Uganda | Burundi | Rwanda | Kenya | Tanzania
Summary of Friends Peace Team Project's January Delegation to Africa
From January 3 through 23, 1999, a seven member delegation from the Friends Peace Teams Project's African Great Lakes Initiative visited Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. The members of the delegation were Bill and Rosemarie McMechan (Canadian Yearly Meeting) who went to Uganda, Jill Sternberg (Northern and Illinois Yearly Meetings) and Derreck Kayongo (a Baptist working for the Atlanta office of the AFSC) who visited Kenya, and Ute Caspers (German Yearly Meeting), Carl Stauffer (a Mennonite pastor working in South Africa), and David Zarembka (Baltimore Yearly Meeting) who traveled to Burundi and Rwanda. The purpose of the mission was to visit Quakers and others involved in peacemaking activities in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, explore African Quakers' participation in peacemaking, reconciliation, and trauma healing and assess the possibility of placing a long-term Peace Team in the area.
The delegation began its work with a three-day workshop at the Mua Hills Secondary School outside of Machakos, Kenya. Since the members of the delegation came from four countries and were of various nationalities, we spent some of their time getting to know one another. We planned the details of the travels and coordinated the delegation's questions in order to present a common approach among the countries the teams were visiting.
In Mbale, Uganda, the home of Uganda Yearly Meeting, the team co-facilitated a basic AVP workshop and they later attended a Friends' Quarterly Meeting. The delegates then went to Kampala where they helped facilitate a second AVP workshop, this time a Training for Trainers, with AVP-Uganda facilitators, including four members of an ex-combatants group trying to make the transition from military to civilian life. They also met with twelve individuals representing various organizations involved in peace activities in Uganda.
In Burundi, the team conducted three trauma healing workshops--one with teachers from the Peace Primary School near Gitega, a second for wives of Yearly Meeting pastors, and a third for women of Kamenge Church in an area of Bujumbura which had been destroyed in the fighting. The team met with a remarkable group of nine people called the "Peace and Reconciliation Ministry under the Cross." This inter-religious, inter-ethnic group traveles to rural areas and gives three day workshops on nonviolence and reconciliation with the goal of forming a Peace Committee in each community. The team also visited Kibimba, the site of the first Evangelical Friends Alliance mission in 1934 and the site of a major massacre in 1993--the large church and 700 student secondary school sheltered 3000 displaced people who left the facility in a state of disrepair.
In Rwanda, the team facilitated a two day "Reconciliation and Trauma Healing Workshop" with the leaders of Rwanda Yearly Meeting and Quaker pastors from all over the country. The team visited Mutura Church, where Carl Stauffer delivered the Sunday sermon. This church is on the northwestern border with the Congo where rebel and government fighting had killed hundreds of thousands of people earlier in 1998--houses were destroyed, many fields lay abandoned, few livestock survived, and the people who had fled into the mountain forests were just returning to their homes. Two of the three Quaker secondary schools in Rwanda were visited and the team spoke on reconciliation to the student bodies.
In Kenya, the team attended a meeting with the clerks, general secretaries, and superintendents from the fourteen Yearly Meetings and led sample peace bulding exercises. They facilitated a half-day workshop at Lugari Yearly Meeting where the unrest in Kenya had occurred in 1993, visited two Yearly Meetings in Kitale, and the Friends Theological College in Kaimosi. The delegation also spoke with a number of organizations including Friends Committee for Consultation--Africa Section, the National Christian Council of Kenya and the Nairobi Peace Initiative about peacemaking activities in Kenya. The team attempted to visit the Peace Translation Committee and Quaker meeting in Mugumu, Tanzania, but when they reached Musoma, the nearest major town, torrential rains kept them from taking the bus to the remote location.
The delegation ended with another three-day retreat at Shalom House in Kampala. After a long debriefing on our various activities, the delegation worked on its long-term recommendations. These recommendations will be reviewed by the Friends Peace Teams Project's Coordinating Committee in April 1999 and the next steps of the African Great Lakes Initiative will be announced at that time. Preliminary approval has been given to the "Kamenge Reconciliation and Reconstruction Project".Acknowledgement
"Peace is a Group Effort" with the letter made by people holding on to each other is a well-know bumper sticker. David Niyonzima has translated this into Kirundi and has placed this bumper sticker all over Burundi--he plans to print up more of them and put one on each taxi in the country.
The African Great Lakes Initiative's delegation was likewise a group effort. I would like to thank all those who made this effort possible. First I would like to thank the members of the delegation who worked exceedingly hard during the three weeks, sometimes not under idea conditions. I would also like to thank the people in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi who hosted the members of the delegation plus all those others who spoke with us about peace work in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Then there were all those people who attended our various workshop as enthusiastic participants, those who listened to our speeches and sermons, and those too numerous to count who sang for us. I need also to thank the Coordinating Committee of the Friends Peace Teams Project for encouragement and support for the project, the Consultative Group of ten people who ironed out the details of the venture, the one hundred and fifty-four people, meetings, and organizations who donated to the project, and all thoe who contacted me with interest, suggestions, ideas, and offers of support.
Thanks to all,
David Zarembka, Coordinator
Delegates: Bill and Rosemarie McMechan
Dates: January 7 to January 20, 1999
Burundi | Rwanda | Kenya | Tanzania
Peace work in Uganda is being done by many organizations. The recently formed Uganda National Peace Network brought together about twenty groups, as their report states, "to coordinate peace organizations/efforts in their diversity for the purpose of effectively and efficiently carrying out violent conflict transformation and peace-building in a complimentary and collaborative manner." Those who attended the inaugural workshop represented only a partial list of peace workers in Uganda. Much of the peace activity is being done at a local level and by others who could not attend. When the question of participation by a Friends Peace Team was posed to those peacemakers visited in Uganda, invariably the answer was in the affirmative. Even with the present effort, much more could be done in every sector of peacemaking; work undertaken by present groups could be expanded without duplication.
Since an AVP organization has been established in two regions of the country and has been well received by the local communities, a team of preferably two experienced AVP facilitators should be stationed in Uganda to strengthen local AVP teams, continue facilitator training, work closely with NAREAF and other groups interested in peace building as well as to administer financial and material support. Knowledge of one of the local languages is desirable. While the team could be stationed in a particular location, it should be willing and able to spend time with groups in different parts of the country. Ideally, the team should be composed of one Ugandan or a person from the Great Lakes Region and an one person from outside the region, the latter to be phased out in a 5 to 10 year time span.
While the team could be affiliated with a Quaker body, it should be independent of any religious theology. As various needs arise, it should be flexible in its application, e.g. trained to provide also trauma counseling, and available to promote extension of the work into other countries of the Great Lakes Region.
Cooperation with organizations such as the Uganda Change Agent Association, developed from a project sponsored by Quaker Service-Norway, and "People for Peace" could ensure reinforcement and continuity of the AVP program and any other Peace Team project which may arise.
SUMMARIES OF DISCUSSIONS AND WORKSHOPS
Uganda Yearly Meeting
Stephen Guloba, Clerk of FWCC-Africa section, and Silver Khasufa, a member of Uganda Yearly Meeting, have taken training as Change Agents under Uganda Change Agent Association. In total, eight Ugandan Quakers were trained, but only one is a facilitator. There was consensus that a Peace Team is necessary, and that it should be comprised of local and international people. There has been some peace education since 1986, by the Red Cross, Coalition for Peace in Africa (COPA), and a bishop working in conflict resolution. Kimosi Quarterly Meeting has a Peace and Social Concerns Committee, but an international body is needed to pull all these small initiatives together. There is a great need to teach peace in communities and schools, to reach people in the rural areas and to provide written materials, such as books and posters. Quakers should begin and run a Peace Team, but conjunction with other churches and community groups. If a Center were to be established in Uganda, Mbale would be the best location because it is safe and central.
Evangelical Friends in Peace and Community Development Quaker and Child Care
This group had written to David Zarembka, expressing the wish to meet with the Friends Peace Team. They have the will to help peace grow, but few means.
They would like knowledge of how to help and how to reach people of all faiths. They started their group unofficially in 1995. They held some workshops in their church for adults in 1997, one in Toma-Buta, another in Sikomosi, a Kato sub-county. They planned a workshop in Sibusi, but few came because of famine. Another small workshop was held on Mount Elgon. Topics they addressed were: conflict resolution, counseling, self-knowledge, child psychology, community health care and cross cultural understanding. No workshops were held in 1998 because of lack of funds. They tried to pay facilitators a little as well as travel expenses, but had to also supply most of the food for participants. They feel a great need for peace building. A pastor said, "Peace was initiated by God himself. God was trying to reconcile opponents; he sent Jesus. The Peae Team must be God's team. When there is peace, people can develop." Mbale, a small town, got the group's vote for a training center, because rural people can feel comfortable there as instability often starts in the larger cities. Mbale has never been touched by war, has direct connections from Kenya and Kampala, is central to the Great Lakes Region, and has modern communication systems. The Centre should have some connection with the Organization of African Unity (OAU). While they would favour Quaker leadership of the project, they also stressed equality regarding ownership and operation. If a peace centre were to be built, they were ready and willing to organize an international work camp.
