Saturday, 6 February 2010

Success, failure and raclette at KT

This afternoon we took the young people from KT to the Red cross and red crescent museum in Geneva. I'm always amazed at how few of the local French school children visit this museum which is close by but in another country. Each time I go there the exhibits speak powerfully as do the volunteer guides, who talk with passion and conviction about the Red Cross movement and its history.
2010 marks 100 years since Henri Dunant, the founder, died and there will be several events marking that later in the year. Our guide today underlined how Dunant could in many ways be judged not to have been a success in his own time. His business ventures and attempts at banking failed, he had to go into exile, yet he was awarded the very first Nobel Peace prize.
Later after we returned to Ferney and drank tea we reflected with the young people on their dreams, what happiness meant for them, what success might mean. This led us to talk about God's unconditional love for us, to think about our future in different ways. Much of what was shared was moving and simply truthful. I like working with adolescents. Then I dared to get them to express some of what they had experienced in prayers for those suffering from war, disaster and poverty and then also for themselves, this was an important exercise in taking our own needs and desires seriously and offering them to God. Sounds a bit pious and frontal maybe but it somehow just seemed to flow and not be forced at all. I'll post their prayers to the KT blog tomorrow.
Then their parents and brothers and sisters arrived and the apéro hour began as we prepared raclette and people got to know one another. It was great to see these young teenagers interacting with their families, teasing and being teased, caring for their younger brothers and sisters. It was also an important exercise in community building and fun on a Saturday evening. The French are brilliant at turning a simple meal into a feast with minimum fuss and people seemed genuinely interested in getting to know one another. Even in the digital age you can't beat ordinary human interaction. Needless to say the raclette was fabulous, but then it's one of those meals that can't really go wrong.