The Uncommon Man

June 07, 2006

Zambia Trip - Entry 1

Blog Entry 1: Sent from Steven Botkin on Tue 6/6/2006 2:06 PM

This evening, James Arana and I will get on a plane in Boston and travel to Zambia. The journey will take us 8000 miles, over 27 hours (with an 11 hour layover in London). James, Daniel and I (the MRI staff) have been working very hard over the past several weeks to prepare for this trip, but it is also a journey across an ocean of unknowns...

Even though we have known Stephen Mbati, Zambia Men’s Network founder, for more than a year, spending almost two weeks together in March 2005 hosting his U.S. study tour, we do not know the realities of life in Zambia for men and women. Although we know Stephen and others from the YWCA of Zambia are committed to engaging men in positive masculinity and violence prevention, we do not know how our approach to men’s work will be received in this cultural context.

What we do know is that there are many men and women in Zambia who are eager to participate in the four days of leadership training we will be facilitating. We know that, together with the training participants, we will be delivering computers and making presentations to local schools. And we know that many men and women in the United States have supported us in making this journey happen.

As we prepare to leave for the airport, I have been realizing that this is more than a business trip to present a training to colleagues in Africa. We are also working to create the opportunity for a powerful ritual of healing. This paradigm of healing ritual, which has always been central to my approach to men’s work, helps me to remember that we are in this together, and that there are sources of support and guidance that can be invoked to increase the power and effectiveness of our efforts. From this perspective, I welcome the unknowns as a source of guidance, I feel comforted by the presence of human and spiritual companions on this journey, and I know that I am not doing this alone. Every step in the journey becomes part of the ritual, another opportunity for invocation and connection.

Thank you for your presence on this great journey. I will take you with me, and, through the wonders of technology, will be sending regular reflections and reports (and hopefully photos) via the weblog.

May we all know peace,



Posted by Russell at June 7, 2006 08:52 PM


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