Saturday, September 7, 2013

AYP Research Mission Entry Four (July 20, 2013) Shine Center DAY!

Entry Four (July 20, 2013) Shine Center DAY!

 Another beautiful day in Nairobi, Kenya. We started with breakfast at 8:30 AM. Today we got to sleep in a little because we were meeting the AYP community at the Shine Center (see blog one) and taking a community class. The class was taught by Irene and a Baptiste teacher from Toronto. It was a bit hectic getting us all rallied and into the car and ALL (yikes- more to come here) the materials we needed for the day. You see, after the class we were doing Phase II with the AYP teachers and Phase I with the yoga students who attend class at the Shine Center on Community Class Day. This means- a lot of materials.
 We packed the cars and the drivers took us to the Shine Center for class. We arrived and found our spots among the over 150 other yogis there to take the class. The whole AYP team was present and ready to go. This included Paige, Billy, and Penzi (i.e., super adorable baby). The reading for the class came from Melody Beattie’s Journey to the Heart. It was read by no other than our own Nan! The reading was about life being like a roller coaster and that we all have this choice to either cling in fear and react or hold up our hands and laugh and scream and feel what we feel—I know that is what I heard. It was perfect for our trip and how we were feeling this morning. There were participants who stood up and generated their feelings about the reading and we all began class inspired.

Carla and Irene

 Maybe it was the jet lag or maybe the class was hard—but the class was hard  ! We worked on half planks and 100 bicycles, and boat poses, and leg drops and lifts and lots more—all with fire in our bellies and passion in our hearts. After class there were announcements and sharing. Paige spoke to her gratitude and appreciation for the community. The teachers asked anyone for whom this was a first-time Shine Center practice to stand up, introduce themselves, and share. Several people stood up and shared; it was so fun to hear what they had to say about practicing with AYP.
 Then Nan stood up and talked about our research project and to thank Musa for the amazing assist all class (at the shine center you can have a private assistant for the whole class). She asked the members of the research team to stand up and introduce ourselves and share. We created interest in our study and asked the students to stay after lunch and be a part our study. The last person to stand was Susan. She shared her excitement about being Africa and being at the Shine Center. It was then that Paige acknowledged Susan in front of the 150 or more students in the room. She thanked Susan for being the first person to support a teacher from AYP to go to training (i.e. Moses). She thanked Susan for all of her support over the years and for being as wonderful as we all know she is. It was so moving to hear this and see a leader in our community acknowledged as a leader in this international program.
 After class, we ate lunch and began to prepare for the Phase I for the students and Phase II for the AYP Teachers. You may recall that in Phase II the participants sort all of the items that were generated from the discussion (i.e., 93) into piles that are meaningful to them. Then, they rate the items in terms of importance- or how important that the particular items are to the them. This is easily an hour-long process. As we opened the suitcases we realized that the packets for Phase II were in one of our rooms and not in the suitcases we had with us. In a split second, Susan and Steve grabbed a driver and headed back to Gracia Gardens to pick up the materials. Nairobi traffic is nothing short of astonishing and obstacle creating. It took them almost an hour to get to our hotel and then only about 20 minutes to get back. The teachers were soooo patient waiting for these materials to be delivered and still completed the Phase II process with smiles. It was wonderful.
 While this was happening, half of the team was in the main room working on Phase I with the students. The beauty of this research is that it is beautiful. The words expressed by the students were inspiring, heart-felt, and full of truth. After we finished, two students came up to our team members and said they wanted to express how meaningful they found the process to be to them and that they were inspired by the words of the other yoga students.
 Once we wrapped up our work, it was time to go to the market and then out to dinner. The market was lively and overwhelming. There was blanket after blanket filled with crafts and artwork. The market was filled potential customers and very aggressive sales people and what were called “brokers.” We were accompanied by our research assistants from AYP Kenya– thank goodness. Joyce, Wanji, Musa, Jamo, Louise, and Irene were fearless and bargained well. I don’t know how people figure the market out without help and support from people that know what they are doing. I bought Chloe’s baby elephant (we got Maya one too) and the cutest pair of flip-flops. I will post photos on Facebook as soon as I can get Internet access on my phone (the Wi-Fi is not stable here).
 The dinner was at- believe it or not- the most amazing Italian restaurant right by Gracia Gardens. The research team (Kenya and US) shared a meal with Rob from the UK (Carla’s Level 3 roommates brother who was in town and stopped at the Shine Center to take a class). Carla joined us later because she and Jamo went to go see Jamo’s students dance (which Carla said was beautiful). Dinner was so fun. Lots of laughs and learning. A few of the team members are still there as a write : )
 I end the day with my thanks. I give thanks to the AYP Research Assistants, the AYP teachers who were so very patient today, and to the research team. Tomorrow Phase I for the students continues. And the good news is that it is our sleep in day.

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