Being a light of change in Nigeria
Creators of Peace was introduced for the first time in Nigeria in mid September. Two Peace Circles were facilitated in Lagos State by Portia Mosia, an international co-ordinator of Creators of Peace and Jackie Euvrard. They were invited by the board of MRA/Initiatives of Change Nigeria, co-ordinated by Benedicta Ngozi Opara.
Nine days in Lagos was fairly short when trying to absorb, discover, understand life's challenges in a city of 21 million. Travelling on the highway one caught sight of the expanse of Lagos, housing as far as the eye could see. Some of the participants who live on the outskirts of the city had to leave home at 4.30am to be in time to start the Peace Circle at 9am!
'The Peace Circle process is transformative and unique', says one of the 19 participants who is active in MRA/Initiatives of Change. 'Some of the things we knew about but did not know how to apply them'.
This is a group of women who could definitely make a difference wherever they are. Participants went away ready to put into practice decisions they made, new perspectives they found and to carry out an opportunity to work together in groups on different projects.
A political activist found it a new experience to put her mobile phone on silent during the work sessions of the Peace Circle out of respect for those she was meeting with. She mentioned afterwards how refreshing it was as not many people had challenged her to be disciplined in this way!
One young caterer thought the time together was going to be about women rights. Then she began to realise it was geared to assist with personal transformation in order to be a peacemaker. She expressed how determined she was about wanting her own way and fought hard to get it. She went away with the thought to be willing to listen to others and their point of view.
Another said Peace Circles touched an inner core on forgiving that she did not realise was still there.
An engineer said that she knew she was a bad listener. She wanted to communicate more effectively with the contractors. The next day she went to work and met with them. She was able to exercise the skills she has learnt and the contractors were amazed by the change in her. She feels she can avoid conflict by listening to them.
An older participant felt the need to apologise to her daughters for not always being there when they needed her.
On the last day of the Peace Circle each person held a lit candle and was given an opportunity to blow it out and let go of any hurt or painful memory that had held them back. Many decisions and choices were made during this ceremony. One lady said she wanted to let go of bitterness and be the light of change to others.
Being a 'light of change to others' expressed well what the 19 women left with.
Portia Mosia and Jackie Euvrard
Photos by Jackie Euvrard