18/11/2008

Kenya exchange anyone?

Big Deal's following Ali's travels in Kenya - visiting communities supported by CAFOD and meeting great people. She met some exchange students with a difference! Young people like Abudo have risked their lives because they want to see peace amongst the tribes of northern Kenya…
There is longstanding inter-tribal conflict here, but in 2005 Abudo and his friends decided that they wanted to break the cycle of violence. They asked Hilary (CAFOD’s partner and Justice and Peace Officer in the Marsabit Diocese), for some help. Here's more from Ali and Abudo...Read more

I met four young people from the Gabra community based in Maikona who go on exchange with four young people in the Rendille community based in Khargi. They teach in the primary school, facilitate peace workshops and events to reduce hostility and bring reconciliation between the communities. In Maikona, I met Gabriel (21). He remembers the fear he had about coming to the Gabra community, as a Rendille. Now his students and the whole community have grown to respect and accept him.

We had goat stew lunch and a chance to rest over the hottest part of the day in the small thatched roof hut where I had spent the previous night. All around were the shouts of children and goats bleating…

We set off on the hour’s drive across the Chalbi desert to the village of Khargi.
The ground was covered in salt and cracked like ancient skin. At one point our driver started chasing some zebras and ostriches and got us stuck in the sand!

Meeting two of the peace ambassadors here felt like we were fitting pieces of the same story together. Abudo (23) has lived in Khargi for the last couple of years. People have been very hospitable, and according to Rendille tribal custom, he’s even been given a camel! Hilary showed how much progress the peace initiative has made, even though it’s been hard. Apparently on his first visit to the community here, his mother was so worried that she cancelled his driver, instructing him not to take her son on the trip! This commitment to peace, despite personal risks, is really inspiring.

This trip’s been an amazing opportunity to see CAFOD's incredible work, and I hope that through hearing my story, you’ll be even more motivated to stand up for change.

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