heading towards us and I got so excited. Some of them approached us immediately, while others were a bit shy. I and my friend and colleague Maja were very welcomed by the children and the staff. Some of the children asked us a few questions, especially questions about Sweden as it is our homeland. I am very much looking forward meeting them soon again!
After Junior School, we headed for High School to have our first counselling session. Honestly, I was a bit more nervous to meet the older students than the young ones. But it turned out I had no reason to be nervous, they were also so welcoming. The theme for counselling was Bonding, which felt like a suitable topic for our first meeting with the students and also for being the first counselling of the term.
The students were very active and engaged during the counselling, I hope all of them had a really good time. I sure did!
We also did some activities that turned out well, we shared many good laughs together.
I feel very grateful to be treated this well by both colleagues and students. With a start as good as this, I am more than happy that I got the opportunity to do my internship as a Social Work student at Wells of Hope.
Compiled by Frida Kindblom, Social Work student at Gothenburg University-Sweden
Tuesday , February 11th was the first time that I went to visit the schools. The first weeks have been spent planning and getting to know the organisation. As a social work student, I was thrilled to get to meet the people who we will be working with as part of our internship. Therefore to finally get to see the schools and all the children was very exciting to me. I was even excited to see some other areas other than the inner city of Kampala. It was planned that we first visit the Junior School just to get to see the surroundings and to get introduced to the children for the first time. I think it was a good thing that the children got to know Frida’s and my face before the first counselling with them this week. The children seemed happy to say hello and ask us some questions and then they went back to class.
In the afternoon we took off to the High School where we were having our first counselling session with the theme bonding. I have to say I felt a little nervous before getting there. I have earlier worked with younger kids but I am not as used to dealing with teenagers. Before going to the High School we had heard that the students sometimes are difficult the first time you meet. That they might be timid and reserved. Fortunately, we found the High School students to be very welcoming, friendly and attentive to us which made the nervousness go away. Everybody participated in our planned activities and most of them seemed to enjoy it. The theme for the counselling session was bonding. The children had lots of reflective thoughts and ideas about bonding and so sharing information with each other was a joy. We laughed a lot during the activities and I was very happy that things were working out so well for us during our first interaction.
All in all, the first school visit was very educational for me as many thoughts of self improvement popped up. It was also great fun! I am happy to have met the children and I am looking very much forward to spending more time getting to know and learn from them.
Compiled by: Maja Lindmark, Social Work student at University of Gothenburg-Sweden.