Written by the Ladies of the 2019 Ladies Seva
Late 2018We sat together after an AYP Saturday Community Class to brainstorm ideas for a SEVA safari. (SEVA, Sanskrit for an act of selfless service. Safari, Swahili for a trip) We were clear that we wanted to do something. The question was, “What?” We ended that meeting with an agreement to come back with ideas and spaces where we could be of service #yourwordscreateyourworld
Early 2019 Nikki, Mysh and their team came to Kenya to offer training in Y12SR, Yoga for 12 step recovery. Y12SR combines Yoga Philosophy, Neuroscience and the 12 Steps to Recovery as a tool to assist in addiction recovery and relapse prevention. As yogis who have lived the transformative power of a yoga practice; physically, spiritually and mentally… learning how to tailor this practice in service to recovery was an Aha! moment for us. 37.1% of Kenyans between the ages of 15-65 years have lifetime use of at least one substance of abuse (NACADA 2017).
As AYP teachers, we saw that many of us are close to people struggling with addiction. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, food, debt, and on and on. We came together and settled on a SEVA Safari to support people living with addiction in the coastal region of Kenya.
22 ladies, 6,611 USD raised, a four-day program; one Special needs school and three days at 2 drug treatment centers set up, and we were off to Mombasa for service, sun and sand. The best thing about service is the lessons it leaves us with.
Here is what we learned… Day 1: August 12th, 2019 (Eid-Ul-Adha) We spent the holiday at Sahajanand Special School in Mtwapa, home to 900 energetic and loving children with special needs. On this day, there was a Christian conference at the school. After our time with the children, we led a brief introduction of AYP and a 10-minute practice during the event that had close to 500 people living with disabilities. Love when authentically expressed, it doesn’t matter the condition of the one expressing or receiving it, they will understand and feel it.
Day 2: August 13th, 2019 We went into the MEWA drug treatment centers thinking that we should take it slow with the physical practice because they may be too physically weak to handle a challenging class. What a joy it was to see them giving 100% on the mat! We kept challenging them and they kept rising above. We experienced first hand that when we make a decision, no matter how hard or difficult the journey may seem for our growth, we should embark on it wholeheartedly. Our past does not define who we are but it is a stepping stone to who we are becoming.
Day 3: August 14th, 2019 A common misconception is that addicts do not deserve love or connection with others. That they should be isolated because we can generally expect the worst! ‘The Opposite Of Addiction Is Not Sobriety. The Opposite Of Addiction Is Connection.’ Johann Hari. Within a few hours of meeting and starting the program, we saw strength, openness, wonderful welcome and acceptance. The most empowering thing we can do for all the people around us is to treat them with love and accept them for who they are.
Day 4: August 15th, 2019 Our last day with the participants was especially emotional and empowering. Sharing contacts and taking time to see and listen to each other generously. It opened us up to the importance of accepting ourselves and others even at the worst of times and give hope, whenever we get a chance!
What’s next?... 2 AYP teachers, Leonidah and Arafa have begun teaching regular Yoga classes at the 2 drug treatment centers we visited as well as continue to have regular Yoga classes at the Sahajanand Special school. Now that you are inspired by this post, do not give in to the temptation that you are limited in what you can do to create change.
Wangari Maathai said, “There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments." Unbowed: A memoir.
Take the risk and be of service in your home, your community and in the world.
We thank you for all you did to enable us to make this SEVA a reality. For sharing our posts, asking questions, donating your time, energy, prayers, good vibes, money, and resources.
We thank the administrations of the Sahajanand Special school and the MEWA Drug treatment facilities for allowing us into your spaces and be part of the inspirational lives of the people you host.
We thank the children of Sahajanand Special school for the joy and love you shared with us. We thank the participants of the MEWA drug treatment centers for showing us the strength to overcome struggle and the power of love and acceptance.
We leave you with the words of the participants. We have not included names out of respect for their privacy.
“I feel loved, like someone cares about me” “This yogi yoga thing makes me feel so nice, we need more of it” “I am so happy we got to have you guys here. So free and having fun and spending time with us. Many people stay away and don’t talk to us. But you guys just see us as normal. Thank you” “You people need to take this to those other centers. The way I feel now, they also need that” “I woke up feeling so bored and tired and my body was aching, but now even though I am so tired. I feel so good.” “I feel like I know my friend a little better, we have gone through many similar things. We understand her” “My mind was so full of thinking things, but now it is so calm. This thing will help me recover.”
Click here to be up to something bigger than yourself, join us on a Seva Safari......