A Healing from War Workshop in Kenya

In September 2018 I led a one-day Healing from War Workshop in Kenya.

I talked about the importance of relationships and inclusion and said that we can only “win” if we work together as a Community. To do that, we need to look at and discharge on the messages of division.

One of our country’s tools of division is “negative ethnicity,” and it has caused civil unrest, violence, and death. This happened most recently in 2017, when many people lost their lives while peacefully protesting.

Several people at the workshop shared hurtful things they had heard said about themselves and their tribes and how that had affected them. Then they shared times when they had reached out across the divisions and what that had been like.

Below are comments from a few of the participants.

Janet Kabue

Area Reference Person for the
Nairobi, Kenya, RC Community

Thika, Kenya

 Jacky Wairimu Gachihi: “We did not begin life with hurts and distresses; the experiences we go through are what hurt, injure, and traumatize us.” That was one of the most profound statements for me at the workshop. I am committed to journeying back to my childhood as often as possible to remember what happened, feel the emotions, and discharge. I love that I can do this. I am committed to reclaiming my confidence and intelligence as a Black Kenyan woman. I forgive myself for any ways I have contributed to war and take responsibility for doing things differently. I plan to help build our RC Community.

Jane Lucy Gachihi: My highlights included our session on happy childhood memories; reflecting on being a Kikuyu, one of the tribes of Kenya; deciding to embrace all other tribes; and feeling encouraged to learn more about teaching RC in a bigger and better way.

Esther Wamuyu Riri: Re-evaluation Counseling helps us dig deep into our minds and discharge the distresses that are stored there. Colonization brought dehumanization. We had been used to a society in which we supported each other. But after colonization we were divided into ethnicities and religions, which made it easy to manipulate us into isolation and wars. Human relationships will help us end war.

Francis Gicharu: We tried to identify all the distresses that make us not relate well with other people. The class on colonization and how Africans were mistreated was outstanding. It made me realize how important it is to encourage people to speak about and heal from the distresses.

Samuel Kiriro: My highlights were the session on the happiest moments in my life (I remembered when I’d scored a goal in school); the session on bad things people say about my tribe and community—for example, that every young person from Mathare is a criminal; realizing how wars and violence remind me of how I was abused and rejected—I have been fighting this for a long time and want to continue until I heal from it; looking at the British divide-and-rule policy in Africa.

Wanjiku Kironyo: Some people attended who were new to Co-Counseling, so Janet took us through a basic introduction to RC. This formed a background for focusing on healing from war. Janet used visual aids that illustrated the genocide that had taken place during colonization.

Salome Wawire: A highlight was looking at what we had been told about other tribes, religions, and races—so many negative and untrue things—and also looking at the negative things people have said about my tribe that have affected me negatively. I was able to discharge about this. Another highlight was the session on the earliest time I could remember experiencing war.

Nafida Ali Talib: We talked about how we do not share deep feelings about things that happened to us when we were young, because of fear of being judged. I discharged about how my family had broken up when I was a child. I also discharged about good childhood memories, about how life was with my siblings. In 2017 we experienced a war between tribes. People were displaced, and some were killed. It is sad what colonialism did to Africa. I am determined to do more on that—as it affected me, too.

Maxwell Kabue Maina: A highlight was meeting and having sessions with people from Communities that had not previously been part of our workshops. Also, I realized that most of us do not acknowledge that we have war within ourselves. Some of the challenges and weaknesses I face today might have been caused by embarrassments and physical beatings I experienced in school or at home as a child. I need to address these hurts in sessions and by applying RC theory.

James Mwangi: I was able to discharge about wars and conflicts. I learned not to put blame on others and instead focus on healing. No tribe is special or superior to the rest; we are all born equal. I need to fully utilize this knowledge and make the world a better place.

Daniel Wambua: A highlight was a session in which I reflected on hurtful experiences in my childhood. It reminded me that as a parent I need to protect my children and make time to listen to them, so I do not become the source of their pain.

Mohamed Olow Hassan: The workshop was attended by diverse people who were able to come together and work to eradicate social injustices. I left a different person than who I was when I came to the workshop. I can see myself moving and growing in RC.

Anne Wanjiku Kamau: I’ve now been in RC for five years. I feel motivated to attend more workshops and be part of this Community. I have learned that people hurt each other because they were hurt by others.

Christine N. Mbithi: We have to know the root cause of the problems facing our country and free ourselves from our past experiences. We need to heal from war. We need supportive people who show us caring and love. I am committed to protecting and supporting the young adults and children.

Befrey Musavi: My highlight was the phrase “nobody is free until all of us are free.” Because of our hurts, we hurt others. I discharged on something I had heard about a tribe that had given me a negative perception of them, and also on what people have said about our tribe, which makes me angry. I realized that it’s not good to judge an entire tribe because of an individual.

Last modified: 2019-05-21 23:36:43+00