Stephen Guloba, Clerk of Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC)-Africa
Stephen Guloba is thrilled about the idea of a peace team and feels it is very necessary because of past history and current warfare. The team should work with groups already established in the region, and he thinks that FWCC-Africa Section can be a key player in bringing people together, though it would request some help with communication devices. His own telephone line is shared with 60 other users, and operates only locally. He favors a team made up of local and international personnel, but would not commit himself to any location for a center, a decision which should be arrived at by consensus. The project should be evaluated annually and more broadly at the end of 5 years. He is concerned that there is little Quaker education in Uganda, no Quaker high school and there is also no Quaker hospital or clinic. In contrast, Islam is offering free university education. In terms of connecting with other international bodies, FWCC-Africa Section is trying to set up an office of 2 or 3 people at the heaquarters of the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa and a Friends Peace Team could be a partner in this. Also the East African Union may be re-established with headquarters in Arusha and this could be another opportunity for representation.
WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT
Location: Girls Boarding school, Bubulo, Uganda
Dates: January 8th and 9th , 1999
Type of Workshop: Basic Community Workshop
Lead Facilitator: Juliet Namono (Joyful)
Co-faciliators: George Walumoli (Joking), Bill (Buoyant) and Rosemarie (Radiant) McMechan
Factors that affected the workshop
All the participants seemed to know one another; they were a highly motivated, mature and knowledgeable group, committed to peace building. Most were either Quaker pastors or teachers, with years of experience in their respective professions and in voluntary community service. It was a joy to work with them. Five had taken the basic workshop in 1995 with Steve Angell, Elaine Dyer and Ben Norris, when they came to Bubulo from the USA and New Zealand. We challenged them with Broken Hexagons instead of Broken Squares during the program. The main difficulties arose prior to the workshop because of finances. While the FPTP had received notice by mail that each workshop would cost over US$600.00, this information was largely dismissed and attributed to wrong translation of currencies, especially, as the chairman of AVP-Uganda had given us a much lower estimate in Ugandan shillings in the Mua Hills. So when our Ugandan co-facilitators presented us with the bill in Mbale the afternoon before the start of the wokshop, we had to admit that we did not have such a large sum in our possession, in fact we had hardly any cash, and travellers cheques could not be changed in Mbale. After much discussion and attempts to slash the budget to the bare necessities, we decided that we would have to settle for just a two day workshop, and that Bill and William Walusimbi would have to travel to Jinja to cash our travellers cheques. (They actually had to go right to Kampala, as Jinja banks refused to cash checks also, and the entire journey took 10 hours). The reason why workshops are so expensive to conduct in Uganda rests in the fact that few people have paid work, salaries are low and not always paid on time, and so people have to be paid for their transport costs, and they have to be fed during workshops. They also each receive a scribbler and pen, which they use judiciously, noting down anything and everything, much as students are required to do in school, and which is helpful in the absence of flipcharts and manuals. n addition, a room has to be rented for the workshop. We actually got a break in costs there, as the school had given 'our' classroom to the Anglican Church for a revival meeting, and we had to make do with a newly painted large room which was very suitable, except it had no blackboards, and we had decided, as an economy measure, not to purchase flipchart paper and markers. However, a small jagged piece of blackboard was found, and we managed well with that.
Because of the financial upheaval, we had no time for a pre-workshop team meeting, but we got along very well, though Rosemarie, on several occasions, tried to take over, just writing up an agenda, for her own comfort and to move the program along. George and Juliet performed very well and Juliet also having responsibilities in the serving of meals which were kindly prepared by Modesta Guloba and her family and had to be carried about one kilometer to the school. Bill was only able to join the workshop the second day after having traveled to Kampala on the first.
Interesting Events and Other Comments
The highlight of the workshop for Rosemarie was the gathering on the second morning,: "What Transforming Power means to Me " The depth of understanding of the concept was utterly impressive, though perhaps not surprising with so many pastors and teachers in the room. Another gathering, "How violence has affected my Life" was very moving. No life had been untouched by violence. - Rosemarie loved the African flavor of the scenarios chosen for role plays: A boundary dispute and an interesting marital triangle. However, it was the scenario for Hassle Lines which took the cake--the wife of a man who buys expensive foods but never gives her any money to purchase clothes shames him by appearing in front of his guests, dressed in rags, with 5 kilograms of meat draped around her body! Time was a big factor in this workshop, as we only had two days, and did not start until 10:00 AM the first day and 9:20 AM on the second, having to close at 5:30 PM each night, so that everyone could get home by public transport Also some participants did not arrive until the second day, but fitted in well. As AVP-Uganda does not give out any certificates for Basic and Second Level workshops, length of attendance is not an issue for them. To allow everyone to take part in a role play, Rosemarie had suggested to put on two 'step-in' role plays. The first one worked fairly well, with different people taking on the roles in the course of the play, but the second one followed established lines, which was just as well, as people really got into their roles and needed a thorough debriefing which Juliet facilitated very ably. Boundary disputes are a hot topic, as land is precious, and each square foot of the fertile soil is fully utilized.
Grace Kiconco, Director of Shalom House, Organizer of Prison
Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) workshops, Advisor to ex-combatants and Mennonite
Central Committee (MCC), and member of Prison Fellowship
There is a huge demand for AVP workshops in Uganda. Twenty organizations were represented at the founding of the Uganda Peace Network in September 1998 (organized by MCC), and all requested workshops. There is also need for better administration. Titles were given, but organization is lacking. Workshops are expensive to hold, as participants are usually not able to pay for their own transport and food. Even in prisons, AVP-Uganda has to supply the funds for food, as the prisoners receive only one meager meal a day, and none while they participate in a workshop. MCC has sponsored five workshops under their Restorative Justice program and also through the Prison Fellowship. Follow-up and long-term evaluation are needed. A Peace Team is very necessary, both for peace education and intervention in hot spots, and to motivate people. Ethnic tensions are still prevalent throughout the country, and AVP-Uganda could be helpful there, if spread widely. It could also alleviate domestic violence. Careful selction of personnel will be essential as they must be good and patient listeners. The composition of the team is not as important as it is to get people who live in peace and can empower local people to sustain the program. While AVP has come out of Quakerism, it is universal, and every person has to integrate its values into his/her own spiritual beliefs. Coordination of all peace work is needed. The Nairobi and Kampala conferences of the Peace Network tried to address this need, but not all peace groups and organizations were present. AVP-Uganda could have its own thrust and be used by many different groups. Putting the team in one place has advantages from an administrative point of view, but in order to carry out peace work, it must be mobile. Grace noted that Nairobi would be the place for monitoring developments in the region, but Rwanda would be a good place to do the work. AVP-Uganda should periodically receive enrichment from experienced international facilitators to ensure quality of the program.
Shadrack Ogamba, Clerk of Kampala Friends Meeting (unprogrammed)
Shadrack Ogamba thinks that a Peace Team should be independent of religion, and should be half local and half international. Where its headquarters would be located would not matter, as long as it had branches in outlying areas. FWCC-Africa Section should not coordinate it, as that would interfere with its independence. AVP-Kampala has had difficulties in working with AVP-Mbale. A nine member Board of Directors is to form a new national committee.
Mary Lou and David Klassen, Country Representatives and Lam Cosmas,
Program Associate, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
AVP-Uganda is suffering growing pains. There are many gaps and holes, but where to start? Perhaps doing research: What is the meaning of peace? Uganda Martyr's University in Nkosi focuses on ethics with a peace component and research into traditional peace making among pastoral groups, who see themselves as having a strong peace tradition. A Belgian lawyer, Michael Lejene, is Vice Chancellor. Makerere University in Kampala has similar programs. Lam Cosmas felt that FPTP is welcome in Uganda because people realize that the wars are killing both in the north and west of the country. Sudan also affects Uganda, though it is not a Great Lake state. The Peace Team should be a Think Tank and bring out the peace building traditions. How can we strengthen these institutions and coordinate these efforts? UNESCO is working along these lines. A peace team should also study in which ways conflicts are different. Unfortunately, there are no resources for peace work. Training and capacity building are needed. A Peace House for the East African Community is under consideration in Arusha with two representatives each from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Caroline Lamwaka, Journalist
She is currently trying to complete a 12 year long book project: "The Civil War and the Peace Process in Uganda." She thinks that peace organizations need to be more aggressive, especially now, as the mood of society has changed and become pro-peace.
Keith Wright, Director of UNICEF and Hilary Wright, initiator of
Alternative to Violence Program (AVP)-Uganda
The Wrights' advice is "Don't spread yourself too thinly. Choose one conflict, each is different and needs different solutions, or choose one particular approach, e.g. AVP, for which there is much interest, though facilitators need more training, and some workshops should be held in the vernacular. Raising self-esteem is very important, especially among women, as are communication skills. Women have lots of influence in the villages, and could have more, if they were able to communicate more effectively with men. Sometimes you have to start sectarian and then move to comprehensive. Duplication is not an issue. There is enough need. Facilitators should be paid, if you value their work. Injection of money can make a difference; it enables. However, finances need to be out in the open and be discussed from the beginning".
