August 7, 2008  Gitega, Burundi

One more night and I'll be off what has proven to be a difficult bed. The slats run lengthwise and I sort of go through the foam mattress. I try to rest my spine between the slats , but if I move a bit or roll over it's wakeup time. Then try to find a comfortable position and start over. I had a small air mattress that I thought I'd never use, so I left it in Uvira for some kids to sleep on. I hope they are using it. Women here have the gift of the walk. A well dressed woman wearing spike heels can walk over a lava bed and make it look easy. I'm baffled how they do it. No gym bag with a pair of running shoes to wear on the street like we see at home. These ladies have a sense of balance that probably comes from learning to carry things on their head at a young age and it transfers over to posture and carraige. Today I felt a bit discouraged when I got up, because more than half the class (12 of 20) had to leave after the second day to go back to work. I knew it was going to happen but I didn't anticipate the void that was left. The class yesterday was struggling with the mediation process, falling into counseling and advising and being a bit lost as to when to make interventions. But today they got it! Just have to stay in the game and they learn. I sometimes forget how I struggled with a lot of the stuff I'm now teaching, so there. Hard to believe I've been gone a month and will be back in 13 days. I've been reading a book on traditional methods of conflict resolution by three tribes in the area of Uvira where I was last week. It's in french and a lot of terminology I need to use is there, and it has helped me with my presentations. A third party is a tiers. I was calling it a troisieme partie which is a literal translation but I don't know if it is used much or understood. Other expressions like that as well. I met the author, a Congolese man, in Uvira. He does some consulting with the Peace Center and we started talking and he told me about his book and said he would bring me one for $10 which turned out to be a good investment. We also talked a lot about Restorative Justice, another conflict res. technique, and he was very interested in that as well, so we had a meeting of the minds. Maybe I will teach that next year if I return. Ciao


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