2015 Conference Posted March 12, 2015 by a.beckett@xavierproject.org

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Xavier Project staff

The Ugandan team have complained for a while that we need to eventually have our AGM on their turf but when they found out we were going to Watamu for our conference the complaints suddenly stopped. Lake Victoria may act as the sea in the Great Lakes region but it is just not the same as the salty Indian Ocean. We travelled overnight and by 7.30am we were all in the sea watching the sun rising over the horizon.

It was not all sandcastles and snorkelling though. In fact, we hardly had any time for tourism as we packed in four long sessions of reflection and creative thinking over the course of the weekend. On Friday afternoon, we spent the session making presentations in groups on pertinent refugee and education issues to ensure that we were all up to date on the context of our work and mentally prepared to make some decisions in the coming days. On Saturday, we engaged in exercises which helped us to confirm and refine our vision and our values as an organisation. We started by asking why we do what we do, and then progressed to the ‘how’ leaving ‘what’ to Sunday morning. Our vision is for a world where everyone, including refugees, has the right to protection and equal opportunities and we will continue using education as the tool to achieve this.

Everyone was divided into teams that cut across departments and country offices. This way some of our new staff members, such as Mercy our education specialist, Rachael our sponsorship coordinator and Florence our accounts assistant in Kenya could get to know others such as Samuel our sponsorship coordinator and Maureen the hub receptionist in Uganda. We took team building to the beach (how could we not?) and team four, coordinated by Dexter, managed to carry the full bucket out of the ring using only ropes in a calm 3 minutes 48 seconds. This record set early in the game was impossible to break as all the other teams up-ended the bucket in a desperate struggle for fame and glory.

Special mention should go to Sharon who organised the whole event from beginning to end. Negotiating prices of fish for supper with the local fishermen, scavenging for rope for the bucket game and coordinating four overnight bus journeys in a week were just a handful of the jobs she carried out perfectly.