Really! Yes, the success of Fambul Tok Sierra Leone has generated a substantial amount of buzz throughout Africa, and beyond. Given the interest and potential, the Fambul Tok leadership decided to transition Fambul Tok, which was a program of CFP and FOC, to an international NGO, Fambul Tok International (FTI). WOW!! FTI will have its global program headquarters in Salone and corporate headquarters in the US, and both John and Libby will lead the way forward.
Currently, the program is transitioning to FTI and will fully function under the new identity as of January 1st, 2010. What will happen to Fambul Tok Sierra Leone? Nothing, it will serve as the learning lab for those from other countries. Also, since Fambul Tok Sierra Leone is in the process of facilitating reconciliation in all 14 districts in the country, “Na small small.” We plan to add 3 new districts in 2010, bringing our total to 6 districts. Where is FTI going next? No country has been identified yet, but FTI’s focus is on post-conflict countries. Maybe Liberia!?
On a recent visit to Ndaabu community, Kailahun District, the community expressed Fambul Tok has reminded them the importance of traditional practices and togetherness. Six months after their ceremony, chief John Bockarie said there is communal understanding of reconciliation. He said people who decided to reconcile on the Fambul Tok bonfire night are managing to sustain the reconciliation. He said indeed people meant the confessions, the forgivenesses and the reconciliations.
As a community, they now have a community farm that all matured people participated as a symbol of unity. Even though they all have their individual farms, the community decided to come together as a result of the unity forged by the Fambul Tok reconciliation process. Chief Bockarie they now have enough food for any visitor in their village as that was the essence of the community farm, and to share the seedlings with those who do not have seedling to farm in their community.
He said they have learnt a lot from their past mistakes and that is why they are embracing the Fambul Tok project that is geared towards community reconciliation using traditional practices. Chief Bockarie said they intend to use some of the proceeds of the community farm to build their community barrie where they will meet and discuss issues relating to their village.
Generally, the community people of Darbu said they are experiencing perfect quietness and love as people no longer resort to court actions but the reconciliation committee that is a custodian of the community reconciliation process. The reconciliation committee is made up of religious leaders (pastors and imams), youth leader, women’s leader and the community chief. They mediate among their people in their own traditional way as Fambul Tok dictates. No fines are inflicted but peace is sought through traditional patterns that gives satisfaction to the aggreived and the perpetrator.
An elderly woman in Darbu community, Madam Musu, said she is now seeing some semblance of love and cooperation among the youths in the community. She prayed that the reconciliation holds so that their great grand children will know peace and understand that their traditions and culture are valuable and should not be neglected. She said such traditions held their communities together in the past but that they all lost that practice as a result of the war or westernization. She said since libation was poured to their fore fathers for tranquility and good harvest, Darbu has produced plenty food this year than experienced in twenty-five years time. She said it was because people neglected their culture which promoted discipline and communal work for development that was why they lost the blessings of their ancestors. But she said she was happy Fambul Tok is uniting them and making use of their valuable traditions and cultures that held them together.
By PEL Koroma
Eight months after their reconciliation ceremony, Yengema community, Kailahun District, are now experiencing a sign of ingenuity, unity, and progress. Town chief Karimu Lamin attributes the progress to the ancestors accepting the communities plea for reconciliation and peace. In passing, he said they are encountering an expectational harvest and victims, offenders, and witnesses are now working together to develop the community.
The willingness of the community to let go of issues dividing them has gone a long way. They have unified and divided themselves into groups of fifteen to undertake their farming initiatives. The chief explained it was Fambul Tok that insisted that we work together and consequently they have started collaborating.
The youth leader, Senesie Alpha, said his colleagues are now demonstrating good manners in the community since confessing at the bon fire. He mentioned that they will never do the wrong things again to their own community members.
The unity and progress was evident, the community has constructed four new houses with their own resources and they all expressed gratitude towards the project for initiating togetherness. Below are some pictures:
Written by Pel Koroma (Communication Officer)