Today’s blog is brought to us by Aysha Faqih, Leadership Development Participant from PeacePlayers-Middle East. Aysha had the pleasure of taking part in an exchange with PeacePlayers-Cyprus for the Fall Leadership Retreat. Below she gives us an account of her experience in Cyprus.
I had the pleasure of joining our Cypriot PeacePlayers (PPI-CY) branch for a Leadership Development Program (LDP) retreat along with Heni and Duha. Visiting each other’s sites is important to me because it allows us to exchange ideas and to learn about how each program works.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience. At first, I did not understand fully the conflict between the two ethnicities, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots, in Cyprus. But through the experience of being at the retreat with them, I heard both narratives and experiences.
An experience I take away from this retreat is the touching story of Sevilay and Alex. At first, one of their families were against the idea of them joining PeacePlayers because it required Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots to interact. Over time, their family became more involved with the PeacePlayers community. Overcoming the prejudices instilled by the communities against the other takes time, but, as we can see with Sevilay and Alex, it’s possible. Now Alex calls Sevilay “Sistera,” meaning my sister. Alex is now even close with Sevilay’s family, and his best friend is Sevilay’s brother.
During the retreat, we accomplished some amazing activities. The overall goal, which I believe was accomplished, was to increase teamwork between the LDP participants. An example of a teamwork activity was getting all the participants to cross a tangled web without touching the rope. Of course, there was an added challenge – one participant had to be blindfolded while crossing. The blindfolded member had to cross only by listening to the other group’s instructions. Eventually, our group succeeded but it required a ton of teamwork and patience!
Thank you PPI-CY for letting us join you at the LDP retreat. We hope that you will be visiting us next time!