Through engaging and interactive talks, presentations, and workshops, we brought COMPASSION IT’s message to well over 500 individuals in Gaborone, Botswana!
Top 10 Highlights (and favorite images)
1 – Sharing COMPASSION IT with Hundreds of Schoolchildren
I led COMPASSION IT lessons in two primary schools, and I LOVED it when these adorable children serenaded us (in both schools)! (Hopefully I can add the videos of them singing to our YouTube channel. Stay tuned!)
We provided the blue and black Botswana version of the COMPASSION IT wristband to students, and I can’t wait to hear how daily ‘compassioning it’ affects the kids, their schools, and their communities.
2 – Leading Two Compassion Cultivation Workshops
My co-teacher, Susan Knier, and I led two-day workshops for two separate audiences. The Botswana Ministry of Health sponsored our first workshop, and we taught compassion-for-others and self-compassion cultivation practices to 40+ healthcare workers.
We led the second workshop for 90 people, including social workers, police officers, orphanage house mothers, teachers, principals, NGO workers, and others.
Participants filled out evaluation forms, and a few take-aways include:
“An enlarged heart with space for everybody.”
“Observing the present moment, the people around, and realizing they are Just Like Me.”
“I feel I am always being compassionate to people but never to myself. This often leads to stress and burnout. I must show compassion for myself.”
3 – Presenting at Botho University
I shared the story and impact of COMPASSION IT with college students, and Susan led them through a few compassion visualization exercises. I was shocked to see that one of the students already had a COMPASSION IT wristband, and he told me he never takes it off!
4 – Hugging Children at Childline Orphanage
Some of our workshop participants worked as housemothers at Childline orphanages, and we wanted to get a glimpse of the kind of work they do. My heart melted as I played with, sang with, and hugged these beautiful children.
5 – Getting to Know Botho Movement Members
Magdalena Whoolery, the founder of the Botho (compassion) Movement, brought COMPASSION IT to Botswana. She and her stellar team are making compassion a priority in this country, and I’m inspired by all that they’ve accomplished in a short amount of time! They’ve created a buzz with government officials, thought-leaders, and others. A grocery store chain is even selling COMPASSION IT wristbands throughout the city of Gaborone! So awesome!
6 – Visiting Robben Island
If you read my earlier blog, you know that I was tremendously impacted by my visit to Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years. After reading his autobiography, I realized what a true hero he was (and still is).
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”
7 – Seeing Elephants, Giraffes, and Hippos (oh my)!
Friends coordinated a trip so that Susan and I could experience the wildlife of the Okavango Delta, and it was AMAZING! I normally see these animals at the San Diego Zoo, and I was overwhelmingly happy to see them in their natural habitat. I truly felt like I could see and sense the joy coming from these beautiful creatures. (This picture was taken from my bathroom! Seriously!!!)
8 – Being an Honorary Member of the Whoolery Family
Magdalena and her husband, Scott, not only provided a room and meals for me and Susan during our stay in Gaborone, but they treated us like family. Their four precious and imaginative children, Marli, Brixton, Alia, and Huxley brightened each and every day. I have rarely witnessed so much love shared amongst one family, and I enjoyed every second of it. I can’t wait to someday introduce my daughter, Hannah, to this bunch. She and Marli will be two creative peas in a pod!
(The above photo shows Scott cutting a birthday cake for two-year-old Alia. Her third birthday is in February, but she asked for a birthday party. So…we sang to her, had cake, and it was a blast. She was pleased as punch.)
9 – Sharing this Experience with my “Safari Sister”
When Magdalena and I began working on bringing compassion training to Botswana, I knew that I would need a co-teacher to help me. Susan Knier was an obvious choice because of her experience with leading compassion trainings for health care professionals, and because she has visited Botswana and knew her way around Africa. (And she’s also just all-around awesome!) Susan and I spent over two weeks together (nearly non-stop), and I enjoyed every second of it! As co-teachers, our styles complemented each other well. The best part, however, was sharing this adventure with someone with such a huge heart and fun personality. This entire experience was enhanced tremendously because I had Susan by my side.
10 – Watching My Team Take Care of Business
Last but not least, I want to give a shout out to my incredible team for holding down the COMPASSION IT fort while I was gone. Stacey, Bryce, Sherri, Burrell, Teryn, John, Heather, Dahvia, Angela – YOU GUYS ROCK! (I can’t believe we don’t have a team photo, by the way!)
Finally, I am SO SO encouraged to see that our simple message of ‘compassion it’ translates to another culture, and I whole-heartedly believe that we can bring even more happiness, well-being, and peace to others around the world through COMPASSION IT programs.
***Do you want to help us reach even more people around the globe? To support COMPASSION IT, an official 501(c)3 nonprofit, you can either donate online or purchase COMPASSION IT products. We aspire to bring COMPASSION IT programs to schools, universities, workplaces, and hospitals around the world, but we need your help! Thank you for helping us share this movement around the world!