"++In Africa if I am healed, I can heal 20 people just by interacting with them. They, in turn, can each heal 20 people, and so on. In Africa, that’s how it works!"
William Saa, Liberian peacebuilder
Traditional Community Reconciliation, especially Mourning Feasts, including feasts for women, zos, and youth as well as ceremonies for the animals (particularly elephants, considered a sign of peace), the forest and the water.
Traditional Mourning Feasts help the dead complete their journey ‘across the river’ to their final rest. Prior to the feast itself, the community engages in a process of intensive reconciliation, culminating in the feast. By eating from the common bowl, people are taking an oath of reconciliation. The community’s conflicts then are put to rest permanently with the dead. These feasts are uniquely effective in bringing together deeply divided communities for unity, reconciliation, healing and future planning.
everyday gandhis held the first traditional Mourning Feast held in Liberia since the civil war, peacefully bringing together over 5,000 people of differing faiths and ethnicities to honor the dead and reconcile with each other.
We supported the first traditional land cleansing ceremonies held in Voinjama since the war, during which numerous insects, reptiles, animals and birds unexpectedly and peacefully appeared but did not harm or threaten the people. More than a dozen ceremonies have been held serving most of the villages and surrounding communities in the Voinjama area.
Then, the first specific traditional ceremonies were held to reconcile the relationship between humans and elephants. Gatherings were held in three villages (both Mandingo and Lorma, the two main ethnic groups that fought each other during the war) during which people recounted their common history and reported that the elephants had come peacefully, and since their coming no poisonous or dangerous snakes and animals had entered the villages.
We continue to work with elders, opinion leaders and local government to plan and hold additional Mourning Feasts for women, youth and ‘zos’ (traditional healers). Ongoing ceremonies and debriefings are held in the U.S. for ‘gandhis’ returning from Africa and for Africans visiting U.S. for training and planning.