As a dedicated organic mountain farmer, mother of four children, b|u|s graduate and in the meantime a trainer for over 20 years, a big dream became reality for me: in Lienz/East Tyrol, with my youngest a breastfeeding child, I was searching together with colleagues for alternative ways to live out my vision. Even though there were some detours rich in experiences along the way, ultimately I ended up where I may have subconsciously always wanted to be. And this is not a specific place, it is the activity involving direct encounters with people from different religions, ways of life, views and cultures.
In exchanges I have with farmers whom I am able to train as b|u|s trainers, I am the one who learns the most! It is a great joy for me to literally plant seeds in soil that has already been prepared by local organisations and to watch the seeds sprout several times. In a very short time, trainees apply the contents and methods of the international b|u|s courses and adopt the underlying attitude in their (often challenging) everyday lives. This enables them to stand in front of a group of farmers from their regions feeling self-confident and ready to motivate and to pass on their newly acquired knowledge in a participatory and individual manner and in AHA style.
After the theoretical and practical training, I am able to evaluate the future trainers in their surroundings and am always amazed at their great commitment and personal development. In doing so, trainers not only enhance their own professional and social skills, but also the self-confidence of course participants. With practical examples and a sound feeling for the needs of the local population, it is possible in the vast majority of cases to open up new perspectives so that concrete opportunities in agribusiness can be identified.
However, these courses are much more than just a way to increase income, they also facilitate livelihoods in diverse communities through a positive and solution-oriented mindset. It would go beyond the scope of this report to list the experiences of my four trips to Tanzania and one trip to India last year. However, I would like to share a few highlights and insights with you and yours on a representative basis and without judgment:
- The hospitality of the family of a trainer who learned to read and write thanks to b|u|s
- The contemplative training session on a hill above a meditation centre in the heart of India
- The spontaneous songs, dances and clapping after interventions during the ToT and during farmer training
- The brief glances in the round, which were returned with beaming smiles or thumbs-up
- The valuable conversations on the sidelines of the training, sometimes also as (life) coaches
- The struggle to make the right decision on admission and uplifting words for feedback
- Exchanges with local master trainers who go beyond the call of duty
- Prayer at the beginning and end of the seminar and observance of prayer times in the daily routine
- The highly concentrated work even on weekends with discussions on understanding “meanings”
- Indulgence of my “kidogo Kiswahili” knowledge and understanding from the heart
- The liberating humour to better cope with particular people or situations
- Creativity in finding simple solutions for seemingly complex concerns and contexts
- The long wait and adapting schedules to realise that somehow everything will work out
- Amazing trust in the sense of what is happening (or not happening) at that moment
- The elaborate and gesture-rich explanations of culturally specific customs
- The goosebump moments while watching or being transported into that special “WE”-feeling.
- Palpable exuberance and joie de vivre, especially after successfully awarding certificates
- The flexibility and composure of the coordinators, who also act as translators, facilitators, motivators, mediators, assessors, taxi drivers and tour guides, going far beyond the call of duty
- Selecting the best images to reflect not only the facts but also the moods of the assignment
- The joy of having a private project to offer seminars and meeting opportunities in a harmonious ambience on the east coast of Zanzibar for people of all nations.
I think that I have experienced pretty much the full range of emotions before, during, and after my assignments, and I am richly blessed as a result! The feeling of gratitude and connectedness is the most pronounced and I wish for everyone to recognise their personal “purpose”, the added value in doing and BEING and for them to actively shape their lives and the future of their private and professional entourage!
From the bottom of my heart I THANK all those who accompany me in the AHA, the partners in the countries, the trainers, the farmers and, last but not least, the many people along the way who give me the opportunity to make a small contribution in order to create something of SENSE and VALUE with the aim of drawing strength from it to take individual steps towards the realisation of one’s own dreams and visions!
In line with the motto “There isn’t one path for everyone, but there is a path for everyone”, I like to be on the path to and with the people entrusted to me in order to realise sustainable projects by people for people, travelling in the direction of a good life, whatever that may mean for each individual – also here in Europe.
May we succeed together, especially at Christmas, in recognising the light in others and in making the world brighter, freer, more joyful and more colourful thanks to our natural radiance!
All the best and God’s blessing,
Barbara Pichler, AHA Master Trainer
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