Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Reflection is Magical!

Despite the anxiety of what the Peace Circles were all about, the 18 women of Loruk, Baringo East, were very receptive and really appreciated the Creators of Peace training which took place on the 10-12 Feb, 2016. Loruk is a village shared by three communities in Baringo, Pokot, Tugen and Turkana.  The area is characterized by cattle rustling entangled with conflicts and violence. Many of them shared that even though they had heard about peace, the perspective that Peace Circles gave on the topic was very different and much more inspiring. Almost all of the women had never heard of reflections or inner peace and that meant that they really took the practice very seriously.  ‘Reflection was magical,’ Fiona said. The training definitely had a great impact on the lives of those women and they all had something to say.

Eunice could not hide her joy. ‘You are God sent,’ she said. 'From my birth till now; I have lived in hurt and pain.’  She was rejected by her parents for refusing to be married off as a young girl. According to their Turkana culture, only a man of her community could marry her and have his dowry accepted. That did not happen and she married a man from a different community - the Pokot. This angered her parents who in turn “cursed” her. And she believes that the “curse” is to blame for the death of her husband which happened shortly after they got married leaving her pregnant. When she got a job in a local Missionary Hospital as a cleaner, her mother would come and take all her salary leaving her without any money to support her. It was so bad that when she gave birth to her child with no one to help her, she would drink a mixture of soil and water to keep her alive. ‘When my mother was informed of my suffering, she said that I should slice up my son and eat him up.’  Eunice was very grateful for the Peace Circles for helping her face and deal with her more than 30 years of bitterness towards her family - her mother and siblings. ‘I have learnt the meaning of power of forgiveness,’ she concluded.

‘I feel refreshed and willing to change. ‘Creators of Peace has molded me and I will work hard to be a peace creator,’ said one of the participants during the reflection session.  ‘I am now happy and free. I thought I had peace but through Peace Circles, I found that it was phony peace.Inner peace is magical,’ said another. ‘Forgiveness has changed me and will heal my family too,’ commented yet another.

They committed themselves to do their best and also to pray that peace will prevail in Baringo County. They desire to see their children going back to school; - m;any of them don’t go to school -  either because the girls have been married off at an early age, or the boys are herding the cattle. The women expressed their appreciation for Peace Circles saying that such programs would help the three communities embrace the importance of education and long lasting peace in the area.

They are very determined and formed a group called Loruk Women Ambassadors of Peace as a way forward. It is a unique group because it consists of the three communities in the region and if given support, it can be the beginning of dealing with the ethnic divides in the area.

The Creators of Peace Kenya team is grateful to the Swedish grant for the financial support that made this Peace Circles training possible. The team is also grateful to IofC Kenya for the general support that they offer to ensure the success of the program.

Facilitated and reported by Annastasia Munene and Rose Njeri.