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"Seven weeks to look, see, learn, and share some skills in Conflict Resolution…
For over a year this journey has gradually been coming together. But the seeds were sown over 40 years ago when serving in Tanzania with the Peace Corps."  

August 5, 2007      Nairobi

I'm in good hands here in Nairobi after a long, bumpy bus ride from Kakamega down to the tea growing county near Kericho, then through the Rift Valley, with large wheat fields, and herds of Zebra and buffalo crossing what passes for a highway here. It's terribly damaged by heavy trucks and lack of maintenance. I don't know how a car or bus makes two trips over that road without a major overhaul, new suspension, etc.

I initially declined an invitation from Donald and Ruth Thomas and chose to stay in a hotel, but they sent another invitation, and fortunately for me I accepted. If any of you who read this ever have the honor of an invite from them, do not hesitate. They are incredible. They've been here since the late fifties, Donald as an agronomist with the old colonial service, he's been a Kenya citizen since 1965. He also plays cello. Ruth grew up in Indiana though ironically born in Dayton of all places, where I grew up. She worked for years in acquistions for the American Library of Congress out here. They've farmed in the Rift Valley for 10 years, then moved into Nairobi, raised a family of interesting children and have a beautiful house, garden, art collection, library and host every quaker it seems who comes through Nairobi. It turns out we know a number of people mutually from my old days out here. One, David Court, will be coming over for tea tomorrow after my class. He worked for the Rockefeller Foundation out here for years. We played rugby together when I was in the Peace Corps in Tanzania.

I'm spending Sunday relaxing from my trip. I was house guest number two , but am now elevated to the only guest. Ann Dusseau who was at Kakamega up until last week, has spent the last few days here and just left for home. She is a retired social worker from Boise, Idaho, and became a brick mason while in Kakamega on the Peace Center building project.

Tomorrow I begin my last class of mediation (number 7) before going down to Tanzania and eventually home on August 25. I hope to meet Steve Fisher one of my Peace Corps colleagues from 1966 who has retired to Tanzania. He's travelling the game park circuit with his daughter who lives in New York. The class will be made up of refugees from Burundi, Rwanda, the Congo, and maybe some internally displaced persons from Kenya. It will last three days. Again I'm following in the tracks of Judy Friesem and her husband Kim Bush who were out here earlier this year. I'm to take the students to the next phase and help them organize into an effect group of mediators.

I'm typing this overlooking a beautiful English/African garden. I may even go for a run in my boxers this afternoon.

Take care,
George

 

 

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