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Shari Cohen

sharicohen@hotmail.com

 

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Opportunities in Unexpected Places

November 6, 2015

As I left my house for the bus to the Naivasha C4D Learning Lab, I thought to myself, "this is too huge a task for me, representing the Interreligious Council of Kenya for two weeks with senior and very experienced persons, yet I am so young in my profession, how will I cope up?" 

 

I decided that I would always listen, listen, and do more listening. I had lots of ways to justify my lack of speaking during the first day of the Learning Lab:

 

* I was the newest and youngest member of the group

* I didn't have much experience

* Other people seemed to have more to say

* I wasn't sure if I had anything of value to add

 

And the blockbuster of it all, I was shy!!!  If there was anyone who was keen to notice, I was quiet, reserved and introverted on Day One.  Actually, Caroline ponted that out to me, that she only got to hear my voice on Day Two of the Learning Lab!

 

So, what did I do on Day One?

 

I observed. I observed everyone. I monitored interaction with and between myself and other  people, and I noticed that everyone had something to bring to the table of conversation.

 

We are all in different places. We all have different backgrounds. We all have different perceptions. But there is a uniquess in all of us, and we have something to add to the table.  This made me realize that:

 

* There is no right or wrong answer!

* If you put it in your mind, you will do it.

* You can express yourself and be heard!

 

Today, I am working to broaden my level of participation and conversation within the group settings.  When a good conversation occurs, it's a back and forth experience. It's not dominated by a few, and it's inclusive and inviting to everyone. I want to be part of that conversation!

 

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