Excellent CHE Vision Seminar

The vision/training seminar for CHE (Community Health Evangelism) last week went very well. All the 22 participants fully engaged with the material and the teaching style. In our experience in Congo we have only seen and used the common didactic teaching so we were not sure how the learner-centered, participatory, self-discovery method would go. We found that everyone engaged very well.

President Sanguma leading a lesson

For every lesson the group was broken up into small groups of difference sizes so with different people. This got everyone involved, stimulated discussion and reduced domination by a few individuals. The role-plays to start the lessons were outstanding.

VP Elenga's role-play

See the photo to the left of Vice President Elenga acting out breaking his leg. The Congolese engaged much more with the roles than we had done as Americans when we went through the training. We laughed and laughed. Their energetic participation worked to really focus the subject of the lesson

Everything was done in Lingala, the local trade language. We had worked hard to have lessons translated and typed in Lingala and about 75% were completed. We found, though, that at times the translator was too literal with his translation. As a result we would often refer to the French or English versions to clearly understand things. Some of this need came because the translator would use Lingala words we didn’t know. It was also due to the more precise language that was needed to describe concepts and Lingala just does not have that capacity. So we will have to have someone go over the Lingala translations to make them more readable and appropriate.

Some of the lesson topics over the 4 days were:

Small Group: Brigitte, Mawe, Sanguma

· Worldview and development
· What is community?
· What is health, holistically (mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and social) ?
· CHE principles and practices
· The role of the church in society
· The integration of the spiritual and physical
· Assessing the needs and resources of the community
· The CHE learning model which is learner centered, problem oriented, self-discovery, action oriented, and spirit guided

During the last day we spent some time evaluating the week together and talking about the next steps. We asked the participants to share some of the concepts they learned. Here are some of their answers:
“I was encouraged with reading the many verses that speak of the integration between physical and spiritual aspects of a person.”
“I was pleased to learn that CHE puts the accent on the holistic dimension of the person in a community.
“I learned about holistic health which encompasses all the areas of life to improve the conditions of life in the community. I learned about working together and accepting the input of all the participants.”

Group Results

We know that one next step is a 2-day vision seminar for the enlarged church administrative council when they meet in late November. Beyond that the next steps are not entirely clear. We ask for prayer for wisdom as we engage with the leadership about what is next and what role we should have.

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