In prepping for the workshop tonight I’ve:

  • gone over a mental picture of everyone and their names;
  • written out a handful of review questions covering the biggest conceptual lessons we learned in the last session;
  • settled on a schedule with the group facilitator to accommodate a short dinner, birthday celebrations (song and cake), and evaluations—in addition to the review, activity, and presentations;
  • followed up on a photo release so I can take pictures of the group at work.

All the hard work on my end is done, so I’m feeling quite relaxed for tonight’s workshop. Here are the concepts for review:

  1. What does it mean to come of age?
  2. What is a rite of passage?
  3. What are some of examples of rites of passage that we discussed in the last meeting?
  4. Do you remember the two broad categories of rituals we divided them into? (rites of completion or celebration vs. rites of initiation or transformation)

Two bonus questions (which they should be able to answer if they watched two bonus videos we sent links to this past week):

  1. Why do you think that tribal societies set up such difficult rites of passage for their youth?
  2. Why do you think the youths themselves decide to participate in such painful, and often dangerous, rites?

What I really wanted to drive home—and I’m not sure I was able to in the last session—is that these tribal rituals continue to be relevant in the modern world. (One video clip even featured a young man who opted to leave city life in Manaus to return to his parents’ Amazonian tribe.) But it’s really tough avoiding a “the West/the Rest” sort of divide. The activity tonight is intended to push them to set up a ritual relevant to their own lives that mimics the transformational nature of tribal rituals. That reminds me, we should go over some vocabulary (ordeal and trial).


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