Day one of our outreach starting conversations with African and Caribbean people was great. For once in a long time is was a sunny day and perfect for outreach. Our community champions got straight into it having conversations in Deptford South London. Firstly debating with a man who did not want to take the leaflets and felt that the scripture (the bible) was the stress relief people should use ‘The world can be a wicked place at times causing depression and stress and for me scripture helps me through this’
We then traveled along Deptford market speaking to traders and entering community buildings like the Albany and Deptford Lounge. Some welcomed us, some wanted to avoid us and some were silently curious. Our first hairdresser shop was a welcome one and a woman who had her head under a dryer even stopped drying her hair to speak with us. Amy who is one of our Rafiki Champions asked what do people think about when they hear ‘Mental Health’ which for some people caused embarrassment but others were open to talk (even while having their hair braided).
We struck up a conversation with some men who were on the street and they were saying ‘we need to know who we are as black people because if we do not then this is when problems come’
We continued going into small and larger businesses including tailors, fabric shops, restaurants, barbers, hairdressers, food shops, pharmacies and health centres and on the whole got a welcome response and even managed to sign up some people for our Thursday Wellbeing4Women group. We managed to collect details of around 40 businesses and spoke to over 100 people. We even managed to visit Yemi, one of our champions who has her own enterprise called Cosmic Connections offering a variety of great things like massages and reiki and http://cosmicconnectionstherapy.weebly.com .
We also bumped into a couple of people who had family members with lived experience and had strong concerns about the medication they were on and the lack of culturally appropriate alternatives for Black people. We were able to talk with them, share information we had and invite them to Rafiki Project. We talked, laughed and were challenged. All in all a great day. Next stop is Peckham and Camberwell on Monday 24th, look out for us in the morning!!