During a three-week retreat in Plum Village in France, I was fully immersed for the first time in my life in an intensive training in mindful living. I have been meditating for many years but being invited to walk mindfully, to eat mindfully, to sit, stand, greet friends, climb hills, wash pots, pans and dishes mindfully was new for me.
Mindfulness is becoming part of everyday life, thinking and healing in many parts of the world. In Plum Village, the focus of mindfulness is to help deal with suffering, to know where to find true peace and happiness and to learn to know the landscape of our own minds from which everything emerges.
We hope Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Happy Teachers Will Change the World” calligraphy will one day hang in every Ugandan classroom.
In addition to the Plum Village community’s training, hospitality, and joy, we were fortunate to meet members of the Wake Up Schools Initiative and to attend their gatherings. The community was very interested in the work we are doing with Primary School Teachers in Uganda. They welcomed us into the global Wake Up Schools community and even discussed the possibility of visiting us in Uganda to teach mindfulness to our teachers and students. The work we do impacts so many lives, families, and schools. We hope Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Happy Teachers Will Change the World” calligraphy will one day hang in every Ugandan classroom.
We continue practicing back in Africa. Our teachers are getting to like mindfulness exercises very much. “Happy Teachers Will Change the World” has become their song. Every morning after the day’s announcements, one person calls out, “Happy Teachers” and the other teachers answer, “…will change the world.” It is so beautiful!
In our last programme, we trained 250 teachers. Every morning we started with mindfulness; it is really spreading! As for our work place, each department takes turns leading a daily practice for the staff. They are appreciating it more and more. The Wake Up Schools approach affects us so positively.
For more information about this community’s training programs, contact: St. Francis Family Helper Programme, P O. Box 869, Mbarara, Uganda. You can also visit www.stfrancisuganda.org or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.