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"Seven weeks to look, see, learn, and share some skills in Conflict Resolution…
For over a year this journey has gradually been coming together. But the seeds were sown over 40 years ago when serving in Tanzania with the Peace Corps."  

June 11, 2007

Marie-Andree Dufour and I met in Moshi, Tanzania in 1966 where she was a Quebec (Canada) volunteer with L’Association de l’Assomption. I was teaching in the Tanzania Cooperative College as a Peace Corps volunteer. She had just come back from visiting her cousins who were working in a secondary school in Rwanda. Marie had hitchhiked through Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda to get there and had come back very upset by the poverty she had witnessed. Somehow our relationship grew from these overlapping paths and experiences, and today after 37 years of marriage, we are preparing for my trip over there. Marie will stay home for this one. However we have shared work in Zimbabwe (3 years), China (1 year), Quebec (8 years), Germany (1 year) and a few years in the US, and we dragged two children Dominique and Jacques along for the ride.

For the past nine years I’ve been a mediator in Springfield, Ohio. I work for the Clark County Common Pleas Court Mediation Center mediating cases where children are involved including truancy, delinquency, divorce and child abuse. The Court has graciously given me a leave of absence to go on this trip.

I’ve been fortunate to learn mediation from a lot of dedicated and experienced people. But the connection to Africa has always been at my center. I had been wondering if there were a way to bring some of the skills I’ve learned to a continent that may have need to find better ways to resolve personal conflict. The opportunity appeared through a chance “forward” of an internet inquiry about mediation. It had come from a college student in Rwanda, Christophe Nkunda. He was looking for information from a mediator in Ann Arbor, MI. She sent it on to a list serve of mediators. I contacted Christophe and we talked about mediation and how he might get some training. He was unable to get a visa to study here in the U.S. , and it occurred to me that maybe I could go there to train him and his classmates.

Continued searching on the internet led me to the African Great Lakes Initiative , (www.aglionline.org) a Quaker organization serving in the countries of Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Kenya. I had initially been trained by a Quaker organization called the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) back in 1991. It was a series of workshops designed by prisoners and Quakers to help prisoners deal better with incarceration and violence in their lives. More about that in a later entry.

 

 

 

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Itinerary
George's Route

Archive
Aug 21, 2007
Aug 16, 2007
Aug 14, 2007
Aug 12-13, 2007
Aug 10, 2007
Aug 6-8, 2007
Aug 5, 2007
Aug 1, 2007
July 30, 2007
July 29, 2007
July 23-25, 2007
July 24, 2007
July 22, 2007
July 20, 2007
July 15-17, 2007
July 12-13, 2007
July 13, 2007
July 12, 2007
July 8, 2007
June 30, 2007
June 12, 2007
June 11, 2007

Mediation Classes
and Case Studies
Nairobi
Kakamega/Lubao
Bujumbura, Rwanda
Kigali, Rwanda
Goma, Congo
Photos
1960's Africa
Germany