It is Thursday morning here! Today is our last day here before departing for Abuja tomorrow. Hoever, I want to write about yesterday because last night I was unable to get online.
I’m struck by what seem paradoxes around here in Jos. There seems to be a great deal of building going on. New construction, new business and offices are lining the main arteries through town, yet at the same time, there are many more military checkpoints around. Tuesday evening it took an hour to drive home from a restaurant (that took 20 minutes the first time) because of at least 10 check points. Power seems even more scarce, It hasn’t been on during even one of the days while here. Most all schools and business rely on generators but then deisel starts being a major expense. While it appears that development is happening, there is also evidence that deterioration has occurred.
On a brighter note, I met with anther group yesterday regarding peace work and the importance of dialogue. After what I felt to be a successful interaction, the eldest of the group spoke up that he felt everything we said was a waste of our time and that dialogue was useless. Talk about the energy of the room changing! He was elaborated that he had worked as a civil servant and that surrounding corruption had undermined his work. I acknowledged his honesty and his principles when working with others that were corrupted. I was grateful he spoke, for he exemplified the reality of what the other youth in the room will most likely confront in their work at some point. I relied on Angeles Arrien’s definition of cynical- someone who cares deeply but has been deeply hurt. The man agreed this defined his circumstance. I was able to honor his caring, his work, his ethics, his example and his pain, and also talk about we all need to be prepared to fail but not give up. The session ended with our shaking hands and me seeing his gorgeous smile. I think we had converted him and everyone in the class.