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April 1, 2001 Update

March has been a month of doing and completing activities. Unfortunately I don't yet have good information of how things have turned out, but here is what I know.

The Burundi Team has completed their training in South Africa and should have returned to Burundi as I am writing this. Cassilde wrote, "Everyone here wait for the team members to arrive: the Kamenge youth, Adrien's extended family, friends, all have promised to go meet them at the airport tomorrow." But I have no communication that they have in fact arrived. Fighting at the end of February in Bujumbura meant that all airlines except Burundi Air canceled their flights--most have now resumed their flights. The latest emails from the Team members indicate that they are anxious to being the real work in Burundi. They felt that the training was good, useful, and apropos, but that they still have much to digest and learn--we will have to consider continuing education for the Team members. So the real work is now going to begin.

The AVP-Rwanda Team has also completed its work. I have heard little of the human aspects of the workshops and the Team, but, if things were going badly, I would have heard a lot. The Team did add additional workshops so that there were three concurrent Training for Facilitator Workshops with a total of 28 people. Juliet Nanomo, the Ugandan female facilitator, never did show up--the workshops in Rwanda, as I had predicted, were mostly male. The two Burundians attended all three levels of the training and hopefully will go back with enthusiasm to work with the Burundi Team on introducing AVP in Burundi and the prison where the two newly trained AVP facilitators were once incarcerated! The saga of the two Congolese attendees was the opposite. One was a female and she showed up at Bujumbura airport with a small baby with no ticket so they all had to return back to the Congo. They were supposed to attend the last basic training in Cyangugu, but I don't know if this happened or not. The Team should be returning with recommendations which the AGLI Working Group will have to digest. We plan to have a report out by the beginning of May.

The AGLI Working Group together with those closely involved with AGLI work is planning on a retreat in New York City from May 10 to 13--Friday will be arranged by David Jackman and Bridget Moix of QUNO with UN and NGO officials concerned with the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Saturday we will be hosted by Montclair Meeting, Carolyn Keys's home meeting, to receive reports from the Burundian and Rwandan programs and discuss where AGLI is going. Satuday evening we will have a potluck with area Quakers and a presentation on AGLI and FPT to those who attend.

I plan to visit Burundi and Rwanda the first two weeks of July and Rachel Fretz plans on visiting Burundi at the end of August.


David Zarembka
Coordinator, African Great Lakes Initiative


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