Joseph Olowo Sirrah, Chairman, National Reconciliation Aid Foundation
They are a group of ex-combatants from different Ugandan armies, also ex-politicians, and other marginalized people seeking a forum, with former army chief of staff members among them. Most have lived for years in exile. The government of the day contacted them and made promises, if they returned, but have since reneged on these promises, and most men do not have jobs and no support. Although they could get arms again and return to the bush as guerilla fighters (and some have done so) they have a different vision now, and AVP-Uganda helped. Then as they tried to organize themselves, these ex-combatants urgently need some seed funding and presented several proposals. Shalom House and Friends Meeting have been helpful in allowing them to use their premises for meetings without charge, but they need their own place, a Reconciliation House, where they can train people and send them out with the gospel of peace. They also need income producing enterprises. There are 2,500 ex-combatants in Kampala alone; 20,000 were in exile in Zaire; 250,000 were in the different armies (each succeeding government had its own army). The current government was initially suspicious of NAREAF, and sent a spy to their first AVP workshop as a participant. He was won over, and the Commissioner of Prisons has given a strong recommendation to AVP-Uganda and NAREAF.
Norah Owaraga, Finance and Publicity Officer of Uganda Change Agent
This organization was started by Quaker Service-Norway (QSN), training change agents for development. Recently, they decided to also train for peace under the name of Change Agent for Peace Project (CAPP). Their original training has been conducted in 14 local languages. Stan Burkey of QSN is planning to set up curriculum and training programs for CAPP. They have an impressive network of 1,500 trained change agents across the country, and are able to generate 15% of their annual budget locally from training and membership fees and one corporate sponsor.
Aggrey Awori, MP and Chairman of National Reconciliation Commission
Aggrey Awori, a classmate from college of David Zarembka, is a strong moral supporter of NAREAF, but can't help financially at this time. He was recently able to move 5% of the defense budget over to the police. We believe a Peace Team would have his support.
WORKSHOP EVALUATION REPORT
Location: Shalom House, Kitintale, Kampala, Uganda
Type of Workshop: Training for Facilitators (T4F), Community
Lead facilitator: Hilda Birungi (Hilarious)
Co-Facilitators: Joseph Olowo-Sirrah (Jolly), Bill (Buoyant) and Rosemarie (Radiant) McMechan
Factors that affected the workshop
We had highly motivated participants who were eager to learn and become facilitators. They knew each other and Shalom House, which was a good venue, except when the rain on the metal roof of the outside shelter drowned out our voices. Participants enjoyed the lunches and teabreaks, kindly prepared and served by Grace Kiconco and Connie Swatson. It was unfortunate that some potential participants did not hear about the workshop in time and arrived only on the second day or not at all. The new manuals, just arrived from England with Hilary Wright, were very useful, and we decided to let all participants use not only the Basic Manual for the three days, but also the Training for Facilitators manuals as it would have been too expensive to have handouts photocopied. As English is a second or third language for many of the trainees, reading comprehension was difficult for some, leading to innovative ways of conducting certain exercises. As the workshop had only six sessions, and some were cut short by late sarts due to rain and other circumstances, apprentices will need quite a lot of practice to become full-fledged facilitators.
The team worked well together, filling in for each other where necessary, e.g. Joseph suffered from malaria and had to take some time out, and Hilda was needed at her workplace for one session. We learned with and from each other.
Interesting Events and Other Comments
Several participants were ex-officers of Ugandan armed forces, who had served under different regimes, but have since banded together in NAREAF (National Reconciliation Aid Foundation) for mutual support and to promote peace in Uganda. They have derived great personal benefit from AVP and are committed to spread the program among their comrades and the community at large. Having three teams present " Introduction to Transforming Power," left everyone with a much better understanding of the concept than before the workshop. The second role play engendered much discussion which had more to do with the scenario than with the debriefing. The Graduation Circle was not a great success, as few expressed verbally why they would like to facilitate with the person whose Certificate of Completion they handed out. Having a photo taken was much more important, and they would clearly have preferred the leadership team to hand out the certificates. The team was glad to learn that another facilitator training is plannedfor February. Rosemarie felt that some of the group would find it difficult to tackle a Basic workshop as a member of a team without further practice. It will be most helpful, if these new Apprentice Facilitators can be given their own Basic Manuals to study at leisure at home. One of them offered to have them copied for everyone with recipients being charged only the cost of paper and spiral binding.
The Agenda followed pretty well one laid out in the T4F Manual for three teams.
We chose three over two in the anticipation of further participants joining us. As only two more came, one team remained with only two members, and we split up the group into just two teams of four for Role Plays. Due to the rain on the morning of the third day which prevented a start prior to 10:30am, we were unable to include either a reflection or trust exercise in the afternoon. Future training sessions should include these exercise.
"Nurturing a tender shoot of peace amidst the harsh realities of life"
Nestled among lush green mountains and expansive lakes and tributaries, Burundi, a small country in the central region of Africa, represents a dignified and proud people who refuse to be crushed by the trauma and suffering they have known. Heavily burdened by almost three years of economic sanctions from neighboring states, the poor of Burundi continue to eke out a living with courage and persistence. After the military coup by current President Boyoya on July 25, 1996, the country has felt a tentative stability, however rebel forces continue to resist the government. In the midst of this armed struggle it is once again civilians who suffer the most. The lives of community members are threatened and lost to the rebel and government soldiers alike. Soldiers and military checkpoints dot the countryside and damaged homes continue to stand abandoned. Ethnic integration in the government and military is slow in coming and people on the ground are hesitant to claim much progress. People are tired of politic, violence and war. As one Burundian said, "It doesn't really matter who is in the Army as long as they don't kill us."
Coupled with the pain of post-war trauma, however, emerges a sense of hope for the future and for coming generations. Even as this report is being formulated, the sanctions have been lifted from Burundi and the government and thirteen rebel groups have entered into peace talks. More importantly, people on the ground across the country are engaging in small, but exponentially valuable attempts to meaningfully rebuild their country. These reconstruction efforts are opening up windows of opportunity for mutual dialogue and understanding and a way for peace to go forward. This section of the report is an attempt to highlight a number of these "flickering flames" that give hope for peace in Burundi and to summarize possible ways by which those from other countries could stand with and accompany the Burundian people in their search for meaningful peace sustenance.
As part of our educational exchange during this trip, we explored the significance of storytelling, realization of loss, expression of grief and mourning, and finding rituals and symbolic ceremonies that help to restore meaning and hope. Each context experientially finds unique and culturally appropriate variations of these expressions. Burundi Yearly Meeting and other Burundian churches stress the importance of trauma healing to strengthen the spiritual care of their churches and thereby the backbone of civil society. Our hope is that with this social and spiritual scaffolding in place, this will naturally buttress the flow and growth of peace in Burundi.
Throughout this portion of the report many stated needs have been noted. Some of these needs are within the scope of the mandate of a peace presence in Burundi. Other stated needs fall outside of that mandate and would need to find support through other means. Obviously, not all the very important needs that were highlighted will be able to be addressed.
Our recommendations are threefold and should optimally be linked together:
SUMMARIES OF DISCUSSIONS AND WORKSHOPS
Congolese Friends Delegation
Upon our arrival in Bujumbura, we were privileged to meet Mr. Mkoko Buseka and Mr. Kasingwa Molelikwa of the Congolese Friends Church. Although we were not able to travel to the Congo, we learned that the Friends in Congo number 1003 persons excluding children, and most of the churches are located just across the Burundian border in the eastern region of Kivu in the Congo. The Church was started in 1981 with the help of Burundian Friends and now has legal status in Congo. This group seems to be quite active in efforts to "preach peace, mutual dialogue and forgiveness." They reported on three specific peace related activities; 1) sponsoring a trauma healing workshop that was well received, 2) attempts to engage the rebel groups around them, and 3) a program to teach peace to their Church members and others from the community which they run on Friday nights. The theme of this Friday program is "How Christians should act in times of violence/trouble". Our friends spoke about their vision for a project tht would show those caught up in the violence "another way" of dealing with conflict. As Mkoko stated, "The conflicts are not new, but they used to be handled by the wise elders. We need to draw on the traditional wisdom of peace - it is like a river flowing." When asked about the hope in Congo, Mkoko responded with a Biblical story, "In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul was preaching late into the night and a young man fell from the third story window (asleep) and appeared dead. Paul came and said, 'There is still life remaining in him or left in him.' And then Paul raised him up. Our hope is because there is still LIFE in th Congo. We need more 'Paul's' in the Democratic Republic of Congo." The Congolese Friends Church would welcome others to partner with them in their trauma healing and peace work.
