We received this lovely testimonial from Kathleen, who worked in Cambodia for VSO and came to Comhlámh’s most recent Coming Home Weekend. Have a read. Details of our upcoming Coming Home Weekend are below.
My name is Kathleen and I spent over 19 months working for VSO in Cambodia. I came back to Ireland at the beginning of October 2015. Approximately six weeks after returning VSO informed me about a Coming Home Weekend organized by Comhlamh. The participants at such weekends are people who have worked with different National/International NGO’s in developing countries around the world.
I was a little sceptical of what I would have considered “debriefing sessions/weekends”. Given my age (late 40’s) I figured I was well “equipped” with all the necessary re-orientation skills required to readjust back into the Western lifestyle. Being totally blunt and arrogant I thought I had more to give as opposed to get from such a weekend. However I spoke to some the returned VSO workers who had participated in previous Comhlamh Coming Home Weekends and they highly recommended attending. This coupled with the fact that I was not doing anything that weekend I decided to sign up.
To my surprise my preconceived ideas were totally unjustified.
Many factors contributed to the success of the weekend – location, meeting room facilities, high standard of accommodation, excellent breakfast lunches and dinners -a great environment. However I personally believe that the key to the overall success were the facilitators. They facilitated the weekend/sessions in manner that encouraged all participants to naturally participate. Issues and challenges of commonality on reorientation slowly emerged over the two days and constructive/positive ideas on how these could be addressed were discussed. I am not saying that answers were readily identified for all issues and challenges but sometimes recognizing that these may surface is in itself part of the solution going forward.
As I have participated only in one Home Coming Weekend, I am not sure if the following is the norm but a very positive bond was created amongst the participants and I met people on that weekend who I continue to communicate with. Over the coming months knowing that there is a support network to tap into in the readjustment journey is very comforting.
To be quite honest, contrary to what I originally thought would happen, I feel I gained much more from the weekend than I contributed!!!
To register for this next Coming Home Weekend click here.