New Community Project
March edition: You asked for it...
This edition of You asked for it… covers a lot of ground:
Three weeks ago our Learning Tour was visiting Mejidi refugee camp in South Sudan. Of the 1000+ people, 95 percent are women and children, and they’ve been there for 14 months. They are mostly Dinka, and fled fighting 100 miles north in their home area. They gave us a long list of things they needed—pots and pans, sleeping mats, sanitary materials—then the oldest woman in the room added “husbands”. She was only partly kidding—most of the women are widows or have been abandoned by their husbands. NCP is going to send some assistance—short of husbands...
The conflict that made them flee is complicated and involves long-time grievances, desire for power, personalities of the leaders, ethnic differences and petroleum. So I asked lots of people we met "What is the fighting about?" When I asked the women, they just said "We don’t know—we heard shots being fired and ran."
War. Men fight, women run.
Take care, stay in touch, keep on keepin’ on—
We’re just back from our South Sudan Learning Tour. There’s still fighting going on there, but not close to the places we went. Our group visited Toposa tribal people, refugees from the current conflict, and lots of school girls NCP is supporting. This is the country where less than 1 out of 100 girls finishes high school. We give scholarships to about 250 elementary and high school girls, and provide 3000 with sanitary kits. Photos from our trip on the NCP Facebook page—and Like us while you’re there.
We could use your help with something. A couple dozen girls receiving our scholarships finish high school every year (equivalent to 10th grade in the USA). We keep hearing from them and our partners there that it’s much easier to get a better job if they have two more years of education—or two years of “courses” (vocational training). Trouble is, they’d have to go to Uganda for either of these, at a cost of $600 per year. This is six times as much as it takes for an elementary education in S. Sudan, so NCP has balked at helping these girls get to that level, thinking it’s better to send six younger girls to school than to focus all that resource on one girl going further.
But I keep hearing these girls say they really want to take that second step toward a better opportunity for a better life.
So we’re calling on new initiative Second Step (read about it on this page). Right now we have ten girls in one school—at Pageri—ready to graduate and wanting to go on for further training. Are any of you—or the group you may be a part of—interesting in pitching in to support a girl for these two additional years? We’d be happy to take all or part—but what we need is a two-year commitment. There’s a donation link off the page above. Payment could be monthly or all at once—it just needs to be reliable for two years. We may be able to provide a name and photo of any girls who are supported in this way.
NCP sends Solidarity Workers to join our partners in Nepal, South Sudan, the Dominican Republic, and Myanmar. These are six-month assignments (can be shorter in South Sudan) for the purpose of learning and serving, so we look for people who have an open mind to learning from our partners and their work, and who have skills to offer . We also are looking for people who feel good about NCP and will represent us well while abroad and share their experience with others once they come home. NCP provides a stipend to partially or fully underwrite the cost of the experience.
Right now we have Solidarity Workers in Nepal (working with Shakti Samuha, the group helping recuperate girls who have been in the sex trade) and the Dominican Republic (advocating the human rights of Haitian immigrants).
Here’s the link if this sounds like something that might interest you. We also offer Apprentice positions at our Sustainable Living Homesteads in Virginia and Vermont—check ‘em out.
Here’s an article by a former Marine commander in Afghanistan on how he learned to kill as a first response in some situations, even when the victim was—but can’t escape second thoughts. For those at the peace lecture I gave at Bridgewater College last week, this is a bit of a follow-up.
Eco fact Half as many living creatures live on planet earth as 40 years ago. The reasons: habitat loss, over-harvesting, introduced invasive species, pollution, climate change—in other words: humans. We’ll get up-close and personal with some of the creatures still left on the planet on our Ecuadorian Amazon and Denali/Kenai Fjords National Park (yes, Alaska!) Learning Tours this summer—good seats still available!
Faith fact Caesar Akeem was trained to be a peace worker by the Sudan Council of Churches—and he put it into practice. When Acholi people returned to South Sudan after fleeing to Uganda because of conflict, they started occupying the land of Caesar’s people, the Madi. This made the Madi angry enough to kill one of the offenders. The Acholi retaliated by killing five Madi. At this point Caesar intervened, telling his people “enough is enough” and warning that more retaliation would only mean a downward spiral of violence—and perhaps all-out war. People resisted—especially those who had lost family members. In the end, people listened to him, the conflict abated, and now the two groups intermarry, attend each others’ festivals, and cross each other’s lands freely. Blessed are the peacemakers.