Trauma Workshop and visit to Magarama II Peace Primary School
On January 9, 1999, we traveled from Bujumbura to Gitega in the central region of Burundi. In the morning we facilitated a Trauma Healing Workshop with the teachers of a "Peace Primary School" run by the Friends. This school was developed in response to the 1993 crisis in Burundi. The objectives of the school are 1) To provide basic knowledge to the children and 2) to train the students in peace education. The program uses the government cirriculum in the morning and then in the afternoon the pupils are engaged in a peace education curriculum. Modeste Karerwa, the Head Mistress of the school, expounded on the vision for the work, "Starting with two-year-old nursery school children all the way through the primary grades, we emphasize that peace has to be lived. We work at showing love and unity, so the children can grow into it. We teach theory and then move into the practice of peace. The children are being trained to be examples/models as peaceful human beings wherever they go. We are preparing th new Burundi!" Some of the practical ways in which the school has engaged the students in peace work has been through food and clothing distribution, visiting orphanages, refugee camps and hospitals, and traveling to other schools and performing peace programs using the arts (e.g. choirs, drama and dance). The school has attempted to empower the students through organizing them around an association for children's rights and have involved the community members through an active teacher-parent association. The school stated that they needed general resources (food, soap, clothing, etc.), transport (need to purchase a van), teacher training in trauma healing, conflict resolution and peace studies, English teachers, an income generating silk-screen project and a peace video project.
Peace and Reconciliation Ministry under the Cross
After an eventful morning at the Magarama School, we met with the "Peace and Reconciliation Ministry under the Cross," an inter-ethnic and inter-denominational group of old and young men and women who work at training and setting up peace committees in rural areas across Burundi. In 1996, this group of nine persons was sponsored by the Quaker Church to attend a training school entitled, "Pacifist Resolution of Conflict," organized by Friend Moses Birigimana after he had attended a three months course, Responding to Conflict, in Woodbrooke, England. The group represents the Friends, Anglican, Catholic, United Methodist, and Pentecostal Churches in Burundi. After this initial training, the group worked closely with a Mennonite Central Committee worker, Bridget Butt, to continue the peace training efforts in provinces across the country. Strong appreciation was expressed for the support and encouragement received from Bridget during her time with them. They hope to network all the provinces in Burundi by olding a number of national workshops for women and youth in the near future. The group has produced a very creative, Biblically based, and culturally sensitive manual that has relevant content for the field of peace and conflict transformation. The training style is participatory, engaging an action-reflection adult learning mode by use of questions and group reflection work. The use of original drawings by Desire Nduwimana is also very effective, especially with groups that may be illiterate. Access in any given community is through local authorities, traditional leaders, and/or local churches. The participants have represented a broad spectrum of persons in the community even including soldiers. In October/ November of 1998, a group of trainers were arrested, detained and interrogated by the Burundian military for 4 days. In their own words, "None of us knows the exact reason why, but we saw it as a 'special opportunity' to reach people high up in the military that otherwise we never would have hadopportunity to speak to. Now, some of the military officials are convinced by the idea - they even offered to write letters of recommendation. One of the military officials put it this way, 'This is the politics we need to live by and promote.'" They expressed needs for assistance in setting up an office and headquarters in Gitega, for sponsorship/scholarship for some of them to continue studies in the field (especially in trauma healing work), for translation and continued development of training materials, for funds to embark on a publicity campaign, and for resources to help the communities they work in with economic development.
Trauma Workshop with Pastor's Wives of Friends' Churches
The pastors' wives are often on the "front-lines" when it comes to people requesting help and support for trauma healing. One metaphor used by Felicite Niyonzima was that of the Pastor's wife being like a tree along the side of a busy road. Everyone sees and knows that tree and when passing by the tree they stop to meet, stand and rest under the shade of her branches. These women spoke at length about their culture being closed, not very expressive or emotive. An example of this is the expectation that a strong woman will not cry out when giving birth. Often conflicts or problems are hidden or avoided. One woman expressed it this way, "Even when we are angry, we don't show it. Even when someone has intention to do wrong to another, they laugh." Another woman observed that "There was a time when we were young that adults were not afraid to cry or show emotion, but when politics entered into our communities and life we were told not to talk or share openly with others." We, as delegation members, leftthis meeting asking ourselves many questions. "What are the roots of this restrained or almost repressed mode of being? Did it come with colonial rule and especially the 'divide and conquer' tactics engaged in by the colonial rulers? Is it specific to a particular cultural milieu? Did it come with power politics and ethnic hatred rhetoric? Is it a combination of any or all of these influences?" Such queries may be some of the questions that are experienced, but rarely verbalized by Burundians on a day-to-day basis. This sort of pressure makes it very difficult to find a "safe-place" to express emotion, to show anger, to cry, to mourn and grieve in order to deal with the trauma many have experienced. The women expressed a sense of empowerment in the process of meeting together from across the country. They appeared open to the idea of establishing self-help support groups to assist in the journey of trauma healing.
Musawa Friends Meeting
This Friends Church has initiated a rebuilding and reconciliation project involving community efforts to restore homes damaged by violence and war. The church has a kiln where they fire clay roof shingles that are used to replace thatched roofing, which has been so easily destroyed or burned in the past. The project has targeted the homes of widows, elderly and handicapped as the first houses to restore. The Mennonite Central Committee has also been involved in supporting this project in the past. Poverty in this area is extreme. The area has experienced drought and many of the children are malnourished. They requested funds for the kiln and food aid.
Kwibuka Church and Compound
In Kwibuka we toured a house that the Friends Church hopes to refurbish into a transitional home for orphaned and homeless children. It would be home to a small group of 12-15 children with house parents living in the home. It would serve as a more settled environment for the children as they await placement with extended family. It would provide a home atmosphere with much more one-on-one attention from the house parents than could be expected in an orphanage. This type of project hopes to seek support from World Vision, Save the Children or other such international children's organizations. Immediate needs would be around funding to renovate the house structure itself. The team observed the grave of eight Quaker seminary students killed by the Burundi military and the monument built to their memory and heard stories from others how they narrowed escaped the massacre.
Kibimba is the first place where the Quaker Friends Church mission was established. The secondary school on the premise held 700 students (all residential). During the 1993 crisis, the school was abandoned and taken over by refugee populations. At its peak it was sheltering 3,000 persons. Today all the refugees are gone, but the military wanted to convert the school into a military base. The Friends Church of Burundi along with international Friends were able to engage the government in a two-year negotiation that allowed Burundi Yearly Meeting to keep the land and the school. On December 18, 1999, the Yearly Meeting was given permission to reopen the secondary school as a Quaker institution. It is planned that two grades will resume classes in September of 1999. Funding is needed to repair the damage to the property over the last 5-6 years.
At Kibimba we also visited a women's literacy group. This group was formed also in 1993. They consist of all ethnic groups working not only at literacy but also reconciliation between each other. We toured a few other homes on the Friends grounds at Kibimba that were damaged and also some homes that could be used to accommodate work teams that might come from overseas, or housing for a more permanent peace team presence, should that be a possible future direction.
The team met briefly with Samson Gahungu, the former Clerk of Burundi Yearly Meeting, who had been accused (as a scapegoat) of instigating the massacre in 1994 and who had spent twenty and a half months in jail before being declared innocent. He is now stationed in Kibimba as the Director of Public Relations for Burundi Yearly Meeting. He told us that the jail term had given him a lot of time to think and he was now distributing a pamphlet throughout Burundi he authored entitled "Should We Have Reconciliation or Revenge?".
We visited the Kibimba Hospital run by the Quakers. This site also has received support from the Mennonite Central Committee in the past. According to our host in addition to its medical work on site, this hospital has been involved in three major activities:
The staff of the hospital felt needs were for a full-time doctor and/or other volunteers and for medical supplies and equipment. As our host so aptly put it, "Being healthy and being at peace are closely tied together".
We visited an area called Kamenge, located on the outskirts of Bujumbura, at the edge of the mountains surrounding the city. This area has been very hard hit by the violence and destruction of the past. We also had a brief seminar/discussion with some of the women of that community. They are involved in cultivating rice, sewing and knitting projects and other micro development efforts. Their spokeswoman made this comment, "We as women have experienced much trauma and we don't know how to deal with it - sometimes we are not patient with each other. We must learn how to work together cooperatively." Their challenge to us was to match the trauma healing efforts with concrete material support and development. They asked for assistance to purchase sewing machines. The delegation facilitated a trauma healing workshop at the Yearly Meeting offices with the women from Kamenge Church.
We visited the National Council of Churches in Burundi. The Friends Church and the Mennonite Central Committee assisted in the establishment of the Department of Evangelization, Peace and Reconciliation in 1995. The council played a significant role in bringing together President Boyoya and the ousted President after the coup in 1996. They articulated a two-pronged approach: 1) use of top Church leadership to assist in mediating peace and 2) speaking with one voice as the Church of Burundi on issues of peace. For the most part the Council has been involved in sponsoring training of various kinds (including some trauma healing) targeting family, at-risk-youth, women and schools. Stated needs revolved around support for peace education, reconciliation work and a request to engage in exchange programs that share with others who have been through serious conflict.
