There are seven steps to making the Oasis game happen:
- The Appreciative Gaze: An appreciative way to observe the local community. A way to focus on what’s there and what about it is beautiful. Getting rid of your prejudices.
- Affection: Encouraging the creation of genuine connections between people based on common values and trust.
- The Dream: To create a space where people can express their most true and ambitious dreams for their community. Not focusing on the negative or problem solving, but focusing on something real that can be achieved now.
- Care: The careful planning of projects and strategies so that they include the community’s collective dreams in all of their diversity. The right ones are good for yourself, good for your neighbour and good for the planet.
- The Miracle: The actual project, where members of the community and Oasis participants make one of the dreams into a reality together. This part used to be called “Action” but at the end of every game, the locals used to say “it was a miracle”.
- Celebration: Coming together at the end of the journey to share the joy of working together. A party!
- Re-evolution: The legacy of the game; a new cycle of expanding dreams and to discover the potential within.
During days one to four we focused on the first four steps. Every day started with a vegan breakfast and a song and a dance. We were taught different dances and different songs and always with the minimum instruction. “Just watch what I do”, said Rodrigo. We did, and we danced. The first time many of us seemed a little clumsy or nervous but over the week dancing became an important part of our daily routine. It was a metaphor for working together; it made us closer and raised our heartbeat, ready to go out full of energy. Sharing the laughter from failed steps or silly moves was all part of the plan. We weren’t meant to become professional dancers, we were meant to enjoy the process and gain something from it.
On the first day, we practiced the Appreciative Gaze by walking around the community blindfolded, gently guiding each other and trying to get an impression of our surroundings without the prejudice that using your eyes as the primary source of information often brings. We learned that sometimes you see better with your eyes closed. We learned to trust each other fast. We learned not to worry about looking very silly.
The local kids responded to us first. Some of them followed us on the first day when we were out with blindfolds.
We went out again, this time with our eyes open and found beautiful things. We tried to find the people behind the beauty. By the end of the week, we had a small but devoted crew of local children who helped us literally drum up attention when we turned our volume up a notch and went to shout on the streets to broadcast the time and location for the community meeting we were organising.