The Uncommon Man

November 11, 2006

Voices of Guidance

11 November, 2006

Each step on this Journey, I have tried to listen carefully to the voices of guidance from within and around me that point the Way. I find this guidance most reliably at the edges of my being, where my own heart and mind encounter the movements of the universe, the people and circumstances of my life. From the subtle interaction at these points of connection wisdom, vision and guidance emerge.

And yet, many times I am not listening. Fear fills my ears. I hold tight to the comfort of decisions I have already made about the correct course of action. I am humbled and grateful to see how Life simply gives me the opportunity to listen, over and over again, guiding me toward the deepest connection of an open heart and mind. Hallelujah!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

This morning, at the suggestion of James, we opened a small savings account at a local bank. We had met two of the (male) bank managers at yesterday’s Women’s Day Celebration. A symbol of our investment in this community, it can also expedite future visits and collaborative efforts in the development of the Ebonyi Men’s Resource Center.

The effects of our work in Ebonyi continued to ripple throughout the day. Uduma took us to the market in Abakaliki, where we explored the maze of narrow alleys filled with small stalls selling beautiful fabrics and clothes. As I stood by the side of the road, a man who was filming yesterday’s Women’s Day Celebration approached me with curiosity about the contingent of men who were there. When he heard about the Ebonyi MRC, he wanted to become a member, and promised to attend the planning meeting in two weeks.

While visiting the DOVENET office and over a meal at her nearby home, Ugo told us how she had been receiving many phone calls of excitement and gratitude from training participants, some of whose testimonials we were able to videotape. After gifting us with beautiful fabric printed with the words “Ebonyi Women On the Move,” she suggested we make a courtesy call to the home of a State Senator who she knows.

I may not have yet explained to you how well connected Ugo is in her community. Through her years of community activism, and especially as the former Commissioner for Women’s Affairs in Ebonyi, she has earned the respect of a large network of community leaders. In recognition of her service, leadership and vision for the community, she was made a Chief in her community, a very unusual honor for a woman in Nigeria.

When we came to Senator Julius Ucha’s beautiful house, he was not at home, but his wife graciously welcomed us. As we talked with her about the training and the vision of the Ebonyi MRC, the Senator returned with an entourage of ten other highly placed community leaders. They were intrigued and very supportive with our work, recognizing its value for the next stages in their dynamically evolving society, and expressing their desire to sign the Nigerian Men’s Pledge. As we talked, the large screen television on the side of the room played an extended CNN report on violence against women in Africa. Coincidence? We continue to be humbled by the voices of guidance.

— Steven Botkin, Executive Director
Men's Resources International, USA

Posted by Daniel at November 11, 2006 11:34 AM

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