We visited three NGO's in Bujumbura. These were the International Bible Society (IBS), Africare, and ActionAid. All of these groups are involved in some kind of relief work, reconciliation efforts and rehabilitation or reconstruction projects. International Bible Society (IBS) has concentrated its efforts on radio programs for peace, food relief and micro-development through a project to support subsistence farming. Africare has focused its efforts on building the capacity of local groups through intensive training and logistical support in accessing funding for development. AactionAid is mostly working in the Ruyigi Area and is concentrating on peace and development through rehabilitation and reintegration work with displacees, literacy, peace education in schools and sports/cultural activities with youth, AIDS awareness work, research and advocacy and micro-enterprise projects (water, agriculture, savings and credit unions). They have done some interesting projects with the use of video interviewig and community newspapers in their work with displacees. Also, they have helped to research and document the effects of sanctions on the poor, spearheading the push to have the sanctions lifted. As an organization, ACTIONAID has attempted to sensitively work with the "Abashingantahe" or traditional elders in the rural areas, which is also notable.
David Niyonzima, Legal Representative of the Friends Church of Burundi
Throughout our visit we were in the very capable hands of our host, David Niyonzima. He arranged the visit with a very organized and efficient scheduling of our time together. We found David's leadership to be visionary, mature, balanced and de-centralized. All of these characteristics have provided for the growth of projects and self-sustaining initiatives within the work of the Friends Church of Burundi. Most of these efforts are the ones highlighted in this report on Burundi. David also provided copies of various project proposals that have been formulated by Friends' leadership in order to give more structure and detail to these requests.
The team facilitated a two-day Peace, Reconciliation, and Trauma Healing Workshop in Kigali, visited Mutura Friends Church, Kidaho Friends Church, Garama Church, Kidaho Friends Secondary School, George Fox Secondary School, and met representatives from the National Christian Council of Rwanda, the Anglican Church, and the Rwanda Women Community Development Network. In Kigali, the team was hosted by Doris and Willard Ferguson, long-time Friends Evangelical Alliance missionaries in Burundi and Rwanda, and their assistants, Debbie and David Thomas.
After the genocide in 1994, the Friends Church in Rwanda made a concerted effort to spread leadership positions among various groups--Hutu, Tutsi who survived the genocide, and Tutsi who left the country after the unrest which began in 1959 and who have now returned. The Quaker Church has avoided leadership infighting and revolts that have occurred in most of the other Christian denominations in Rwanda. This was due to the fact that the Friends Church was still led by a missionary, that it was a small church of only 2500 adult members, and that it did not exist in Rwanda during the first conflict beginning in 1959. With leadership from all factions, the Quaker Church seems determined to make itself a model for reconciliation in Rwanda.
The members of Rwanda Yearly Meeting have a great interest in peacemaking, reconciliation, and trauma healing. There have been various workshops on these subjects, but no sustained program has developed. It would be useful if a delegation of appropriate Rwanda Yearly Meeting leaders visited Burundi Yearly Meeting to observe projects there--in particular, the Peace Primary School near Gitega, the Peace and Reconciliation Ministry under the Cross, the peace work at Musawa and Kamenge Churches, and other places the FPTP delegation may not have visited. Then if the members of Rwanda Yearly Meeting could focus on one or two projects that they would like to implement on a sustained basis, there would be the possibility of a long term Peace Team assisting them if the projects are appropriate for the team. Nonetheless if there is a Peace Team presence in Burundi, since Kigali is only six hours by bus from Bujumbura, that Peace Team should do outreach to Rwanda Yearly Meeting.
Mutura Church, which is in an area just recovering from deadly fighting, should be given special consideration and Reverend Pierre Damien Byumvuhore should be supported in activities he may develop, including the initiation of a primary school drawing Hutu students from the surrounding countryside and Tutsi students from the resettlement camp near the church.
SUMMARIES OF DISCUSSIONS AND WORKSHOPS
Peace, Reconciliation and Trauma Healing Workshop
January 15 and 16, 1999 was devoted to a two-day workshop with twenty-seven leaders of Rwanda Yearly Meeting from all over the country of Rwanda. These leaders included Sizeli Marcellin, the clerk of the Rwanda Yearly Meeting, Nsengiyumva Salathiel, the superintendent of Quaker pastors, Willard Ferguson, Legal Representative for Rwanda Yearly Meeting (Legal Representative is the French equivalent to Executive Secretary in United States--i.e., the one who legally represents the church to the government), and pastors from the major Quaker churches in Rwanda. There were four women participants in the workshop. After a considerable portion of devotion and internal church information by the superintendent, the main exercises were a biblical role play of the Esau and Jacob story from Genesis, a story of conflict and reconciliation, particularly appropriate for this situation, the task of expressing in a human sculpture what reconciliation means, and a study of perceptions following the pattern of "Chinese whispers," visualized on papr (a simple drawing is to be described and described again to people who have not seen it--what will remain, in comparison to the original?) For relaxation we had a few games and a Zulu song that Carl knew (which became a hit wherever the team went). Also there was a section of the workshop on trauma healing. The participants drew pictures--strong stories of horrendous exposure to atrocities and death of loved ones, which after deep sharing in small groups, were in the end ritually disposed of. The seminar was well received, the Rwandans were very enthusiastic, quickly volunteering for any role. If any problem is to be cited, it was one of speaking too much rather than apathy or shyness. The closing which included prayers, songs, and speeches, took over an hour.
Mutura Friends Church
On Sunday, January 17, the team attended services at Mutura Friends Church in the northwest part of Rwanda near the Congo border. This is the area which had great unrest earlier in the year with up to 250,000 people killed both by rebels invading from the Congo and government troops retaliating for supposed support of the rebels. One pastor said that he had four brothers and three sisters killed in this latest fighting. These incursions from the Congo were one of the main reasons that Rwanda (and Uganda) joined the forces in the Congo opposed to the Kabila government. Rwanda Quakers told us of the pressure from the Rwandan government on young men to join the army to fight in the Congo and of forced inductions of young men into the military.
They wished for some type of organization that would promote conscientious objection to the military.
In Mutura Commune, the team checked in with the local military authorities before proceeding to the church. From one vantage point looking onto Lake Kivu, the delegation could only see abandoned houses and fields. Northeastern Rwanda, a place of high altitude with excellent soil and ample rainfall, is considered the breadbasket of the country. So the abandonment of fields said a lot about food production in the country and the general lack of well-being of the population. The team was told that when the fighting began, people fled the area into the volcanic mountains which rise majestically in this area. We are not certain how people survived for six months in the forests, but one person told us he would come down at night to find food for the people in the mountains. People were just returning to their farms from their exile and considerable reconstruction needed to be done.
Rev. Pierre Damien Byumvuhore was the newly appointed pastor of the Mutura Friends Church. He has been extremely active in spreading Quakerism in that area. Over a thousand of the 2500 adult Quakers in Rwanda live in the northwest section of the country. He had just left his home church a week and a half before our visit, leaving behind two of his children and four orphans he is raising until he can get adequate housing near Mutura Church. The church itself was a large structure made of mud and wattle, with a corrugated iron roof with wooden doors and windows. It was very cold and a rain storm occurred during the four hour service with the need for light through the doors and windows conflicted with the need to keep warm and dry.
Carl preached the sermon on reconciliation and peace. There were 189 people not counting many young children at the church service. There were two choirs each with locally made sound systems connecting an electric guitar to a dilapidated radio and batteries. While the adult tended to sing hymns in harmony the younger generation added a Congo world-rhythm beat to their music. The offering at this service was less than US$20 with most of it coming from the visitors, which included not only the peace team members, but most of the leaders of the Rwanda Friends Church. In short, extreme poverty was apparent.
Within sight of the church, there was a returnees camp for people who had fled Rwanda after the 1959 unrest and who had been resettled. (Many Tutsi who had fled the country in 1959 when it was ruled by Belgium returned in 1995 after the present Tutsi-led government took control.) The returnees also had poor living conditions with small houses, inadequate areas to farm, and no livestock. Rev. Byumvuhore said that some of these people were coming to the church and he would like to start a primary school for everyone so that the local people (mostly Hutu) could learn to live together with the returnees (mostly Tutsi). People continually thanked the Peace Team members for leaving the comforts of their home to visit them in Rwanda, but any sacrifice (as people called it) was minor compared to people like Rev. Byumvuhore who everyday had to meet the challenge of putting their family, church, and community together again, physically, mentally, and spiritually, with little resources other than what they couldgenerate within themselves after the trauma they had experienced.
