The Uncommon Man

September 28, 2007

Steven Writes As The Rwanda Training Ends

The training ended today. There is no doubt that the lives of the 40 participants have been changed. Once again, men learning how to listen to women is a transformative experience for both the men and the women. Once again, breaking the silence about the profound impact of violence on our lives offers an experience of healing and empowerment. And, once again, both women and men are eager to embrace a positive vision of men as partners with women in creating healthy families and communities. The idea of building a society of unity and reconciliation is a particularly relevant theme right now in Rwanda. Our observations about what is happening in the country right now is evidence that they have the individual and collective will to make this happen.

On the second day of the training Stencilous Ndandalika from the Zambia Men's Network facilitated a creative adaptation of the "Man in the Box" activity, engaging participants in deciding whether to put certain human characteristics (for example, "being emotional") in the man box or the woman box. After uncomfortably struggling with the dilemmas of these choices, we understood how social expectations force us into these unfair and dehumanizing roles.

On the last day of the training, Stephen Mbati from the Zambia Men's Network and Uduma Uduma from the Ebonyi Men's Resource Centre in Nigeria each gave a presentation about their organizing efforts since the MRI trainings in their countries. Participants from Rwanda listened with great interest to the successes, obstacles and lessons learned. Fidel shared the story of how the Rwanda Men's Resource Centre was born, and a RWAMREC member presented the organization's action plan. It was clear that we were all on this journey together.

In the evening Fidel and his wife Christine invited all of us to their beautiful home just outside of the city. We met their son, Elion, who was born just a week after Fidel returned from the MRI training in Nigeria, as well as Fidel's younger brother Jean Claude, who is completing his last year at university. Sitting outside, listening to the "natural music" of the frogs and crickets from the fields below, looking at the full moon, in this magnificent company, we knew we were blessed.

Fidel and his wife Christine

Presenting the RAMREC Action Plan

Rwandan Hills and Fields

Posted by Jorge at September 28, 2007 10:38 AM


James this was outstanding to get the e-mail from you guys. I was compeletly blown away at how beautiful the countryside is there. I'm glad to see that everything is going well with the training. Wish I could be there. Darryl

Posted by: Darryl Thomas at October 2, 2007 10:46 AM

To everyone participating in this latest journey and workshop I offer congratulations and thanks. I am thrilled to see people from past workshops joining this one. From one country to another, from one person to another, MRI's work is making its way through Africa. This is the realization of the vision.

With love,
Jack Hornor
Northampton, MA

Posted by: Jack Hornor at October 2, 2007 03:43 PM

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