You may want to have a facilitator present to debrief your team 1 – 3 weeks after your arrival home. This is a great time to get a Hands at Work International Office member involved. If it is not possible to have someone from the International Office present, then try to Skype with them, or at least record important information. This way you, as the team leader, can feedback on your team’s experience to the International Office.
Be aware of team members showing signs of emotional difficulty upon their return. They may need longer term re-entry support or counselling.
We are privileged to be able to get a glimpse into the lives of the children who are so vulnerable and those who are looking after them. But this experience can be lost. It is lost if we just chalk it up as another experience and go back to living the lives we were before, without making any changes. We have not been shown the lives of the people in Africa for no reason; we need to find that reason in our own lives. Remember the names of the children that you met and their situations. Let their story be your starting point and your motivation.
There are infinite ways to make changes in your own life that have a lasting impact in other people’s lives.
Discuss your time in Africa with your group; the things you saw, things you felt, how the experience has impacted you. You may even want to share a story of a child or Care Worker that really stirred your heart.
As team members you must understand that you have experienced something very unique together. You should treasure and support this relationship that has been built amongst your team. These are people you can relate to and draw on for support when you reflect back on what you have experienced in Africa.
Often people returning from Africa will say that they went to bless others but end up being far more blessed themselves from the people and the experience. Is that what you experienced?
Discuss how you are going to integrate this experience into your life.
How to Stay involved with Hands at Work
Invest a year or more of your life on behalf of Africa's most vulnerable, and live in community with volunteers from all over Africa and the world. Serve side-by-side with long term local workers as "scaffolding" – a temporary, but essential tool in building a structure and leaving it stronger that upon arrival.
Tell a story or show a Hands at Work video at your church on a Sunday morning or at a special meeting; invite a Hands at Work speaker to visit your church; share the story of what is happening in Africa and God's calling for the world to respond. Leverage your passion, leadership or organisational gifts to affect hundreds of orphans by taking on the task of raising funds amongst you colleagues, friends or child to build a Life Centre, drill a water well or fund another urgent Hands at Work project.
Gather together with friends and family, placing the needs of the orphaned and widowed before God. Sign up to receive our prayer newsletters and annual 40 Days of Prayer guide for Africa's Most Vulnerable.
Help us to protect and serve some of the most vulnerable children in Africa. $20 (USD) a month means that a vulnerable child can gain access to basic health care, food and education, all delivered from the loving arms of the local African church.