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Tue 14 Jul

Blog Post: Restoration- On Peace & Healing

Laura Africa Learning Team

Captivated, the room hung on every word. I dare not whisper to ask the translator. I wait in silence. She is speaking Ndebele but I am not without understanding. Somewhere between her actions and the emotion filling her voice, I already know.

Unsure of what exactly we would witness we had entered the Healing Session. In this workshop we found community members of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe learning about peace, conflict and resolution.  

Guided by the Christian organization they asked to conduct this workshop each individual was uncovering their personal history of hurt and trauma.  This is an important component in the process to forgiveness and peace - a necessary step in learning how to move on.  After writing their stories some chose to share their most vulnerable moments with all 60 of us.  Humbled by their trust and desire to move on, I listened, not knowing a word but fully captivated.

Later that evening they would leave this room, where walls are covered in notes about peaceful conflict resolution, to burn their written recollections of hurt; a symbolic act of being cleansed from the past and choosing to forgive. The fire cleanses and all are given a fresh start. They are healed first from the heart.

Hours later someone recalls to me the stories in English and I am fraught with an internal struggle over whether or not my presence would have been welcomed.  How could someone bear their heart so openly?  As I learn more about the organization conducting the workshop, our partner, and the number of Healing Sessions they are invited to conduct, I am thankful for the opportunity. 

With such a history of struggle, both long ago and recent, many people in this Zimbabwean community are still hurting; hurting because of the actions of other people, each experience grave in its own way.  The healing process must involve community.  There is strength in community.  When we are vulnerable with each other we are welcoming them into our lives thereby inviting them to the privileged responsibility of walking forward with us into a future of hope.  It is only when we can forgive and come to a place of relying on each other, that community is strengthened and our shared future is more hopeful. 

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this peace workshop.  Our partner, MCC Zimbabwe is involved in some wonderful peace initiatives and my impression of them and the work they are doing only continues to grow. 

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Posted by Laura Hanna at 10:15AM | Permalink


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