It has been quite the first few days back to civilization. After the intense yet incredible week at the Art of Living Ashram and our three days of silence, it has been a bit of a shift going into work mode. For those of you who have been following us on facebook, twitter and this blog have seen that we have been extremely busy attending talks, workshops and panels around Ottawa hearing from some inspiring members of the international development and NGO community. For those of you who want to see these talks we have been live-streaming some and then archiving the video. As well, you can register to attend our talks in person and meet with the Recrear team!
Although Kevin and the rest of the media team keep you up to date on these wonderful events what you haven’t seen is the countless hours around these talks. This is why I have decided to fill you in on some of the exciting and exhausting behind the scenes of a day in RecrearMagnify!
Each day basically starts the same. Those of us lucky enough to be at the hostel for 7:30 gather together for morning Kryia (a technique we learned in YES+/YES++) to start our day at peace and energized! This is also when the chaos occurs of everyone trying to get ready to leave for our morning sessions. The guys are getting dressed while girls find any reflective surface available to complete their morning routines. At this point those of us not at the hostel first thing have arrived and we are ready to go.
Depending the location of our session, we start our walk downtown or fight over who is in the soccer mom van vs who gets to ride in Nolan’s 1965 Pontiac Parisienne. In the morning briefing, we discuss who the speakers are, what they will be discussing, key questions we should ask this person to help us as we move forward with Recrear. This lasts the entire car ride and into elevators until we sit down to start (and sometimes after). As we listen and engage with the speakers we have Gillian or Valerie keeping vigorous notes, others writing questions, Valerie or myself taking pictures, Kevin being amazing at keeping the social media updated instantly and Komal sending out the live-stream (we are maximizing our capacity at all times as you can see). After we finish one session and have had time to mingle and ask more questions of our guests before we gather for lunch and have a short debrief. We then prepare for the next session (setting up rooms or transporting ourselves across Ottawa) and start that process again.
Once we have made it through either two or three sessions of the day (around 10 hours) we do a massive daily overview. This tends to be an extremely interesting part of our day because this is where the ideas, questions, fears and exhaustion all come out! Now this is not the quick 10 minute overview you may all be thinking. We tend to overview anywhere from 1-4 hours! It will travel with us from our session location, to dinner (around 8:30 to accommodate for Ramadan). By the time we are done overviewing we have been going for around 14 hours. Although this part can be intense Nouha keeps us in check!! I love that each person gets as much or as little time as they want, UNINTERUPTED for any reason to speak their mind on the sessions or how they are feeling about anything that day. We try to always keep each others feelings at bay in order to allow people the space they need to express (or not) just what is in their mind! This is something that was really stressed in our YES+ course. I have to admit though, there are times when this is not easy, yet those times are the ones that we really remember what we learned about respect , keep growing as a team and remember why we are all here.
One of my favourite debriefing moments was actually on Monday. We were sitting outside in a circle in the Quad at Carleton University just openly and honestly sharing our ideas. It was so exciting to just hear everyones thoughts and see the vision of Recrear becoming even more real right there. I remember just looking around at everyone as the sun set thinking this is it, we have a NGO that hopefully can be the next big thing, the next Amnesty or Oxfam!
It is only after these 14 hours that we start to unwind and by one or two am head to our respective beds to try to rejuvenate our minds for another full day.
Now as you can see it is a constant and full schedule (and that was just an overview), however that doesn’t mean that we do not have plenty of time to do absolutely ridiculous things, have crazy conversations or random adventures. In fact with Gioel, Sifa, James, Ryan and bigfoot err.. Mitch we are sure to be laughing quite a lot. Not only that but Kirsten and Aleksandra(Sasha) are always filled with inspiring things to say to keep the mood light and fun. I can say I am honestly so happy to have been spending so much time with this amazing group of people and I can’t wait to continue spending 14-18 hours a day of my next week and a half with each and every one of them!