Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CoPC women

‘They killed my dad and I have been carrying a lot of bitterness and hatred, but I now feel I should put that burden down. I have decided to forgive those who murdered my dad.’ These were the words of one of the many women who participated in Creators of Peace Circles (CoPC) in Rift Valley region, Kenya in the last three months.

Creators of Peace Circles has been reaching out to women of all walks of life in the Rift Valley region, - one of the most explosive regions in terms of tribal conflicts. The programme which has been described by many as simple and transforming. It continued to be used as a tool to pre-empt violence and encourage women to be creators of peace in the society starting in their own homes. “I have attended very many workshops and seminars but this one has been outstanding” is a common statement made by so many women after taking part in CoPC. This year we have had 12 CoPC sessions running in Kenya. In the months of May and June alone, there have been seven CoPC programmes reaching around 100 women.

Despite the rainy season, mud and cold weather, the women have been very determined to know why peace is very important in their lives and what it takes to be a creator of peace. And that is why they have been leaving behind their daily duties and occupations to attend this life transforming training. They come ready to be taught, but they sooner or later find out that they actually have answers to their questions, within and amongst themselves! And the good news is that almost all of them go back home feeling renewed and transformed and ready to be creators of peace, - recognising that it has to start in their own lives.

‘I now know why being silent is very important in my Life. I will be reflecting in the morning and also practice being a good listener, since I want to receive the divine presence which I have missed practising in my life. This is the beginning of a new and a happy life.’ shared Elizabeth. 

‘This has been a very powerful day. You have changed my life. I am thinking of how to go and apologise to my daughter for denying her the blessings to get married to a man from a different tribe. She never got married after that. I have to start creating peace in my home.’ shared one lady on realizing the mistake she had made. Another woman felt ashamed that she had warned her sons from marrying woman from other tribes but after the peace circles she had changed her mind. ‘I had told my sons not to marry woman from some tribes but my heart has changed. I am now open to receive daughters from wherever my sons wishes.’

The need for healing and reconciliation always comes out strongly in the peace circles programme. Mary, a Kikuyu lady who was married to a Kalenjin before the post-election violence in 2007/2008, was so bitter with her husband for leaving her alone during the violence that at some point she was ready to look for him and stab him to death. Her bitterness was because she was left to take care of the children and she had no food and no job to cater for her needs. She had even taken him to court. During the session onthe power of forgiveness’, shedecided toforgive her husband forwhat hedid andwithdraw thecase. She had also developed a lot of hatred towards the Kalenjin community butshe made a decision to forgive. Helen, another participant was also inspired to take steps to reconcile with her mother after years. She requested one of her trusted friend who was also a participant of the creators of peace, to be her mediator.

‘It was a new journey that I am beginning since I have known that I am the person who can destroy and restore peace in my family’ said one of the participants after the end of the CoPC. ‘I have learnt that a woman is an important vessel in the community and she can change things a great deal’ shared another one.

Much has been shared within the CoPC programme and the women have been getting new understandings on how to go and engage others in the society, either in the women’s groups or in the churches. One particular group decided that as from end of July, 2012 they will be going in groups of threes to every church around their area to share on peace, especially now that we are getting closer to our general elections.

More and more of the CoPC is being requested for and this is a programme whose timing is perfect in Kenya. How we wish it could reach out to more women for every woman in Kenya has a whole village behind her. If we get our women straight, it might take us less time to get our society straight!!

Appreciation to the facilitators of the different sessions- Ann Gitu, Mediatrix Masava, Juliana Nakhumicha and Ann Njeri.

The CoPC team in Kenya is very grateful to Friends of Africa fund who supported all the Creators of Peace Circles that have taken place in Kenya this past year.


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