The session that we had with Mrs. Prabha made me very cognizant of the fact that in peace building self care is extremely important  because of how sometimes we do not even realize, even after we have given ourselves the time to think and get the closure we need to heal, that we have overcome the intensity of emotions that we have felt.

I was surprised on learning the various ways in which people were effected by the back to back experiences of going to a prison and then the police station lead to an intense build of emotions for people to have to deal with.  When I heard Vanina talk to Kelly about her experience growing up being half black and half Bulgarian and the fear that she lives everyday with simply because of her father’s skin color, my understanding of inherent bias and the ongoing police brutality in the country became very real. I have many black friends and it is a fear that all of them have to live with and it is just not fair.

When I went back that day, I felt that on reflecting on the intensity of emotions and hearing about what the different members of the group took from our experiences and provided me with a sense of understanding as to what people took away from not only the program but also got to learn about them better.  However I felt very uncomfortable being in the session because I did not want to be the one to claim that I knew where they were coming from and hence I use the word uncomfortable because I did not know how to relate to the intensity of emotions people were feeling.  I was affected by the experiences, but I did not have personal instances to connect the dots and that is what made me feel severely out of place, but at the same time provided for a deeper understanding of how the problems that sometimes seem so distant from you are ones that your close friends might be affected by.

As a part of the  Kingian nonviolence group activity we did the value exercise which opened by eyes to how similar we are as a group, and especially in light of what we learnt from each other once Pushpa made us do the 3 Things you like and 3 Things you want to change in the group- it served as a great activity to realize that even though we had our differences as a group and thought that there were a lot of things that need to have been improved, it was heartening to see that people, because of the values that we shared, had a lot more in common despite of the diversity. It made me more aware of the things that I take for granted in the ones that I did not put down in my top five values, and also gave me the space to hear about what and why people put the values that they thought were important to them.