March 23, 2008
As you may remember, I have spent the last three weeks in the United
States participating in the Friends Peace Teams annual meeting and making
15 presentations on Kenya including one radio interview. The presentations
went well and there was a larger turnout than expected at most of the
talks. Many of the people who attended received my emailed reports from
Kenya, others were long-time AGLI supporters, and a number of Kenyan
nationals came (and approved most of what I said). The talk included
my nine interpretations of the events in Kenya. I hope to get a chance
to write it up, in which case you will receive a copy.
Gladys and I will be returning to the United States from June 15 to
about July 15 so anyone who would like to arrange for us to address a
group during that time, please let me know.
Adrien Niyongabo who directs the HROC program in Burundi is currently
giving talks in the US. He will speak Tuesday, March 25 at 6:30 pm at
Fifteenth Street Meeting in New York City: contact Anna Crumley-Effinger
via email@example.com From April 3-5 Adrien will attend
the FWCC Section of the Americas Annual Meeting near Indianapolis. Along
with Adrian Bishop, clerk of Friends Peace Teams Council he will present
an evening interest group. On Sunday, April 6th Adrien will speak at
Adelphi Friends Meeting in Maryland.
Florence Ntakarutimana, also from the HROC program in Burundi, will
be in the United States on a speaking tour from June 11 to July 13. She
will attend Illinois Yearly Meeting from June 18 to 22 and will be the
evening speaker on Thursday. Then Florencewill travel to Urbana-Champaign
Monthly Meeting in Illinois, and Inter-Mountain Yearly Meeting June 11-15
at Ghost Ranch in Colorado. Florence will attend both the Friends General
Conference Gathering in Johnstown, PA and Friends United Meeting Triennial.
Following this the plan is for her to travel to Colombia, South America,
to introduce the Healing and Rebuilding Our Community program (HROC)
along with Theoneste Bizimana from HROC in Rwanda.
Theoneste will then come to the United States where he will attend Iowa
Yearly Meeting (Conservative) from July 29 to Aug 3. He will be the evening
speaker on Wednesday, July 30th. Afterward he will join the sessions
of New England Yearly Meeting.
This fall, in October/November, we plan to bring Getry Agizah, the AVP
Coordinator in Kenya, to the US for a speaking tour.
If you would like to host an event with any of these speakers, please
let me know. Sooner is better. You can learn more about each of these
African Partners on our new website
at the same url, www.aglionline.org.
We returned to Kenya on Friday (3/21) and came back to Lumakanda on
Saturday. As I
move around I will have more comments on the situation--we hope to visit
displaced people from Lumakanda in Turbo tomorrow. The mood in Nairobi
quite as buoyant as the reports I was reading from Kenya on the internet.
is relieved that a seemingly successful power-sharing agreement has been
concern is now that all three major political parties are in the government,
together so nicely, perhaps the bad old days of one-party dictatorship
can easily return
in the form of a three party dictatorship. This remains to be seen.
As we traveled up-country through Naivasha, Nakuru, Timbaroroa, Burnt
Forest, Eldoret, and Turbo--all hard-hit by the violence-- we could see
the plastic huts of many displaced people still in the camps alongside
the road. There was the same destruction of houses, shops, and farms
as we could see before, but seeing all this again was discouraging since
it all seemed so unnecessary.
After a year of delays,
AVP-Western Kenya conducted the first two basic workshops with the
Turkana and Pokot. The first was with older participants
while the second had younger ones. There were only three women in the
first workshop and two in the second, which Getry was concerned about.
Since I had been told that the men would not want women to attend until
they had "checked it out," this seemed a step forward. There
were a total of ten AVP workshops while we were away including a good
one here in Lumakanda. We are going to do some advanced workshops so
that we can conduct another "Training for Facilitators" so
we will have additional facilitators available to conduct workshops.
When we left for the US, it was still the dry season and dust was everywhere
months of almost no rain. By the time we returned the rainy season had
come to Lumakanda so the air and atmosphere is very different. After
the dry season, the first rain is like the first snow for a five year
old in America. Here everything stops for that first rain. The dogs bark,
the cows jump up and down, the children go run in the rain and wiggle
their toes in the mud, and everyone looks forward to planting of the
new crops. It's a different kind of spring.
But the rainy season also means a lot of clouds so I don't know how
much electricity my
solar panel will be generating. My time on the laptop may become limited.
But the day
before we returned, the electric company finally put the poles and wires
to our house
(we applied in September). Of course they haven't put in the electric
meter yet. So
communication will be touch and go (or rather "sun or meter").
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