"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 6-8, 2007     Nairobi Training

The training was conducted at the new Peace Center attached to the Friends Church on Ngong Road, Nairobi.

To our knowledge this was the first meeting and official money maker for the center as the local group paid Sh 1000 for use of the meeting room.

The group consisted of 25 people , most of whom were refugees from Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo. Their needs were quite different from the other groups I'd been with, as their lives were much less stable. They are looking for places to emigrate to and settle. Their incomes are very small by local standards and they are often vicitimized by their hosts. The police come and search their premises, harrass them and they have no recourse. The temptation to ask for assistance of any kind is overwhelming and difficult to refuse.

There were people of many levels of education and experience among the group. Participation and questions were intense. I taught the course in English and it was translated to Swahili. We followed fairly much the plan of the other courses. Develop a list of the participants' questions and specific needs, review some of their cases that they had already done, and review process and talk about some practical applications. Though not as active as some of the other groups , the cases were similar. They had done a total of 12 cases that they could name at the time of the training.

The need to find examples and cases to mediate was stated in the training. However this may be more of a challenge as they will have very little institutional support from the Kenyan authorities. Mediation will probably be mainly within the refugee community.

They too have planned additional meetings to share their experiences with each other. The instability of the community may make mediation more difficult to cultivate. No one wants to stay there permanently.

This wraps up the courses and training on this journey.

They were as follows:

Kigali 1 day with students from Ecole Libre de Kigali 25 participants
Gisenyi 2 day AVP from Friends Church 20 participants
Goma 2 day mediation from Friends Church/ and other 23 participants
Kigali 3 day mediation from Friends church/ and other 18 participants
Bujumbura 2 day mediation from Friends church 15 participants
Kakamega 2 day mediation from Friends/ and other 8 participants
Nairobi 3 day mediation from Friends/and other 25 participants
15 days training 134 participants
8 days on buses

To all who contributed to this journey with their kind words and financial support, I wish to thank you so much. And to all the people who supported me on the ground in Africa
and to those who participated in the trainings I wish you all receive back what you have given to me a hundred times over.


Report on Kakamega/Lubao Training

I arrived from Kampala on Tuesday July 31 expecting to begin a three day training on the following day. However I hadn't been expected until Aug. 15 or 16. Nevertheless, I was warmly received and Getry and Janet began making phone calls to see who might be available on my dates. We ended up with eight participants including an American intern, Anna Cimino joining us. The course was cut down to two days to meet my schedule to be in Nairobi.

I was impressed with the ability of the those who attended to run a mediation, to question and participate in a very intensive session. One participant in particular, Margaret Wanyonyi , is working as a paralegal and has been doing conflict resolution for a number of years. I think the process may be very directive as is the case with a number of others I have met along the way. However I tried to state the importance of letting the parties try to decide what is best for them.

We did the course at the new Peace Center at Lubao. It was very pleasant to be away from a city for a change.