What if we had a built-in search engine, from which we could derive the answers and solutions to any question or problem? What if we already had the willpower and means to achieve all of our dreams? What if this were not an imaginary idea, but real?
Africa is probably the place on Earth that is in the most in need of peace. Realizing inner peace and outer peace (PIPO) in Africa is a dream that is now becoming a reality for Africans. This dream is being attained through the use of the search engines of three very special peace agents.
Peace Agents Aya Chebbi from Tunisia , Kubwimana Venuste from Rwanda and Mediatrix Masava from Kenya organized this tour, with the help of Mike Muikia Kanyo of Initiatives of Change, and Rose Wachuka, the Host Peace Rebel. They managed to successfully reach 400 students and teachers despite the ongoing teachers’ strike at public universities. Kenya will soon have its national elections in March 2013, which makes the PIPO Mission challenging. These peace agents overcame this, and many other obstacles presented to them on this extraordinary task, by skillful use of their inner search engines, and by projecting their visions and achieving their goals.
Outering High School was the first stop for the team on the 24th September. Outering is in the middle of a slum area and many of the families living there are experiencing problems like alcoholism, domestic abuse and poverty. “The students need to know why peace is important to their lives, and go and share that to their families.” says Mediatrix. “so that Kenya can be peaceful. And also the communities can be peaceful.”
Some 120 High school students were passionately waiting for Peace Revolution as the Dean introduced the project. After a deep meditation the students had a chance to engage with the teaching monk, Venerable Somsak Piyaseelo from the Johannesburg Meditation Center. Venerable Somsak said, “Human Rights starts from self-respect”. And self-respect is cultivated through meditation and virtuous self-discipline.
It was a great start up but it was just the beginning: the following mission was at the Catholic University. Peace Agent Venu, who is the director of the International Transformation Foundation, contacted the priest in charge. The participants understood that meditation is not related to religion but it can actually help being at peace when practicing one’s religion. The attendees expressed a comprehensive understanding of meditation, and were amazed by the universality of meditation which has no limitation, no age, no time, no religion.
The following stop was the Forrnax institute, which is a small college in downtown Nairobi. Even though the attendees were few, those who were there had learnt a great deal about meditation. Venerable Somsak explained and illustrated the four levels of meditation “Relaxation, Inner Peace & Contentment, Healing and Spirituality”. Everyone had a chance to ask questions and left the room with peaceful smiles on their faces that made the mission successful regardless of the number. One of them remarked “whoever made this is a genius”.
September 25th was a new day for another peace journey. Heading to the Nairobi Institute of Business studies, Peace Revolution passed through Nairobi’s slums and market district. They were able to discover more about people’s daily lives, and admired Africa’s beautiful trees. At the Institute 100 students prepared themselves and got ready for a special inner peace experience. The event started with a presentation about the Peace Revolution project, followed by a meditation, and ended with a PIPO sharing session. “Peace Revolution will be sharing about peace, trust building and integrity,” says Mike Muikia of Initiatives of Change and ‘Kenya I Care’, “so that students can become aware of the times they are living in and through this, they will be able to respond to these challenges in a better way.”
Maclina Onserio, a social worker and member of NIBS said, “I felt so nice, I forgot about the war within me. Because when people have problems, I can’t exclude myself from having those problems. It is normal to have problems, but at that moment I felt the peace. I felt that I own the problems. I should find peace and a way to solve those problems, because they hinder you from achieving many things. If you don’t have peace in your mind, there’s no way you are going to have peace with other people. And as a social worker I would like to have peace with myself. And today my mind was at peace”.
Saint Bakita Girls High School was the last stop of the Kenya tour. Around 150 young girls filled up a big room sitting next to each other, echoing innocent laughs all over the place. The mental object was special in this session, because it referred to a perfectly rounded ice cream ball. The teaching monk activated the imagination of the teenagers by encouraging them to freely choose the color and the flavor of their ice cream.
Some of the girls shared their experience during meditation, Tessi said, “At the beginning I felt something in my mind, a great calm. Then something went down from my throat to my stomach, where I felt a great relief. Then I saw myself inside. I was sitting with my legs crossed. It was like a miracle, I didn’t know what was happening to me. I felt a great calm, relief and peace in myself, that’s all.”
Grace enjoyed visualizing the ice-cream, “I tasted the vanilla flavor ice cream, it was yellow in color and I liked it. It was super-dooper especially when it was dropping down to my stomach and I loved it. I breathed in and out and I felt a lot of peace within myself.”
And Catherine could also feel peace within herself, “I saw myself in the bubble and I was crossing my legs inside the bubble. It was so peaceful and it was so bright. And I’m thankful for that.”
Heavy rain was falling outside but it could not dampen the joy inside the room. Mediatrix and Mike led the girls in a peace song which only highlighted the power we all have to create peace, not only within ourselves, but to create it for others too. ‘When change starts within my heart, then I can show the world the way to go. We will be the change; we want the world to see.’ And with this melody Peace Revolution’s tour ended. Reaching out to different ages, backgrounds, social classes and different beliefs of Kenya’s multi-cultural nature was effectively achieved.
Written by: Peace Agent Aya Chebbi