When: July 29 to August 29, 2022
Where: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Institution: The Strivers Network
Facilitator: Avanthika Pulijala, and Mehrin Faisal
Sessions: 10 meetings (2 hours each)
We started off with a rigorous yet super fun 5-day training with Pre-Texts wizards, Professor Doris Sommer and Justin Hu. I loved how diverse our training group was and I thoroughly enjoyed the cultural exchange. Initially, I had a tough time keeping up with the pace of the training for instance, I was taking down notes instead of doodling when Justin read to us and took some time to understand the protocol. But this started changing. Questioning the text has now made me approach it in different ways. After the Soundtrack activity, I instantly knew that I was going to use it during my facilitation. I was one of the facilitators during the training and it definitely started off with a few hiccups here and there. But, Doris, Justin and the entire team were really patient with me. During every session, there was space to ask questions and seek recommendations. Tangents and leaves were my favorite part. I enjoyed the discussion about our reasoning for the choice of our tangents/leaves and its connection to the text. Not only did I reflect on what I did, but it also gave me an insight into others’ reflections. Also, I observed how to time the sessions and to always ask others if they were prepared. I could see the shift from being a participant to being a facilitator. And this was all thanks to Doris and Justin. I envisioned our sessions to be similar to our training sessions.
As a facilitator, I had the best time with Mehrin, Sunera and the most incredible Strivers! They truly brought out the best in me. I had an absolute blast working with Mehrin and I strongly believe we made an awesome team. She is kind, compassionate and extremely delightful. Sunera’s stomach tickling wit and his precision when it comes to logistics made this a successful and wholesome experience. Our Strivers caught us off guard with their maturity and intelligence. Zoom made it a little challenging to encourage everybody to speak up. Power cuts were rampant too. But this did not limit our Strivers one bit. Almost all of them managed to attend the entire program. We created a beautiful bond throughout and started enjoying each other’s company. We started getting to know each other more through our quirky questions, tangent discussions and reflections. It was such a heartwarming learning experience!