Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We Make the Path as We Walk


~ Antonio Machado

Of Note: 99% of the voters in the recent southern Sudanese election voted to secede from Sudan. By any measure, that is called overwhelming consensus for independence. Now the populace must translate the desire for liberation into governance of a post-war nation with little infrastructure, education, healthcare or commerce. They must forge a new path out of whole cloth. One such visionary, Driuni Jakani, is transforming his rural home town through an organization he created called Lacha Community and Economic Development (LCED,) which was recently recognized as a Community-based Organization of Excellence by the USAID. Jakani enthusiastically described the three-fold mission of his organization as promotion of peace, agriculture and gender equality. This project now employs 10 people as it carries out its various activities including the introduction of oxen to plow local farms, which has increased agricultural production substantially. Its biggest success to date has been the election of three women as village chiefs. Jakani worked for two years with local women to increase their skills and confidence. In addition, he convinced the men to agree to have women at their meetings. He explained: "What happened when the women began to participate is that when they spoke they made a lot of sense to people." He predicts a real turnaround when women, the previously silent half of their population, learn to read and write and participate in decision-making. Others have found that the prevalence of peace increases when women participate in government because they are more reluctant to send their sons to war. We can only hope for the same in Southern Sudan. With advocates like Jakani working in their communities, this new path to peaceful freedom will undoubtedly be successful.

Today's Weather Report: What a gorgeous day at 40 degrees Fahrenheit! Only a light jacket was required when venturing forth. The sun even cooperated and shone brightly all day. Cabin fever was forgotten as the rays flowed through the eyes and enlightened every brain cell. It was slippery, however, and caution was in order. My Mom said her daffodils are already coming up in Dallas. I told her to send me a picture once they grew a little taller. In New Zealand, summer would be coming to an end. That thought brings some global perspective to the cycles we call seasons.

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