“The Next G8N Peace Makers” by Philip Kakungulu

(** for older folks G8N is short for “generation”)
Early in 2018 February, I had a wonderful opportunity to co-facilitate a 5 days conflict transformation training in West Africa alongside Revs. Dan and Sharon Buttry. The training was special in a way that it was my first of its kind in West Africa.  That was a good experience for an East African like me. More to that is the nature of the training.  The trainees where all involved in the community mobilization process as Trainers of Trainers with a wonderful Christian international organization called Tearfund, which hosted us. In this Training we meet with David Couzens who is the Conflict Programme Coordinator with Tearfund UK. He is a wonderful Christian man and leader with such a huge heart for the things that make for peace and justice in the fragile states of Africa.

Great relationships where built in the West Africa training which cumulatively gave birth to the Nairobi Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) later in 2018. This Nairobi TCTT was hosted again by Tearfund, and I had yet another wonderful opportunity of co-facilitating this 10 days intensive conflict transformation training with Revs. Dan and Sharon Buttry.

The training hosted trainees from several countries: Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Jamaica, USA, UK, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Sweden. The bigger picture aimed at forming an organic network of peacemakers, in this case trainers who can be followed up and nurtured.  With more of these trainings and networking we hope to greatly reduce the degrees of separation between the peacemakers of Africa.

This TCTT was a refresher course for me, to practice in depth the tools I first learned in the first Nairobi TCTT in 2013, with many new tools added. The training was powerful in way that I got to see and practice how the sessions on experiential education complement the content tools.

At the start of the Nairobi TCTT, David Couzens shared  the themes of Tearfund 50 Year Jubilee from Isaiah 61:3-4.  David used beach stone pebbles shaped over the years by the washing of sand and hard hitting waves, and reminded us to look at our struggles as instruments for our shaping. He gave an example of the oak tree stricken and tore apart by a lightning bolt yet still being rooted and being able to blossom and providing  a shade for a vast life of creatures! It was a beautiful picture, challenging us to flower like this tree, even in our woundedness.

The trainees appreciated the importance experiential learning methodology. The things which make for maximum learning such as asking open ended questions, moving into our discomfort zones, creating safety in learning environments.

There was so much energy in the workshop.  Trauma trigger issues came out loud at the very start of the workshop opening a door for deeper sharing and relationships in the workshop.

The Burundi team arrived late due to unavoidable circumstances; however, we had an emergent design with which we gave the Burundi team a short version of the experiential education sessions which they had missed during the morning sessions. This turned out to be a learning experience for the trainees, reminding us to always be flexible in developing emergent designs. It was interesting as the trainees added new tools into our training toolbox. For example brother, Sisay Abebe from Ethiopia, added a tool from ccl.org known as Social Identity. The learning experience was very rich.

The training was tough for me having to be away from home while my 12-month old son was in surgery and later learning about my 6-year old son having an accident in the house.  He was able to see a dentist. From these ongoing struggles back home, I shared a devotion from Mathew 2.11, inviting the workshop members to bring our Gold (talents and abilities), our Frankincense (aspirations and deep longings), and our Myrrh (shadows on our paths and fears) to the feet of our Lord Jesus in complete abandonment into the space of this TCTT in such a way that we will leave the TCTT as a better people with a new zeal and life for the things that make for peace and justice.

We are very grateful for David Couzens and Tearfund UK for providing such a rare opportunity in the journey that AFRICA must take waging peace like war. Already a strong network among all the trainees has been established with more members sharing in the Pan African Peace Network Forum. Our hope is that our trainees will faithfully pass down the same trainings and nurturing to the next generation, this is already happening as the individual trainees have taken the TCTT materials to form new designs which are applicable in their context.

We are very much excited for our brothers Ken, Oscar and Jimmy from Nigeria whose work reaches the Boko Haram territory, and for our brother Bishop Abraham who does peace building work along the Ethiopia – Somalia Borders on the Kenya Side. We met a wonderful woman and peace warrior Harriet Baka from South Sudan together with Lazarus and Stephen, we are happy to connect them with Rev. Jino Longa another South Sudanese peace warrior who attended the 2017 TCTT in Alexandria, Egypt, to mention but a few.  This training has opened access to new peace building frontiers in Ethiopia, Eritrea Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and many other Africa nations. We had such a special moment to share and learn from our very own African brother the Rev. Everton Jackson from Jamaica; he deeply identifies with the African tribe.

In a special ceremony we participated in a tree planting exercised dubbed “Peace Tree”. This activity was originally started in 2013 by brother Lance Muteyo a great Peace Warrior from Harare, Zimbabwe. We believe that our peace building work also constitutes being good stewards and care takers of the God’s creation as we seek to conserve the environment, building into bigger domains of stability for the resiliency of African communities.

We are deeply grateful for the legacy of Revs. Dan and Sharon Buttry which over the years has been written down in stone for the next generation to see. You have mentored us in the things which make for peace and justice, and the way of life in the Kingdom of Christ. On this note I am deeply grateful for the Mantle of Aidan, and many peace and Biblical materials which Revs. Dan and Sharon passed down to me in a painted portrait and laid hands on me, a symbol of a great ministry service responsibility handed down to the next generation. The honor is mine to humbly serve, and remain true to the teachings and trainings you entrusted into my hand. The journey is still young, and I am just starting to learn drawing Sharon’s “Zentangles”. THANK YOU VERY MUCH,

Africa is not yet Uhuru.  Amani Yetu Juku Muletu – Peace is Our Responsibility

Amani Milele Peace Forever

Pastor Philip Kakungulu

Tel: +256772607290 (WhatsApp)

Email: Philipstargate@gmail.com

Crossing Lines Africa – Pan African Peace Network

For more about Philip Kakungulu, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *