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SPRING, 2002: Volume 7, Issue 1

African Great Lakes Initiative Report: Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Service (THARS) in Burundi by David Zarembka

The Burundi Team has received a grant from the US Embassy in Burundi to train Burundi Yearly Meeting leaders in trauma healing work. The Team has conducted two three-day workshops where they have introduced the basics of trauma healing work and counseling skills. The twenty-three participants came from all parts (Quarters) of Burundi Yearly Meeting. Participants, both men and women, were visibly moved by telling their own stories of trauma during the seven years of conflict, and by listening to the stories of others. As Adrien Niyongabo said after the first training, “It isn’t true that Burundi men can’t cry!” Each trainee now has to develop a project in his/her home area with the other trainees. These projects will be encouraged and supported by the Team through the rest of the year with continuing workshops as the trainees have gained some experience.

Three of the Team members, Carolyn Keys, Adrien Niyongabo, and Charles Berahino, visited in the United States in January for a very successful speaking tour. Speaking engagements included New York Yearly Meeting Representative Meeting, Ann Arbor Meeting, UN Association of Montclair (NJ), Hartford Meeting, Cambridge Meeting, lunch with Elise Boulding at Wellesley Meeting, Yale Divinity School, Pendle Hill, the University of Pennsylvania, Sandy Spring Friends School, Sandy Spring Meeting/Friends House, Bethesda Meeting, and Adelphi Meeting with the FPT Coordinating Committee. The Team then participated in an assessment process with Val Liveoak, Cecilia Yocum, and David Zarembka from the AGLI Working Group. The assessment included discussions of the work to date, its successes and shortcomings, future direction and plans, questions on decision-making, and AGLI and FPT future involvement in the Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Service.

The recommendations of the combined THARS/AGLI assessment team were then brought to Friends Peace Teams Coordinating Committee. They approved in principle continuing with the development of the Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Service for approximately the next two years. As Carolyn Keys’s placement with the Team will end on October 31, 2002, AGLI will find a replacement for her and perhaps add an additional international team member if sufficient funding is secured. (See box for information on finding a new international Team Member.)

While in the past, fundraising for AGLI has been sufficient to cover our projects, the downturn in the economy and stock market followed by the attacks on Sept. 11 have left our income for THARS less than the prior year. As a result AGLI has had to cut back by $7000 the amount sent per year to support the Service. Any assistance to cover this gap—with funding sources, monthly meetings, or names for our mailing list— would be much appreciated..


Position Available:
International Team Member of the Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Service

The African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) of the Friends Peace Teams is recruiting two international peace team members for a 27 month commitment (Sept. 14, 2002 until Dec. 14, 2004) to join the Peace Team developing the Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Service in Burundi. This program is a joint effort of AGLI and Burundi Yearly Meeting of Friends and began its services on April 1, 2001.

AGLI is seeking (1) a person with skills and knowledge in trauma healing, mediation, counseling, and/or Alternatives to Violence Project and (2) grant writing and administration and other administrative skills. Applicants should have overseas experience with a preference for sub-Saharan Africa, a willingness to learn Kirundi (the language of Burundi), and clearness to live in a country with ongoing security issues due to a civil war, and to abide with the strict standards of Burundi Yearly Meeting. Fundraising for the program and a commitment to stay involved with AGLI upon return to the home country are expected. Applicants are required to meet with a clearness committee and submit a report by its Clerk and develop a long-term support committee for the time in Africa and after returning to the home country. Preference will be given to members, attenders, and those knowledgeable about the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and its methods.

Travel expenses, a modest stipend, and health benefits are provided. Applications ar are e due by May 26, 2002 with selection made on June 11 for a departure about September 14, 2002. Additional information and an application form can be obtained from davidzarembka@juno.com or by writing to African Great Lakes Initiative, 7785 Alicia Ct, Maplewood, MO 63143.

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