HOLDING HANDS TOGETHER
A SENSE OF BELONGING
Circle Kubatana Tose - Holding Hands Together
After Friendship Bench clients have had their one-on-one sessions with a Community Health Worker they are invited to join Circle Kubatana Tose. These are peer led groups that provide clients with ongoing support. A circle is a safe space for people to come and share how they are coping with life or how they feel when they aren't coping with life.
Circles vary in size, age, gender, religion and mental health condition of the participants. When groups meet they are there for a common cause; and that is mental health recovery and support. Clients join the groups and although they start with a 'standard operating procedure' eventually they develop it to suit themselves, they unanimously agree on the time and date to meet, whether they like to open in prayer or prefer a song. It's about getting the people to take ownership and learn group decision making skills.
What we do during CKT
We have found, and research has proven, that it is important to listen to others' experiences and to share your own experiences as part of the recovery journey. There is so much wisdom to be learnt and passed on in lived experiences. When someone shares their problems and how they have overcome them or are managing to cope with them, it serves as hope for a peer who may be going through a similar experience but cannot see that it is possible to get through. Whether that is an HIV positive diagnosis, divorce, a lost child or depression, it helps to connect to someone who understands and who you can relate to. This bring a strong feeling of connection and belonging.
At the weekly meetings, a talking piece goes around which gives people time to share their personal experience without being interrupted and to indicate to the others in the circle that there should be a respectful silence so that the sharing person feels heard and their presence is acknowledged. What is said in a circle stays in the circle, confidentiality is stressed.
Behavioural activation is extremely important for a persons recovery from any common mental health condition. During CKT clients learn to crochet items from recycle plastic, such as bags, baskets, or purses. They are then encourage to sell the items created from their newly found skill as a form of income-generation. Besides being a form of income it is also found that keeping busy, having purpose and feeling productive helps clients minds become more peaceful, they say when they crochet they 'don't think too much'. This is ideal for what we are working on, which is 'kufungisisa'- thinking too much.
Imagine you could grow, pick, eat and sell produce that will nourish, sustain and support you & your family... Some thriving CKT groups got permaculture training and the clients in these trainings as well as the Grandmothers have gone on to carry the knowledge to other CKT groups and to their home communities.
We believe problems can be fixed in gardens.
Other CKT groups have gone on to learn to make and sell marmalade, invested in a group peanut processing machine which they then use to make and sell peanut butter, built bread ovens, used recycled bottle tops and material to make placemats, and even established savings clubs. No matter the activity the groups have met, shared what's been going on in their lives, listened to each other and provided a safe place to connect and feel a sense of belonging.
"We use our hands to support each others courage and hope, we use our hands to clap, to drum, to crochet and to hold the talking piece that provides the ground to share our struggles and in so doing reach out to others. In our hands we help the environment and make an income for our families, our hands are our tools and they are forever working. We believe that Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth, we work daily to bring spiritual wealth to our minds and financial wealth to our families."
ZeeBags Group, Harare Hospital