Since the official start of the novitiate, about seven weeks ago, three workshops have been a prominent part of life here at Br. Paul Noonan Formation Centre.Immediately after the Reception, Fr. Mike Heap of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) led us in Basic Communication Skills, an appropriate way to begin our learning programme. Listening skills received much attention, and his descriptions of the way certain “types” of person don’t listen and hinder effective communication seemed to echo with the experience of many of us.
A few weeks later we were at the Tamale Institute of Cross-Cultural Studies (TICCS), conducted by the Divine Word Missionaries, having a week of Cultural Orientation. A variety of interesting presentations on Ghanaian life and culture were complemented by excursions. These included visiting the local chief; seeing the characteristic garment of the Dagomba people (the smock) being woven; sharing a meal with a local family in a village compound near Tamale; and sampling the local brew (‘pito’). There was much comparing and contrasting with the novices’ own cultures in matters of food, hospitality, welcoming and other customs.
|Pito Brewer Distributing Pito Brew|
|Having a taste of the Traditional Brew - Pito|
|Cephas, Emmanuel and Paul look on as young apprentices |
demonstrate how to weave a Smock.
|A Visit to the Chief|
Final Day at TICCS and Ghanaian Ladies from Tamale
putting out a Traditional Dance.
In Easter week we joined Divine Word seminarians, Presentation and FIC Brother novices, and FMM and MSOLA Sister postulants, for a workshop on Psycho-sexual Development. This was presented by a Ghanaian, Sister Rejoice. She was able to open up an area of life that is so important but often not much openly talked about. She gave us a ‘vocabulary’ for talking about sexuality, and provided information and raised questions that have ensured that the discussions continued long after the workshop finished.
The workshops were each quite different, but all were rich and valuable and helped provide a foundation for what we will be doing during this two year journey of novitiate.