Kidaho Secondary School and Church
On Monday, the team went to Kidaho, still in the northwest, but near the border with Uganda. Here the team visited Kidaho Secondary School, one of the three Quaker secondary schools in Rwanda. The team spoke to the assembled students (about 200 students) on the topic of reconciliation and conscientious objection to military service. Most of the school's books were destroyed in 1990 when the Rwandan Patriotic Front first invaded the country from Uganda. The school buildings themselves were the usual type for this area of Rwanda (brick walls, with glass windows, and a corrugated iron roof), tidily and cleanly kept. The school had inadequate dormitory space, for example, sixteen girls sleeping two to a mattress on the floor, covering the whole room from wall to wall with mattresses. Nonetheless students were anxious for education and the lack of education is one of the critical problems for the long-term development of Rwanda.
The team then visited Kidaho Friends Church where a large, enthusiastic group with many children of all ages greeted the team with songs, prayers, and speeches. There was a primary school (one of the four Quaker primary schools in Rwanda) at the Church which the team toured. Conditions in this area were not in the same state of abandonment as in the area around the Mutura Church. While the church members did not report any specific peacemaking activities, when they harvested beans, they brought some to the Church to use in helping those who were in need. No mention was made of this program until the team members asked why the four bags of beans were being stored in the Church's office.
George Fox Secondary School
On Tuesday, the team visited the George Fox Secondary School in Kigali and gave an all- school presentation on peacemaking to the three hundred students of the school. Because of the enthusiasm with which the perception exercise had been received by the Quaker leadership, they asked that the exercise be repeated for the students. The students, whose drawing was closer to the original than their elders, also enjoyed the experiential nature of the exercise.
Later the team met for a conference with the leadership of Rwanda Yearly Meeting to discuss the delegation's stay in Rwanda. It was only at this time that the team learned that approximately thirty members of the Yearly Meeting had gone through a trauma healing workshop organized by the Oasis Institute. By this time we were unable to meet with any of the people who had taken the course to assess its effectiveness or what follow-up activities they had done.
Rev. David Bucura, Assistant Legal Representative, Rwanda Yearly Meeting
While in Uganda, Carl and David met with Rev. David Bucura. He was in Uganda for six months learning English. Upon his return in April and Willard Ferguson taking a year-long sabbatical, Rev. Bucura will become the Legal Representative for the Yearly Meeting. He was most interested in promoting peace, reconciliation, and trauma healing work in Rwanda.
In addition to contacts with the Quaker Church in Rwanda, the team met with four representatives of other religious organizations: Mary Balikungeri, Program Coordinator of Rwanda Women Community Development Network, a project supported by Church World Service; Emmanuel Nsabimana, the General Secretary of the National Christian Council of Rwanda; Jacqueline Mukangira, the Head of the Department of Youth and Women Promotion for the National Christian Council of Rwanda; and Rev. Emmanuel Musaba Kolini, Anglican Archbishop of Rwanda. From these discussions, we concluded that Rwanda as a society is still in a state of shock as to the genocide and its aftermath. People are still trying to analyze and understand what happened and why it happened. Islam has made some inroads in one of the most "Christian" countries of the world, by asserting that the genocide shows that Christianity has failed since it was Christians who killed other Christians. The feeling among some people we spoke with in Rwanda is that convrting people to Christianity is not sufficient in itself--this conversion has to have real meaning in concrete behavioral changes where loving ones neighbor is a commandment kept by all Christians. But little work has yet been done in trying to implement this understanding.
The work by Quaker missionaries in Kenya done in the last 100 years is admirable and reflects their dedication and commitment to the people and the God they were serving. Some of the physical institutions that they and their fellow Kenyan Quakers have established in the Western Province of Kenya are:
Apart from the Quakers it was evident that Nairobi was a center for many organizations dealing in conflict transformation and they were, for the most part, willing to collaborate with any new initiatives focusing on similar issues. Many felt that there was too much conflict in this region and a need for more peace initiatives.
We are supportive of other approaches to assisting Friends in Kenya in bringing the Peace Testimony alive, such as supporting FTC and/or individuals identified with interest and aptitude (i.e. Florence Machayo, Norah Musundi and Ronald Henry Khaemba Mawabi)
SUMMARIES OF DISCUSSIONS AND WORKSHOPS
Joseph Andugu, General Secretary Friends World Committee for
Consultation (FWCC)-Africa Section
Joseph told us about a conference of all 14 Kenyan Yearly Meeting clerks, general secretaries and general superintendents at Kaimosi Teachers College, lasting through the weekend and invited us to attend. Joseph offered us assistance as needed, especially in Western Province. He is open to how we would see FWCC and Yearly Meeting involvement with Peace Initiatives. He recommended we go first, directly and officially to the Yearly Meetings, not to individuals.
The Friends Center in Nairobi hosts about 50 refugees from Rwanda and Burundi. Some of the Burundis are returning back to Burundi. The Yearly Meetings contribute food and clothing and donate to a fund when able. This small fund, supported by Quaker Peace and Service (QPS), is used for the children's primary and secondary education attending school in Kenya.
Joseph suggested we start with a pilot project emphasizing peace education, entering into Quaker educational institutions, beginning with 10 secondary schools. Many graduates from Quaker institutions from the early 1950's are in government and beginning to retire. There is a need for a new generation of Quaker leaders. He suggested we pick a few Yearly Meetings to begin.
FWCC would like to establish a Peace Center in Nairobi. They have requested space from the Yearly Meeting, and if not successful they will look elsewhere. In addition (or in conjunction) to the center, they have requested a house for the executive secretary. The center would be used first by the refugees for peace education, reconciliation, building fellowship and resettlement education. Secondly, it would be used as an educational center for the Clerks, especially to address the infighting. This is a key point to enter into the Yearly Meetings. Thirdly, it would function as a training center in Christian peace education for the heads of Quaker Institutions, providing guidance and counseling. He sees an extension site, such as Friends Theological College (FTC), as possible in this regard. Joseph would like to see peace education as part of the curriculum at FTC. Overall he sees the peace center as a place to divulge information to trainees. Finally the peace center could promote ecumenical understanding, espcially to address issues around ethnic violence. This would involve other churches interested in peace--widening the circle to a national outlook using peace education to instill the concept of peaceful co-existence. It could extend services to other countries as well. FWCC has a committee on Peace and Social Concerns and Development with members based in Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo. Joseph said that Wilson Ingosi was part of a subcommittee of the executive committee with the clerk being Philomine Chilimamboa. There are other groups such as the United Society of Friends Women (USFW) and Young Quaker Association to link with. Joseph suggested we ask the Clerks if they know the individual Quakers who have contacted us, and if they are in good standing with the Yearly Meetings.
We asked Joseph what he thought of FPTP's idea to support Quaker peace efforts in the region, and what his vision for regional peace team would be. His response was that he could only share the conclusions of the FWCC executive committee with us and their concept of a peace center.
When we inquired about the concept of volunteerism in the African context, Joseph said we must facilitate involvement and minimally meet transportation needs. How participants are chosen is an important question, as well as their economic base, as attention will be divided if they are focused on where their income will come from. From both sides, it is important to be explicit about how much time/energy is required.
George Wachira, Director,Nairobi Peace Initiative (NPI)
NPI's primary focus is on conflict resolution in the Great Lakes region. The delegation was seeking out NGO's with the goal to hear from those that have been involved in the area of conflict transformation to learn about the experiences that have taught them and informed them about the nature of conflict in the region.
George Wachira felt leaders in the region lacked commitment to maintain a peaceful environment for the people. This lack of commitment has degenerated into an endorsement for turmoil and upheaval. NPI focuses not only on at the grassroots level of the conflict but also at the leadership level where the decisions and policies are made. His recommended a multi-pronged strategy in order to address the problem from all sides.
We asked how NPI approaches organizing and specifically about per diems. He suggested that they never use money as an incentive to bring people to the workshops. Rather they reimburse people for their transportation costs, provide room and board, and about $5 a day for necessities such as telephone calls and laundry.
He suggested that if a peace team was to benefit Kenya, it had to have a realist strategy including time invested in understanding the history and culture of the conflicts in the region before developing easy answers to the problems. This, in his view, would take at least one year. When he was asked whether he saw a need for another peace team in the region, he was very positive that would be a good addendum to a large region with great needs.
Harold Miller, Assistant to the Executive Director, All African Council
That evening we visited with Harold Miller, a friend of David Zarembka. His premise was centered on the new and exciting role of African traditional religion and what it has to offer in the area of peace and conflict resolution. He cited a number of home grown approaches to the whole area of peace initiatives one of them being an artist from the Sudan who has collected traditional art forms that symbolize peace and used for peace as a reminder that the African culture and tradition had its own organic approaches to conflict. This to Harold is important and to the most part needs to be accentuated even more by any incoming peace initiative. In his view unmuzzling the traditional African systems that were in place before colonialism is cardinal and the key to getting Africa back on track.
National Friends Pastors Conference, Kaimosi, Western Province, Kenya
At this weekend conference, Joseph Andugu introduced us to representatives from all the yearly meetings in Kenya in attendance. David Philips, Don Garner and David Brock from Indiana Yearly Meeting were there as well to make presentations on the role of Pastors, Clerks and General Superintendents. The focus of the meeting in Kaimosi was to develop unity between clerks and pastors. We met with representatives from nearly all the yearly meetings in Kenya, and conducted several lengthy interviews to gain a better understanding of the situation Quakers face and current peace projects and approaches.
