Tag Archives: World Vision

Tuza 2.0: Day Two


[June 24, 2103]: Kigali to Butare to Kigali

Day starts with a breakfast of croissant, hardboiled egg, dragon fruit, and coffee. Our team left Solace Ministries this morning to have devotions with World Vision Rwanda staff. Met with senior staff and Director George Gitau. He gave a history of WV in Rwanda since 1994. They work in 15 of the 30 sectors in the country. They are working to stop most handouts (e.g., school fees programs) and wean off dependency of international donor dollars as much as possible…and replace with economic development plans. They are helping Rwandans form saving and lending formations. Seemed to be saying that focus on genocide and trauma was passing to work on peace building and prevention curriculum with younger children. Using Christian musicians to bridge the cultural divide in the country. While prevention strategies are a great move, just because 19 years have passed doesn’t mean the trauma of the genocide and aftermath are finished. Transformation of traumatized populations are still needed.

From World Vision we left to visit the One Stop Center, a government institution for women experiencing domestic violence, a place to get medical help and seek justice. We were not allowed in for some reason. At this point, our teams split up. The larger group visited the genocide memorial, had lunch and did a bit of shopping. My group, Diane Langberg, Laura Captari (AACC) and Marianne Millen (student from Biblical) took a 2 hour trip to Butare (AKA Huye) to visit with Bishop Nathan Gasatura of the Anglican church. As board member of the Prostestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS), he brought us to the school and led a meeting with the vice rector and key faculty/staff. PIASS started in 1973 as an institute in theology. They added 2 faculties (what we would call schools) in 2010 and expect to had another by 2017 when they reach university status. In 2 years the school has grown from 300 or so to over 1000. Most classes are held on evenings and most students commute. We discussed possible ways we could support counseling training for pastors and school counselors who want to tackle issues of domestic violence, abuse, addictions, and trauma recovery. Seemed the most logical and realistic way to help is to develop some 1-2 night public seminars and a few short courses (100 hours across 2 weeks) for credit. Those with good skills in training pastors, cross cultural competency, and the specific content specialists would be welcome here.

On a tight schedule we “flew” back to Kigali with our driver Jean Pierre. Anyone looking for a careful driver in Kigali should hire him! By a miracle we narrowly missed hitting a young man who was crossing the road without looking. None of us in the car understand how we did not hit him (traveling at 30 miles an hour). Later, we stopped for our driver to make a call and were mobbed by school children on the way home wanting to try out their English with us.

We arrived back at Solace to go immediately into an impromptu meeting with 20 Bible Society volunteers and workers. The other team members had been listening to how the BS was using Healing Wounds of Trauma material in Kigali and other sectors of the country. We listened to some of their trauma cases: cases of forced rape, genocide victims, and forced abortions after rape. Many reported that HWT is the best material they have had access to over the past 19 year. There was one who felt the same but wished to not start with the chapter about why we suffer as there is some in the country who are inclined to quiet people with such material. I did a short presentation about how to ground individuals who are actively distressed and dissociation. We concluded the evening with a late dinner with the BS volunteers. Another home run by Simeon at Solace!

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Filed under AACC, christian counseling, counseling skills, genocide, ptsd, Rwanda

DRC/Rwanda Trip: Day 9


October 19, 2011, Kigali, Rwanda

Finally! Our conference begins. 19 separate group represented here for a total of 42 caregivers. Baraka Unwingeneye (IJM and lay counselor trainer) opened the conference with small and large group discussions on the causes, symptoms, and definition of trauma. The participants were active in discussions. The energy is high! Baraka concluded her section by reminding us all that everyone can be traumatized, even the strong in body and faith. Diane then spoke for 50 minutes or so on the nature of traumatic memory and an overview of the first two phases of intervention. Her voice was a bit weak as she came down with a cold but she delivered it well just the same. Her outline provided a useful reminder of treatment necessity: talking…tears…time. She concluded with some discussion of how having healing relationships, a purpose, and faith all play significant roles in the recovery process.

We ended the morning with a handkerchief project where participants created a depiction of their grief/suffering and then shared it with others. We knew this was going to be powerful and that it would take time. However, we were somewhat surprised at just how powerful it was and how much the participants valued telling others (in dyads and groups) a portion of their trauma story. Several told us that even though they had been counseling others since the genocide in 1994, they had never told anyone their own trauma story.

Our afternoon continued with small and large group activities/discussions and concluded with a question and answer session. The group is hungry for information and we do not have to do much to encourage conversation, discussion, and engagement. Our late afternoon and evening is spent resting, planning for tomorrow’s work and enjoying each other’s company. The food continues to be outstanding at Solace. The only complaint I have is how early the roosters and birds start calling. 4 am is way too early for this. Just outside my window is something sounding like a bird having swallowed a bugle. I later discover it is the gray crowned crane. Here’s a short video I shot from my balcony where I got it to “sing.”  (photos by Joshua Straub)

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Filed under AACC, counseling, counseling skills, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rwanda, trauma

Trauma Recovery Work in the DRC and Rwanda


Location map of Rwanda

Image via Wikipedia

It is official. Diane Langberg and I have our tickets for our upcoming trip to the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda where we will be interacting with trauma victims, pastors (who are also trauma victims), Bible Society and World Vision workers, and probably medical and education officials as well.

We leave on October 10 and arrive in Uganda on the 11th. We will be traveling into the DRC in the northeast quadrant (picture tiny plane!) near Bunia and also to Goma, on the shores of Lake Kivu and under the shadow of a large and active volcano. There we will be observing the work of the American Bible Society and She’s My Sister as well as meeting with rape and trauma survivors.

On the 17th, Lord willing, we’ll drive from Goma into Rwanda to Kigali. There we will be joined by colleague Carol King (Langberg & Associates therapist) and Josh Straub of the AACC and our Rwandan compatriots Josephine (WV) and Baraka (IJM) and will lead a  three-day training seminar re: trauma recovery resources and best practices. The plan is to return home via Kenyatta airport and Brussels on the 22nd.

Prepping for the trip includes everything from shots to planning who does what training segments. Those of you inclined to do so, pray for the logistics there as World Vision Rwanda puts the final touches on the location of training and invitees. A lot of work must happen for this to go smoothly. Also, there is an effort to raise funds for this (Project Tuza) at the AACC World Conference in Nashville the last week of September. Pray that attendees will catch a vision and support us as they can.

Anyone wishing to donate can here.

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Filed under Congo, counseling, counseling science, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rwanda, trauma, Uncategorized