Monday 5 November 2007

Health and Dysfunction

Personal and Organisational Health
Upgrading Member Care

During the next few months, we will be looking at personal and organisational health. Specifically, we will share some resources/readings on how healthy and unhealthy behaviour affects the well-being of mission/aid organisations and their personnel. We are committed to upgrade all of our capacity to navigate “toxicity” and promote well-being.

Staying safe is something we learn about from the day we are born. We don't eat every plant we find in a field, we don't cross streets without looking, we watch our money belts/handbags etc. Learning about how "life works"—the dangers, the practicalities, and the wonders--is also an ongoing and essential part of our organisational lives as well. There is continuity, in other words, for staying safe throughout our lives--including before, during, and after our mission/aid work.

La Gama Ciega (The Blind Doe)
Horacio Quiroga (from Argentina, 1930s)
Había una vez un venado —una gama—, que tuvo dos hijos mellizos, cosa rara entre los venados. Un gato montés se comió a uno de ellos, y quedó sólo la hembra. Las otras gamas, que la querían mucho, le hacían siempre cosquillas en los costados. Su madre le hacía repetir todas las mañanas, al rayar el día, la oración de los venados. Este es el padrenuestro de los venados chicos. Cuando la gamita lo hubo aprendido bien, su madre la dejó andar sola. Y dice así:
(There once was a beloved doe. Her mother taught her how to survive. Before the doe could venture on her own, she had to repeat each day at sunrise, and thus learn well the “Lord’s Prayer” of the Deer. And this is what it says:)
I: Hay que oler bien primero las hojas antes de comerlas, porque algunas son venenosas.
(Smell well before you eat because some plants are poisonous.)
II: Hay que mirar bien el río y quedarse quieta antes de bajar a beber, para estar segura de que no hay yacarés.
(Watch and wait before drinking to make sure there are no crocodiles in the river.)
III: Cada media hora hay que levantar bien alta la cabeza y oler el viento, para sentir el olor del tigre.
(Every half hour lift your head and smell the wind to recognize the scent of the tiger.)
IV: Cuando se come pasto del suelo, hay que mirar siempre entre los yuyos para ver si hay víboras.
(Always look between the weeds when you eat field grass to see if there are vipers.)
Reflection and Discussion
**Which of these principles--warnings--apply most to your life, now?
**If you were to write a similar "Lord's Prayer" for your life, what would some of the main components be?
**List a few important ways that these principles/warnings apply to the mission/aid sectors.

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