In Kampala, Uganda I attended a week-long seminar on Member Care while Managing Crises, essentially how to take care of my teammates emotionally as well as physically. Led by a group called the Mobile Member Care Team, the majority of participants serve with different organizations working in the Democratic Republic of Congo or South Sudan, two of the most troubled countries in Africa.
The conference felt like a throwback to my college days. We started sessions at 8:00am and didn’t end until 6:00pm with two short breaks and an hour for lunch. Evenings were free time except we usually had about 30 pages of reading and another 20-30 pages that we needed to familiarize ourselves with for discussion the following day. In addition we had questions to think about and work through.
Although much of the information wasn’t new to me, I found the group projects, discussions and hands-on application of the material helpful in understanding how others may wrestle with crises. My personality “rolls with the punches” and is pretty even-keeled. Generally I don’t feel stressed nor do I get easily overwhelmed when facing crises. This is both good for managing emergencies and bad when trying to understand why others may feel differently.
Everyone faces crises in their lives that cause stress, whether big ones like evacuations during war or severe illness to smaller losses like moving away or losing personal things. Now I have more tools to evaluate stress levels as well as identify symptoms of people going through and processing trauma. I’ve walked away with a better awareness of why people feel the way they do, how to empathize and how to help them process events in a positive and productive manner.
Written by Bear