Written by Eva Wu
In most peoples’ minds there are the concepts of past, present, and future. There is a logical progression of events that occur one after another as the hands of a clock steadily ticks away in the background.
In Nain, time didn’t seem to exist.
Not for me at least.
Each class workshop passed with the blink of an eye but the flickering of bonfire flames gleamed forever. The logical tick of the globally calibrated clock no longer existed whilst our circadian rhythms ground to a standstill. Nain in Focus became a haven for which our connections and desires to build a stronger mental health community could flourish without the influence of the outside world.
I became immersed in a world where all that mattered was the here and the now. Focus was on the youth and the community around me, learning about their values, their visions, and their needs. We as North in Focus became the facilitators for a mental health workshop that aimed to incorporate as many voices as possible, to mobilize youth for change that would last for the here, the now, but also the future.
We laughed, we played, and we talked. We found power in our ability to connect with like minded youth with whom we were the same age. We reciprocated trust and experiences enabling us to truly touch the young hearts of Nain, so much so that discussion of stigma and health dove deeper than we could have ever imagined.
The emotions and discussions and activities dissolved as the week progressed, creating an amalgamation of past, present, future into individual memories. Memories so strong that they remain vivid in my mind to this day.
Memories of the mental health activities.
Memories of the dances and games.
Memories of the ideas and dreams for the future.
Memories of hope.
In some words, it became the perfect environment to strike the hearts of youth to create common goals in order to spread Northern pride and end MH stigma. In some other words, it was litt.
If felt as though we had all the time in the world.
But just like that, it was all over. With our closing ceremony come and gone we had no choice but to bid adieu to the youth in Nain and part our separate ways. Constantly we were and still are told, “Our time was too short, you need to stay longer!” Though on a calendar we spent 8 days in Nain, most felt as though only an hour has passed.
We forged connections and support systems that we feel could last a lifetime. As youth, we became stronger. As friends, we became closer. As an organization, we grew brighter.
We were not without flaws but now we know how to become stronger. We aren't sure where our next destination lies nor what form North in Focus will take in the future, but we do know everyone would be overwhelmingly grateful to have another experience like Nain.
Only time will tell.