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Editorial Comment

Why We Should “Love Thy Neighbor”
By Angela Forcier

Why I Do What I Do: Life in Bududa, Uganda
By Barbara Wybar

HROC and the Batwa Ethnic Group in Rwanda
By Theoneste Bizimana

Living Abundantly
By Deborah Dakin

A Bumpy Road to Mediation By George Brose

Applying These Teachings: Testimonies from Congo
By Zawadi Nikuze

By David Zarembka

Reaching a Common Reconciliation
By Adrien Niyongabo

Welcome Back
By Dorcas Nyambura



Editorial Comment:

The ride home is great but the euphoria wears off quickly and you know that the next weeks will bring other cases that may not finish so well. But after a day like this one, your hopes will always be high and you look forward to the next opportunity.
George Brose after a successful mediation in Burundi

This issue of PeaceWays-AGLI – “Love Thy Neighbor: Understanding and Reconciliation” – takes a look at how the African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) of the Friends Peace Teams has changed people’s lives.

In March 1998, as the Baltimore Yearly Meeting representative to the Friends Peace Teams, I suggested that a delegation be sent to the Quakers in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Little did I realize how much this would change my life and also that of my wife, Gladys Kamonya (who I was courting at the time), and my children, Joy Zarembka, Tommy Zarembka, and Douglas Kebengwa. Nor did I anticipate its effect on many of my old friends, new F(f)riends, extended service volunteers, workcampers, readers of my Reports from Kenya and PeaceWays-AGLI, AGLI staff in the Great Lakes region, and, most importantly, Africans that have attended the AVP, HROC, mediation, and other workshops and AGLI-sponsored activities.

In “Welcome Back!” Dorcas Nyambura, a lead Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) facilitator describes the positive outcome after working with people who pushed their enemies off their land but later agreed to rebuild their destroyed homes. If you look at the picture of the house, it may not seem like much, but from the perspective of the owner who was previously living in a plastic tarp house in an internally displace person’s camp, what an improvement!

We have other articles by people whose lives were changed inextricably. Barbara Wybar’s explanation “Why I Do What I Do” is an inspirational story about her involvement in Bududa, Uganda. George Brose in “A Bumpy Road to Mediation” shows how a family dispute was settled. Angela Forcier describes how reconciled women interact in “Why We Should ‘Love Thy Neighbor,’” and Deborah Dakin in “Living Abundantly” describes what she has gained in the United States by being involved with AGLI and Friends Peace Teams.

Adrien Niyongabo, Theoneste Bizimana, and Zawadi Nikuze have forwarded testimonies telling how AGLI work has affected people in their communities. I have an article, “Reconciliation?” which describes what I have learned from Africans through the HROC program.

While the written word conveys a certain aspect of the work, visual aids allow the stories to truly come to life. Videographer Patrick Mureithi has finished his breath-taking documentary on the HROC program, “Icyizere: Hope”. We have DVD’s available for you. I ask you to view it to understand more about what we do and then show it to others in your meeting, church, community association, school, and local cable TV station. Patrick himself would like to give presentations of the DVD at welcoming universities and colleges.

The African Great Lakes Initiative has affected many different people in so many different ways. I’m just an organizer, but this is why I am so intent on doing this work with AGLI.

David Zarembka

Next article: Why We Should “Love Thy Neighbor” By Angela Forcier