I have always had this thought, just like most people do, that I know myself really well. I was mistakenly considering myself to be my own best friend. If I was to choose of my life-partner, I would have always considered the feature of sharing the same opinions as the most important criterion for that choice. However, all this was remodified after the programme i.e., I am happy to have friends who share different opinions.
My life here in UK is divided to pre-Encompass and post-Encompass experience. I can never deny the new changes that have happened to me since I moved from Palestine to England in September 2015. Still, the experience I had from joining the Journey of Understanding are richer. I had the chance to meet people from different backgrounds, religions, believes, countries, nationalities, and ideologies; people of various complexions, interests, hobbies, virtues and life priorities. I was privileged in having the greater chance to meet ME.
It was such a very intense programme, yet I enjoyed every single moment there with everybody. I discovered a new me, new things to love and came to well-know my challenge capacity. I am proud to say that I won in my all challenges to myself and that’s almost the best part of it. Coming to know that I was underestimating my skills, abilities and spirits was an achievement itself; I was just trying to fit myself within some hypothetical borders I created myself.
This programme came to break borders to release my soul. I have achieved a lot on all levels. Personally, I feel more encouraged and active after attending the programme, I feel younger in spirit; I didn’t stop smiling nor did I cease to be positive. I was taught to think positively in the programme. This had a collective effect; I became a better member within teams, I am now more caring for others, more understanding, more loving and more kind-mothering (I liked it how some participants chose this ‘mothering’ for me even if it started just like a joke).
I believe I can say so much more about my trip with Encompass Trust and I will never feel bored or fed up with talking about it. I am very grateful for everybody who was there and paved the path for this. Thanks to our coordinator, Karen and the facilitators, Lucy, Helen, Sahdia, and Aisha. Thanks to all the participants, my family and to the Plas Gwynant instructors and staff. Finally, a big thank to ME for being able to cope with the dull, normal life again after leaving the fruitful programme with a mind full of memories.
Sharaf, Palestine, JoU February 2016