"When we change ourselves, we change the people around us."
- Therapist Marie-Josee Ukeye, Butare, Rwanda
It takes unimaginable will and courage to move ahead after trauma. For many of the women of Butare, Rwanda, there has been much to survive. Many of those who lived through the genocide lost family, friends and children. Countless numbers were victims of rape; some went on to raise the children born of those rapes, and many live with HIV.
Therapist Marie-Josee Ukeye has been using the practice of Council for the past 2 years in her work with the courageous women of Butare. She will be one of the participants of the training being held by Center for Council at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
Council Trainer Siri Gunnarson reflects on visiting the Murambi memorial site, where 50,000 Tutsis were killed in one morning in 1994:
"We saw the mass graves and hundreds of preserved bodies. Our guide asked if we were doing some kind of yoga, noticing how we entered each room in silent awareness. How to be fully present with this history? ...Here I am, looking at room after room of bodies contorted with fear, bullet holes and machete wounds."
She quotes Bernie Glassman:
"In the Zen Peacekeeper Order, we stress bearing witness to the wholeness of life, to every aspect of the situation that arises. It means being each and every element of this situation."
Center for Council is honored to be partnered with Zen Peacekeepers, the Rwandan National Commission on Reconciliation, and local NGOs, bringing the practice of Council and of bearing witness to this community.