A Day of Many Visits – Tuesday Oct 25, 2011

WOW!  What a day!

The early part of the morning was spent visiting with Mercy from ‘Project Happiness’.  What a surprise to see her walk into the NEEDCSI office, not having seen her since 2007.  She just graduated in economics from Univ of Jos and now has to wait a year, before then serving another year with the NYSC (National Youth Service Corps.)  She then looks forward to finding a job.

After our visit with Mercy I met with Sani Sulaiman and Emmanuel Ivorgba in preparation for facilitating the second and third days of the conference regarding the 7 Principles of Reconciliation.

Then we headed off to a program sponsored by Apurimac Onlus for about 200 local students.  There were a select few from each of the surrounding schools.  We had the privilege to listen to students asking questions about how to promote peace.  They wanted concrete answers as to how they could contribute.  Their observations of the local situation were astute.  They were amazingly honest and perceptive.  I was able to close the event by singing with the students the song “RISE UP”.

Lastly we visited CMIA (Creative Minds Int’l Academy) and had the chance to visit with faculty and students.

There are always new connections being made, and old connections to renew.  Amidst the set backs, electricity turning on and off twenty times a day, lack of reliable internet, problems with the lab at CMIA (which John is currently working on,) it always amounts to the people and wonderful connections that make our time here incredible.

Apurimac Onlus Vocational Training Center

John spent the morning installing the new eGranary (a digital library) at a vocational training center. The photograph shows members of the staff at Apurimac Onlus Vocational center celebrating the installation of the eGranary. The center provides a variety of programs including computer skills. The computer training graduates 100 students every 6 months and includes male and female students from a broad range of ages and religious backgrounds. The computer program has a waiting list of several hundred students and will now have capacity for 32 additional students per semester as well a providing access to all students to a much broader educational experience.

Faculty were already researching agricultural information on the eGranary for a project in a remote villageThis is exactly the kind of situation for which the eGranary was designed- to enable access to resources otherwise unavailable.

The eGranary was designed by WiderNet founder, Cliff Missen, who worked with faculty at the University of Jos.  It is comprised of 20 million documents including 30,000 books and over 30,000 webpages with educational and encyclopedic materials.  It changes an educational environment with no textbooks and computers with no internet access, into an environment of exploration and research opportunities.

Emmanuel Ivorgba, director of NEEDCSI.org, our partner

Nothing here would be possible without the ground help of Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba, the director of NEEDSCI.org, a local non profit here in Jos, Nigeria dedicated to peacebuilding and youth leadership.

It is always a privilege to work with him and I am happy to call him my friend.  His dedication in serving the youth of Nigeria is profound.  He founded Creative Minds In’l Academy (CMIA) in 2007, the first school in Nigeria, dedicated to cultural preservation in addition to academics. That began our collaboration as we traveled in Nov 2007 to install an eGranary (a virtual library) and computer lab at CMIA.


Preparations for the conference continuing

Well, as happens here, there was no electricity for two days and even though there is a generator at the guesthouse where we are staying, the internet was not working.  So…. here it is Monday Oct 24th and things are whirling.

Emmanuel and I met yesterday afternoon and wrapped up the conference details.

The first morning (Thursday Oct 27th) is a typical lecture series:

Keynote Address

Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko, International Coordinator,

Global Educators for All Initiative (GEFAI), Abuja, Nigeria

  •  Presentation of the Interfaith Leadership Awards

Chair and Lead Speaker: Amb. Dr. Mussie Hailu, Africa Regional Coordinator, United Religious Initiative (URI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

a.      Reverend Ishanesu Sextus Gusha, Lecturer: Bishop Gaul Theological College, Parish Priest, St. Luke’s Parish, Mufakose, Zimbabwe. Rev.

b.      Mr. Godwin Okoko, National Program Officer, APURIMAC Nigeria.

In the afternoon after our lunch break, I will proceed with turning the direction of the conference.  The following two days will be an experiential process engaging the participants in the 7 principles of reconciliation.

We’ve Arrived

We have safely arrived in Abuja, Nigeria and will spend the night here.  Tomorrow we will travel to Jos, Nigeria.

Our wonderful driver, Sunday, who has been our faithful chaperone for all of our past adventures  met us at the airport.  It is a delight to finish traveling by being welcomed with a big hug, huge smile and mutual joy.

A slight rain fell before our arrival, blessing the air with the smell of fresh rain and cooling the temperature. Currently at 10pm it is about 70 degrees.

We’d again like to thank all of the individuals and groups who supported this endeavor.  What a blessing to be here again with a peace conference ahead of us and another eGranary installation to complete.  Thank you all.