Monday, February 22, 2010

Salone, my fourth trip, too long postponed after a year spent appreciating the Canadian health care system. I return with mixed feelings as I leave Saidu behind to the cold, cruel Canadian winter (although in the caring hands of friends and family). I am so looking forward, though, to seeing friends and family and community in Mapaki, Makeni and beyond. During this visit, I will be finishing up the work of our peace education project (workshops with teachers, etc.), exchanging twin letters, and working on various components of the Nakamah Kawaleh project (funding scholarship teachers, small grants to schools, teachers health contributions, sharing the wonderful collections of West African books, etc.). It will be a bit of a whirlwind visit as I need to be back on April 1. I return to Sierra Leone with a deep concern about the impact of climate change and food sovereignty in this fragile country where a slight shift in rain patterns or temperature can wreak havoc on age-old patterns of land use and food production (Gwynne Dyer recently explained how production of West Africa's rice harvest would be devastated by a slight temperature increase..I really hope he is wrong). I still believe, though, that creating connections between communities here and there will contribute to that crucial tipping point of informed citizen concern and action required to make the changes the world needs to survive impending challenges we face together. In that light, I will also continue with connecting class communities. The picture featured above shows a gift from the students at Mount Edward Elementary in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to the SLMB (Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood) Primary School in Mabarr Line, Gbonkolenken. Along with personal notes and letters, it is a copy of Janet Wilson's book, “One Peace, True Stories of Young Activists” open to Farlis Calle's quote, “We can't change the whole world alone, but if I can teach people that if you put your hand in mine and little by little we join more hands, maybe we can construct a new world.” I hope we can put hands together too. Please stay in touch through signing up (see right column) for blog posts from Mapaki, where I will be for the month of March. Thanks, and thanks to all for your support with the peace education project and the more recent Nakamah Kawaleh work.