And so continues the first Kigali, Rwanda DTS (Discipleship Training School) of 2013. We have 14 students, all told, with a good international blend. Including staff, this school represents the countries of Rwanda, Canada, Germany, Holland, Burundi, and the United States.
One thing I (Michael) have really enjoyed about DTS is the opportunity for team building exercises that require teamwork, communication, and persistence. I never used to like these occasions and understood their usefulness even less; being put into potentially awkward circumstances with a contrived puzzle wasn’t my idea of a good time. However, after being able to learn from some great team building teachers, learning how to observe more capably, (and maybe even growing up a little bit), I’ve come to see these times as helpful for understanding how I relate to others and vice versa.
That said, we have had two separate opportunities for team building. We led one ourselves in the first week to kind of break the ice among all the new arrivals.Our first game was about communication and trust. There was an obstacle course on the lawn and the teams had to each walk through it while blindfolded with only their teammates’ voices/noises to direct them.
Our second day of team building was held the second-last week of lectures and was led by Racheal Komant, who is an insightful teacher and leader! She gave us her afternoon and focused on teaching us about how to achieve real unity as a team. She led us through four games in which the goals and solutions were open ended enough to draw out many differing responses from the students. For example, while travelling from the classroom to the game site, all 20 of us had to keep a beachball in the air the entire time. Then, halfway to our destination, Racheal began keeping count of hits before the ball touched the ground. This created more of an air of competition and actually caused us to try harder with varying degrees of success. Upon reaching our destination Racheal led us in a dialogue about the definition of success. Some found ourselves successful in having fun, beating our previous beachball-in-the-air record, communicating while walking/beachball tossing… while others felt we hadn’t succeeded; failing to keep the ball in the air the whole time, not beating our record more thoroughly, and even some poor attitudes shown in body posture/comments mid-exercise. Even though we hadn’t expected to have even started the course yet, we had learned a lot about ourselves as a group.
A second exercise was having a group of four all grab, with both hands, one rope tied into a circle. With eyes closed, they had to form this rope into a square and place it on the floor as a square. It required much communication and proved to reveal which of us were perfectionists, which were organizers/directors, and which were relaxed, having fun, and okay with an adequate square. The conflict, we found, was when those personalities were mixed up together in one group with the relaxed and the perfectionists having to come to some sort of resolution!
I appreciated the questions and conclusions the students arrived at during the discussions following these exercises. They seemed to appreciate many of the reasons for conflict that arise in any community and how they can respond in a healthy way. I certainly enjoyed our team building times and being able to play together while learning these lessons was a lot of fun!