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Your location>Home>Publications>PeaceWays>Fall 2012

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Seeing Hatred in Their Eyes
Florence Ntakarutimana, HROC facilitator, Burundi

This story illustrates that peacemaking can begin as soon as the violence has subsided enough to allow the protagonists to meet. These workshops can become very intense and passionate so the facilitators need to see that participants don’t become too angry and emotional. Florence was introducing HROC to the Kenyans and this was one of the apprentice workshops that she was leading.

During the workshop I did in Kisii, Kenya, we were staying in the house of the chief, Francis, a HROC facilitator. The workshop brought together three tribes--Kisii, Kipsigis and Masai. When we started the workshop, you could read hatred in their eyes. They were throwing bad words to each other at the beginning. Actually, they were affected by the crisis between them as people are in Burundi or Rwanda. But as we continued with the workshop they started to reconcile themselves. During the time of sharing their experiences people had a lot of tears.
I remember a man from Kisii tribe who stood up and shook the hands of a Kipsigis and said, “You were my enemy. I have planned to kill you with a spear. Now you have become my friend.” During the workshop people continued to give testimonies of reconciliation and forgiveness. They said that they are going to organize themselves, with the help of Francis, the chief, to spread the word of peace and to help others to do something on their trauma.
At the end of the workshop, Michael, a chief of the Masai community who attended the workshop, called me and told me that he was going to talk to the chief of Masaba district ["enemy district"] about how they can stop killings between them.