Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Basic values matters - Creators of Peace circles in Kapchomuso village, Baringo county, Kenya

On 4th April, the Creators of Peace (CoP) team set off for Kapchomuso village in Kabarnet, Baringo County for a Peace Circles training that brought together 15 women participants from 5-7 April 2016. Actually, 20 women had been invited by the ground CoP Ambassador- Elizabeth. Sadly, a former participant tried to incite the invited participants to ignore the training because CoP doesn’t give 'sitting allowance' (paying persons to attend). She managed to win five women! The 15 that came for the three days were the right participants who knew why they wanted to be part of the training. They were determined and even brought their own writing materials as a show of commitment to the peace training. Every session was received with the seriousness it deserved and the participants were actively involved.

Anna, a teacher by profession, appreciated the lessons she learnt. Despite being a teacher for a very long time, she had never taken seriously some basic values, which CoP was emphasizing. She found them insightful. Ordinarily, she looked at other communities and politicians as he destroyers of peace. She was challenged when she realized that peace had to start with her and in her family. She took a bold step. On arrival home she apologized to her husband for her mistakes in their marriage.  Her husband so was amazed by her response and change of heart that he accompanied her on the final day of the training. He requested to present his wife the CoP certificate of participation and told her that it will be something to remember because it had made a difference in their lives. It was a lovely and transforming scene!

We are often too afraid to take the lead because of fear of the unknown,’ Susan commented. Before the end of the three days training, she had already taken the initiative to reconcile with one of her long time rivals. She even bought an item from her rival's shop- something she had avoided for a long time. She was amazed at how well her enemy responded to reconciliation after such a long time.  ‘Today I have learnt to let every good thing begin where I am before I can pass it on to others. Even my dad, who caused our family so much pain - after selling our family land and misusing all the money drinking. Today I forgive him and will make peace with him.”

The pain of a mother losing her teenage school going child to early marriage is one that had disturbed Margaret for many years. She even confessed to having threatened to kill her daughter if she went ahead and married the man who was making her leave school - but her daughter still got married. She was determined to get the man who married her teenage daughter imprisoned for not less than 20 years at whatever cost. She would go to church to pray about it and she would find herself sometimes crying bitterly. After the Peace Circle made a decision that she would arrange for a visit to her daughter’s place and ask for forgiveness from her and her son in law.

“All topics were connected and very helpful,” said Mary.  Jane too echoed Mary’s sentiments and added that everything from then on would become possible because she had now learnt how to plan her life better through inner listening and reflections.

As a way forward the women decided to visit each other’s churches and conduct forums that would train other women to be creators of peace starting with their own homes.

They also agreed to teach the same to other women at their various Chama’s (Merry- go- rounds). In order to keep the group intact they selected three officials to represent the entire group.  Their job would be to call for meetings whenever there was need and dispatch any helpful information to all the members. There was a lot of song and dance as the women received their certificates and later shared a meal together.

Despite the challenge at the beginning, the workshop had so many success stories. The women had the privilege of listening to a former Member of County Assembly. Five other men from the community, who had come to the closing ceremony, urged the women to practice what they had learnt and also spread it to other women. This way, the whole community would benefit since Kapchomuso village is part of Kabarnet town, which is a multi-cultural area and therefore peace is paramount.

The former Member of County Assembly is a son of one of the participants who had hosted the CoP team. He promised to go and see the Baringo County Governor and tell him about the good work he witnessed happening on the ground.

                                                                                                                                                                       Facilitated and reported by Mumbi Wambugu and Ann Gitu