We gave a short presentation Saturday morning. Jill introduced FPTP while Derreck introduced the delegation and purpose of our trip. We then led the group through several exercises after a brief introduction to conflict resolution themes (problem solving, communication, cooperation and affirmation). We did adjective names, had two volunteers model listening and non-listening (followed by discussion), and then broke into small groups to develop 5 things each had in common. The response was very positive. Afterwards there was a lot of energy and we were approached by more of the representatives to visit their Yearly Meetings.
John Muhanji, Nairobi Yearly Meeting and Africa Quaker Vision
Nairobi Yearly Meeting has not developed its own peace initiatives. Africa Quaker Vision came out of a National Youth Summit on Peace, a Quaker youth gathering held in 1997 for East Africa. John Muhanji said any mission needs to be centered on the gospel, and focus on organizing seminars and workshops on peace and raise awareness of peace principles. It should focus first on Quakers and then on other groups, and reach beyond Christian groups. Criteria for location should be based on access to good means of communication, number of Quakers in the area and the need for peace.
Africa Quaker Vision (Interviewed in Nairobi by Bill and Rosemarie
On the afternoon of January 1st, 1999, Bill and Rosemarie met for several hours with Lotan Migaliza and Samson Ababu Gimongo, who were later joined by Jotham Kagota Lubia. Lotan is the co-ordinator, Samson the secretary and Jotham a field officer of Africa Quaker Vision. It should be mentioned that John Muhanji is the fourth member of the Secretariat of AQV and its treasurer. As he is also the secretary to the Friends Pastors' Conference (Africa), he was in Western Kenya at that conference.
The three Friends presented to us a copy of the AQUAVIS booklet (to be released in February) and various other written materials about their project, which grew out of a concern to spread Quakerism to the countries of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, and led them in 1996 to travel to Johannesburg to meet with Friends there. They were surprised to find few and mainly expatriate Friends in that meeting. Africa Quaker Vision was born after that visit and has essentially two parts to it: Evangelism and Service. Under "service" fall (in Nairobi): the hospitality program (e.g. we were picked up at the airport and taken to where we were staying), workshops and seminars on AIDS awareness and Drug Abuse and providing help to the victims of the Nairobi bomb blast.
In the planning stages are: Working with street children and establishing a Nairobi Friends Church Library.
According to the three Friends, the publication of the AQUAVIS booklet is historic, in that it is the first homegrown publication by African Quakers. All other written materials used by Friends in Africa have hitherto come from the USA or UK.
Envisaged steps by the project are:
When we asked the question, if only evangelizing was envisaged, the reply was very
definite that AQV hoped to address the whole person, and that health care and education
were as important as spreading the gospel and were to go hand in hand. This is,
apparently, not what has happened in Kenyan Quaker Churches up to this point, which have
focussed on Bible teaching and preaching. Social service to the wider community has been
neglected, at least in the view of the three men with whom we met.
These were the points stressed by the group in its presentation to us, though there are others mentioned in their written material. We had an overall favourable impression of the three Friends. They seemed open to the suggestion that AVP and other non-violence training could be part of their project and helpful in creating community in existing and new Friends Churches. One of them had undergone limited Change Agent training and found it helpful. Unfortunately, that project never took hold in Kenya.
Aggrey Mukulima, General Superintendent of Nairobi Yearly Meeting
Aggreey Mukilima reported thata they work closely with FWCC-Africa Section and Joseph Andugu, and reach beyond Christian groups. Criteria for location should be access to good means of communication, number of Quakers in the area and the need for peace.
Joseph Kisia, Clerk, East Africa Yearly Meeting South
Joseph Kisia was a tutor in Peace, Justice and Reconciliation at Friends Theological Seminary. Previously each meeting had a peace concerns committee that dealt primarily with land issues and marital differences. Most of these evolved into mission commissions (evangelism). There are no bodies able to deal with the ethnic differences. These differences still act as a bottleneck to coming together as one church. He began the course at Friends Theological College as an attempt to address this problem. It helped bring young friends and women together, resulting in the formation of their associations. He felt that a peace building course should be incorporated into the requirements necessary to become a clerk. After he described the region (125 miles by 20 miles), he recommended a central place for the location of a peace team. Of course he would prefer Vihiga.
Later we learned from Oscar Lahambo that the Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation course at Friends Theological Seminary had been cut due to funding problems. The minutes of a board meeting indicates they intend to reinstate such a course.
Mrs. Adala, principal of Kaimosi Teachers College
Mrs Idala is the new principal of Kaimosi Teachers College. The Teachers College brings students from around the country together to develop understanding, appreciation and respect for one another. She looks forward to working together with the Yearly Meetings, and she hopes to lift up the school in the best way possible. She hopes that Friends will hold more seminars at the school. There are about 470 students enrolled in the school. The staff is comprised of people from different religions and there is one patron on staff for each religion.
Rich Davis, Director, Friends Theological College
Rich Davis and his wife, Sandy, have been in Kaimosi for one year. They were originally going to be Friends United Meeting representatives in the region, but now is also Director of Friends Theological College. They have visited 13 of the 14 Yearly Meetings and talked to about 90 local meetings in the time they've been in Kenya.
Friends Theological College (FTC) was previously known as Friends Bible School. It is about 40 years old. It hasn't received much attention in the last 5 years and was rather run down when they arrived. They had 17 students and are now up to 30 excellent students.
He hopes to develop a three-year diploma program for Pastors and link with an accredited school so the students' work would be able to apply to a degree. He talked about how the Quakers here were a rural church (for the most part) and the need to work at the level of the people. Most of the current Quaker pastors have come through FTC, and the good result can be seen. In 1995 a solid curriculum was developed but it has not yet been implemented. Later the break-ups began and progress stagnated.
In addition to the longer program, FTC offered short courses of 1-3 months. The participants of these courses received the same certificate as those in the longer program. Younger people are spirit filled and want more accountability. They are looking to make sense of where the church fits in. Rich has hope for the evangelical Quaker Church in this regard.
While Rich stated that he was willing for Friends Theological College to help spread the peace testimony, the college would need outside assistance to bring the peace testimony alive. With assistance they could offer seminars, courses or training. He would welcome peace studies into the curriculum, but needs information and resources especially on what is happening in other Quaker schools. He is not aware of peace or conflict studies programs.
In addition to meeting with Kaimosi, Rich recommended visiting Chavakali (Samuel Amani) and Nairobi Yearly Meetings.
Lugari Yearly Meeting
Lugari Yearly Meeting has 1500 members and 32 Monthly Meetings. We met with 18-21 members of the Yearly meeting for a short workshop arranged prior to our arrival. We began with a song, prayer and introductions. We explained why we were visiting and then examined the group member's understanding of peace (using chain exercise). Jill interspersed short talks on nonviolence and group building with exercises. We focused on how we can be promoters of peace, looking at how to build unity and trust, and how to develop skills needed in peace making. They need AVP and other materials. Mention was made of representation of Quakers with EU in Brussels and a desire for more influence in Kenya. Steve Angel with two others led an AVP training in the area in 1996. A basic question was what can be done to have a voice in the Parliament. Exercises we worked on included web chart on conflict, cross the line and gift giving.
We stayed with Florence and Joseph Machayo. They were wonderful hosts and very committed to working on peace issues. Joseph is a farmer and working to improve the agriculture school. Florence has worked in consumer rights nationally as well as in the region. She is very interested and has a good background to be an African partner in a peace initiative in Kenya.
The following morning we met with the women and men in separate groups for several hours. The main focus of the meeting with the men was the ethnic clashes that took place in 1997. The clashes affected the region and they were very interested in any initiative that will help build trust and nurture peace between their people and those that are now their sworn enemies. We also talked about the domestic violence and how that can be addressed and their suggestion was an educational process that invests in raising awareness among men regarding family abuses and respect for their wives.
Jill met with an interdenominational group of about 13 women primarily from the surrounding area. We looked at the difficulties women face and how they help each other. The women meet regularly in homes, each contributing a small amount of money which is given to the host. Money was the primary thing most felt they benefitted from the group, but when pressed they also could name: help with school fees, to pay someone to dig, cash flow problems (especially relating to household needs and the burden having guests poses in this regard), counsel, emergency needs (give maize to sell), give things that others need, education sharing knowledge, happiness of being together, friendships among younger and older women, secret friends (doing nice things for each other), food, bedding, utensils, weeding, help with household problems children and husbands. Stella's group (Machayo's sister-in-law) has a cooperative gardening scheme where they sell the vegetables to schools.
We talked a fair amount about the difficulties women face and the effects of oppression. Jill emphasized affirmation trying to, in as many ways as possible, underscore how important they were as people. I talked about my own experience with abuse and how important it is to find and preserve one's dignity. There was much warming up at this point in the meeting, but not a willingness to discuss the topic in depth.
