Errol Murphy, 55
works in health and social care.
What brought you to the London group?
“I knew Royston from the Peckham Black Father’s and Manday groups. He told me about this rites of passage weekend for mentors and I was immediately interested. In Africa, young men experience rites of passage but not in Europe. I feel passionately about the need for rites of passage with young men here in London.”
And how did you respond to the BTH weekend”
“For me, the work that gets done is great. There’s a lot of going back to childhood and clearing up stuff that is still there, blocking progress. I got the space to really grieve my father’s death, which I’d never done before. During the weekend, I found myself being moved to tears by other men sharing, it was easier to feel my pain through theirs than it was to feel my own. There was a lot experiential work that really empowered the men. For men who might not have any family support, this is brilliant. It is also made to feel like a big adventure because there are physical challenges and you are invited to leave the world as you know it behind. No contact is allowed. “
What did you discover about yourself?
“I didn’t know how many emotions were lying just below the surface. It’s like being David in the lion’s den. It was a full on experience and I’m still benefitting from it today. I learnt a lot about my own shadow behaviour. I became a lot more aware of myself and how I am in the world. It also made me think about my heritage, my grandfather is Scottish. He was an overseer in Jamaica and that’s where my surname comes from. BTH made me see that we all come from different cultures but we share so much as human beings. We’re brothers.”
And what did you take away?
“It made me look at things from a different perspective. Also I got to see that when things go wrong, it can be a gift. The young men gain such confidence from the Quest. This is similar for the older men. Also we learnt ways to sort out conflict in the group, which is invaluable.”
And the future?
“Is showing young men in Tottenham that gangs are not the only way. This work is so exciting, I’m really looking forward to getting the show on the road.”