07 July 2006

More fun with goats

You really haven't lived until you've travelled in a tro-tro (bus) with two goats in the back. That's how I came to camp this morning. I've only got a short time to write, but want to talk more about my work with the peace cells and at the mothers center.

Peace cells
There are 12 zones in camp, and currently 10 have active cells. Each cell meets every two weeks on a rotation. We mobilize the days zone each morning and afternoon, going door to door to invite people to the meetings. The meetings are at 5pm (white people time, as one zone leader joked) and are usually outside under some trees. This place is very loud, so it takes discipline to block out all the distractions and various Celine Dion tapes/chickens/children. This month we are discussing Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Yesterday we had a particularly moving conversation. These first two weeks, we're talking about the role of law in a society, and it amazes me how much the Liberians cling onto the law. Then again, their country collapsed and violence reigned, so I think they see law as a source of peace. Yet yesterday, for the first time, I actually heard people say it was ok to break the law if injustice is being done to you. That was comforting to my western ears.

Mothers Center
The Mothers Center provides vocational and literacy training to women with families to support at no charge to them. There is also a weekly peace class, followed by a weekly health class. I've taken the peace class for the month, and today we discussed different types of conflict and how conflict effects/affects people and changes their reactions. I only had two students (most volunteers insist upon at least three, but these two seemed really eager). Our conversation was incredible. I don't know if they know it yet, but those ladies definitely taught me a lot in that one session. Primarily, they emphasized one thing in particular as a prerequisite for peace: the ability to love. That was an amazing lesson, and often gets overlooked in the formal classroom.

Other tidbits
I'm settling in ok otherwise. I'm taking tonight to myself at the house for some much needed peace away from 10 other people. Then I'll join them tomorrow at the beach through Sunday.

We teach about women role models in the peace education class, but the curriculum only uses Western women. If any of you have any names/info about African women (my internet access is limited), please send it to me via email!

Peace. L2E.


Matt said...

Keep your knees loose, be safe and have the experience of a lifetime.

laura said...

stuff i'd check out:

The African Indigenous Women’s Organization (AIWO) is a pan-African advocacy organization based in Kenya which publishes Nomadic News, an African indigenous news magazine. For more information, please contact:

Ms. Lucy Mulenkei (chief editor of Nomadic News)
Galexon House, Third Floor
Rm. 303 B, Kenyatta Market
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel : 2542-72 39 58
Fax : 72 96 07
African Women's Bibliographic Database
The Association of South African Women in Science and Engineering (SA WISE)

let me know if there are specifics things you need - or if you can't get to the links.

peace out dawg!

Michaela said...

An obvious choice would be Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan woman who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her Green Belt Movement and for kicking ass, in general. Don't let Africa get you down; it's never quite what you expect, but take advantage of every opportunity you get to learn or to teach while you're there! Take care!