The three of us – Fatima, Uri and Quim – meet at Barcelona airport headed towards Birmingham. After a some quite funny episodes, typical of distracted people, at night we managed to arrive to the Asha Centre, where we joined Marta: the team of FCV was finally reunited.
You need to have been there in order to understand the Asha Centre. It’s probably a unique place in the world. After riding on a highway towards Wales for some kilometres, you have to take a one-lane road that gets you into a landscape made of hills, woods and green fields. And there, surrounded by a lush wilderness there is a house that was built to be a ammunitions arms factory, and that now has been converted in centre of peace, education and harmony.
The following day the course finally started. It was a sunny and spring-like morning, where we met all the participants: 30 people coming from the United Kingdom, Croatia, Macedobia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Italy. Lucie, our coordinator during the whole project, explained us the program and how the training worked, and she made one thing clear: the Asha Centre was our home and every door and every space were opened to us. The first night ended with the intercultural dinner, where all the participants prepared some dishes typical of their country, along with music and a lot of fun.
Every morning started with the famous energizer, some kind of game that woke you up – and made you feel less self-conscious – early in the morning. Afterwards, we would go to a very special room: a building where the walls and the ceiling were made of crystal, in permanent visual contact with nature. There we worked on various aspects of coaching, young people and emotional intelligence. We did it in a partcipative way, working in groups, through theatre and so on. In addition, one day came to visit us the coach Miguel Deal, who told us his interesting personal history.
We also had the time to visit the surroundings. We walked through the Forest of Dean, the natural reserve where Tolkien got the inspiration to write “The Lord of the Rings”; we visited Gloucester and its cathedral, famous for the novel; the Grange, a space where people with special need can feel integrated… and, of course, we enjoyed a break in the local pub, with beer and live music!
Every day we learned something new: about one self, about others, about coaching and psychology in general. We discovered the value of knowing yourself, the importance of being able to listen in order to help and the benefits of being part of a united and participatory community.
And it’s obvious that in the Asha Centre the community is more alive than in any other place: the workers, the volunteers… they all collaborate in harmony and with good vibes that are transmitted so quickly. They prepared all the activities and services with such care and dedication and a special mention goes to the food: delicious!
But probably, the thing that we want to emphasize is what happened with the group. We enjoyed meaningful conversations, funny moments, imitations, songs, movies… in such a way that in just seven they we knitted a very nice friendship and good vibes with all the group, something that could hardly be repeated in any other context.
The days passed so fast… too fast. And soon arrived the day when we had to leave. And we felt that Lucie was actually right: we were leaving a place that already felt like home. And even though we were a little sad and the day started in a very British way – it was grey and it was raining – the good mood soon took over, because we were leaving with a bag full of new friendships, experiences and knowledge!
Thanks to Asha Centre and Fundació Catalunya Voluntària for this opportunity!
Fatima, Uri, Quim i Marta.