Jill thought that the meeting was concluded, but the women were not satisfied and wanted her to "teach" them something. She led an exercise, asking them to discuss in pairs was what they liked about themselves, and then to share something their partner said. When they introduced each other, they shared items that focused on what they did and liked to do--not what they liked about themselves. They had to go around again to underscore the importance of seeing that they are valuable in and of themselves.
While in Kaimosi, we had arranged to visit the two yearly meetings based in Kitale Elgon East Yearly Meeting and East Africa Yearly Meeting North.
Upon arrival in Kitale, we were warmly greeted by a gathering of members from Elgon East Yearly Meeting. The meeting had a well prepared agenda--devotion, introductions, tea, welcoming speeches, brief history of the yearly meeting, FPTP presenting reason for visit, reaction from the floor, lunch and tour to areas of concern.
There were lots of greetings, song and prayer. The General Superintendent Maurice Simiyu and the Youth Pastor (Ngoya) led the devotion. It was good that Mr. and Mrs. Machayo brought us, as the two yearly meetings had not been in contact. Mr. Machayo suggested more meetings, and a possible exchange of pastors.
Esther Musamia, the presiding clerk of the USFW of the yearly meeting and John Kitui presiding clerk of the meeting both delivered welcoming speeches. The General Secretary, Philip Musugu shared a brief history of the yearly meeting. The Yearly Meeting was formed in August, 1993 and currently consists of 138 village meetings.
After Jill introduced FPTP, a few members of the meeting responded to the inquiry, "What peace efforts is the meeting engaged in or working toward?" They emphasized the need for development assistance, especially the lack of capital for income generating projects. They said they preach the word through their actions. They are organized by Quarterly meetings. One is building a bridge and churches "to fortify our existence and to show we are here." The Nbongo Quarterly Meeting has a peace committee that goes house to house to visit members and pray, primarily made up of women pastors. They have a condolence fund that each meeting contributes to. They give a share of their farm to develop the church. They also have "miracle rounds" of women supporting each other with especially the old and poor with utensils, clothes and cash. They also sell handwork (weaving, pottery, embroidery) to raise money to fund members. They encourage peaceful homes.
The Mitua Quarterly Meeting has an AIDs organization, and especially assist when someone passes. The have a tree planting project and raise funds for FTC, as well as Miracle Rounds. The Yearly meeting has a 59 member board. The women participate as they are able. Some have grown up in the meeting. They visit the homes of the elderly and have a treasury for destitute. They care for some misplaced children who parents died in the clashes. They have the idea of opening a small store as a means of income generation. The Peace Committees are organized from the yearly to monthly meeting level and are led by pastors. They would like a Rural Service Project here. Registered members are asked to contribute 1000 Kenyan shillings each (US$16).
The youth presently belong to Young Quakers, and are comprised of primary through university age (46 years down to primary school age). They are a mixed gender group and they organize annual youth camps for the whole yearly meeting in April. It is time for learning, preaching, spiritual counseling. They address multiple problems, controversial questions, and how to bring about changes. Their aim is to train youth to take over when the elders step back. They are planning an evangelism project that involves sending out pastors to preach to youth. They hope to work beyond Friends in Kenya, including attending international meetings. They meet with youth of other yearly meetings. One or two participated in the QCAD (Quaker Change Agent for Development), a program from Uganda.
United Society of Friends Women (USFW)
Jill then met with 12 women from the Yearly Meeting's United Society of Friends Women. When she asked them about what peace work they are involved in, they primarily talked about parenting. In addition to being moderate with children, parents needing to be peaceful with one another, not isolating non-Christians, extending assistance to them as well and sharing together. They talked about the importance of being a good example, loving, visiting, and befriending others.
Rose Barmaisaii, National Christian Council of Kenya (NCCK)
She works for the Anglican church as the Peace Initiative director. She was very receptive to the idea of another peace initiative in the region especially by the Quakers. She suggested that a peace team in the area on the coast of Mombasa as a prospect for no one has attempted to mediate between the Muslims and non Muslims in the area. That needs to be done to avoid constant conflicts and disdain between the people. She was of the opinion that Nairobi would be the right place to base a peace team because it would automatically put the team in a position to network easily with the many organizations that are headquartered there. Also in terms of communication with the outside world Nairobi is more connected and a central place for those that have projects all over the region.
According to her the focus of the peace team at this point would be to bring unity among all those organizations that are doing something around peace. They need common goals and objectives so that one issue after another can be tabled and dealt with systematically. It must also be a peace team that had enough funding so that it can have a lasting and long term presence in the region. It must focus on sustainable peace by drawing from the understanding of the people and respecting the depth of the conflicts as historical and political in nature.
East Africa Yearly Meeting North
We met with about 12 members of the Yearly Meeting including Rondal Henry, Khaimba Mawabi (General Secretary) and Joshua Masakha (Presiding Clerk. Nora Musundi, a pastor and USFW member, shared a lot about their work with the National Christian Council of Kenya's (NCCK) Team for Peace Making. For four years she and Ronald were members of the National Peace Task Force, the only Quakers and initially she the only women (later 8 others joined). They traveled around the region to assess the situation after the clashes, attending gatherings in churches and markets. They were lucky to be exposed to the peacemaking in the society and received much help from the other church leaders. When she returned from this work, she continued to assist by setting up feeding centers for displaced families. They set up a committee and various centers. She and her husband gave a former home and one acre to the community, initially 12 families used it. They focused on housing families and children. They worked to establish a dspensary that would provide free treatment for victims, especially children. They decided to focus on this one center. It started as a temporary home, became a feeding center for children, and eventually became the dispensary. It is a center for people of 3 tribes (Tesso, Mukusu and Maisai Elgon) and serves also as a meeting place. Mama Nora liked the idea of a peace team. She feels support from the Yearly Meeting and from FWCC-African Section for this. They want to build on the experience they had. At the time of the clashes the youth built a house near the dispensary with Friends worldwide. Ronald approved of the regional perspective of the project (Great Lakes) and spoke about the need to resolve conflicts without bloodshed. He spoke about the clashes and how some believe the tribes were prepared, caused death and displacement, etc. When clashes occur, those better armed suffer less damage.
The NCCK effort focused on discovering what happened, working for understanding, providing material support and shelter in churches and church compounds. He said that Mosques were not involved. NCCK coordinated the effort among churches, NPI provided training. From Kitale they provided further training and facilitated local efforts. They are the only Yearly meeting with this kind of practical peace making experience.
Ronald approved of the regional perspective of the project (Great Lakes) and spoke about the need to resolve conflicts without bloodshed. He mentioned that there were still problems in the coastal areas as well. The NCCK peace initiative remains with a focus on reconciliation and building peace teams in villages to address divisions within the district. They help form committees, train people and then facilitate the initiatives. The work is seen as successful the initiative is underway but goals not yet met. He hopes that the NCCK effort can be a model for the region. He sees the difficult problems in the Great Lakes region and the difficulties in their own back yard. He does not want to redirect the focus, but really Kenya needs to overcome her own difficulties. They have the capacity and can support peace making, but in their situation they haven't achieved much.
Ronald talked about the effects of the tribal clashes on the Quakers in Kenya. From 1991/2-1995, during the clashes, the splits among Quakers accelerated. This also effected how Quakers were seen from the outside. He asked, "How can we be peacemakers when we cannot get along internally?" He requested assistance from NCCK, NPI and other professionals to help with the Quaker problems. The NCCK organized a workshop in Kakamega to address the Quaker conflict, to bring people together to discuss it. Interest dropped off due to mistrust, lack of training, delays with the minutes holding up the process. That is how the process ended. I wondered if this is when the legal battles began. Nora related that this is partly how their home evolved into a peace center. They wanted to really uphold Quaker values. Now they are moving toward unifying under a secretariat that would coordinator and assist in cooperation. Some individual meetings are not going along, and it will clearly be a slow process. They prefer a process hat will create peace and end in reconciliation that will strengthen them. Now they are moving towards unifying under a secretariat that would coordinate and assist in cooperation between yearly meetings. Some individual meetings are not going along, and it will clearly be a slow process. They prefer a process that will create peace and end in reconciliation that will strengthen them.
The team traveled to the north of Tanzania, to meet with Maryknoll representatives and one Quaker Meeting. When they arrived in Musoma, Tanzania, they met a Methodist missionary who offered them hospitality in their guest house.
Kim Crutchfield, Minister, Methodist Church
The Methodist Mission works primarily on the Musoma side of Lake Victoria. The focus is mission work. Kim felt that there was not much need for peace initiatives in Tanzania. The biggest problem was cattle raiding, locally around Tarime. The bandits have been armed since about 1978 when they fought with Idi Amin. Kim said he had first hand experience with how destructive money can be when poured in. He shared stories of some of his experiences. He recommended the best way to reach peacemakers/leaders is through existing institutions where they receive training churches, groups, colleges. He mentioned a Mennonite Theological College and the Methodist Leadership Institute.
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