Spear in the Corner
Peter Serete, AVP Luhya lead facilitator, Kenya
as this story illustrates the peacemakers themselves have to overcome
their own prejudices and stereotypes. The Nandi live next to the Luhya,
the major tribe of the Quakers in western Kenya, but have a different
language family and great suspicion and frequent violence between the
two groups. Both sides have their stereotypes of the other which keeps
them distrustful of each other. Once when we were doing the pre AVP
training before working with the Nandi, the facilitators from other
tribes believed very negative stereotypex about the Nandi: they would
not come to the workshops unless they got a sitting allowance, the men
would be antagonistic and uncooperative, and the women would be too
reserved to speak. It took only one workshop by each facilitator to
realize that these stereotypes were all untrue as the Nandi were as
cooperative and interested as anyone else.
that we slept in had one big spear in the corner of the [Nandi] house.
My fear about this spear clicked my mind, not knowing how many people
it had killed in 1992 land clashes and the 2007 disputed election results.
When I hear “Nandi” what triggers my mind is bows and poisoned
spears. Being a lead facilitator I could not hide my fear. I wished
we could stay in a hotel. After team building I spent a sleepless night
fighting my conscience and the perception I had of this people.
morning we had a knock on the door. A young boy had come to pick us
up to go to the river and have a cold bath which is routine in most
of this community. It takes heart to go through this experience. Through
AVP I have slept in the house of a Nandi, eaten together, and took a
bath in their river. I have learnt that indeed we are one and we will
always need each other at one point in life, if we build trust and love
we will impress peace all over.