GCJ Burundi Project Director Brock Blatter leaves next week along with delegates Bob Flax and Wes Herbert, for a two week sojourn to Burundi. Joining with our Burundi Host, Prosper Ndbashuriye, they will spend their time in Carama helping to build homes and latrines, getting to know the community, getting the full update on the situation with water there, and learning about their needs. They’ll return home with their first hand reports and understanding to help us plan an extraordinary Journey for next summer’s delegates. Watch this blog for updates!
A Giraffe Hero returns from the Niger Delta:
A conversation with Giraffe Joel Bisina and an African celebration
Sunday evening, June 1
Whidbey Island – Langley United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
7:00 – 9:30 pm
As you may know, the Sweet Crude documentary film crew was imprisoned for a week in mid-April by Nigerian authorities. Joel Bisina, my husband, was one of those detained. While the American detainees returned to the US right away, Joel has just returned to his home on Whidbey Island after this difficult and dangerous experience.
The Langley-based nonprofit Giraffe Heroes Project (www.giraffe.org) is hosting this event to give the community an opportunity to welcome Joel back and learn more about how he has been “sticking his neck out” for the common good.
Joel was commended as a Giraffe Hero in 2004 for his courageous and passionate commitment to improving the social, economic and environmental plight of the Niger Delta’s people, a plight caused by 50 years of drilling for oil and the government’s failure to include the resident community in the resulting profits. To learn more of Joel’s story, check out http://www.giraffe.org/hero_Joel.html.
The first half of the June 1 event will include a short cut of the documentary, a discussion about the recent events in the delta, and a dialogue between Joel and Giraffe President John Graham, who was previously a US diplomat for African Affairs during the Carter administration.
Then the celebration – we’ll enjoy social time, with African music played by local Island musicians (dancing optional!). Light refreshments will be served. Suggested donation is $5.
Please come join us for a fun and inspiring event.
p.s – If you’re coming from Seattle, the event is just a 15 min drive after you take the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry, in downtown Langley at 301 Anthes.
As we have investigated the challenges for bringing clean water to Carama, we have learned how much is called for to work wisely and carefully in partnership with community. We have decided it best for a small ‘away team’ to go this summer of 2008 to help lay the ground work to develop a Water and Sanitation Plan with the community of Carama, as well as to initiate planning for Town Hall meetings. Then, next summer, we will bring a full delegation over. So for those of you who wanted to join us but couldn’t do so this year… Join us!
YES! We are still accepting applications and have a number of openings — so please get yours in and spread the word to others who might be interested. We’d especially like the delegation to include some with interest and knowledge about — water systems for a small community, post traumatic stress and healing, teachers, etc.
We hope to have all delegates live in the Puget Sound area, since that allows for maximal team building, preparation, and mutual support before and after the Journey. We have had a number of requests from out of towners, and have devised the following criteria: we are open to consider delegates from out of the area if they are willing to commit to coming to Seattle for a weekend training/team building before the Journey — and a weekend debrief/sharing after the Journey. We also ask that they find at least one or more other delegate to join with them from their community, so they will not be isolated.
We are watching the situation in Kenya closely — and are considering flying to Bujumbura via Addis Ababa instead of Nairoba. We have found this route is considerably less expensive and then keeps us out of what may continue to be a volatile situation.
We have just updated the application so be sure to use the version dated 3/12/08
There is a new Nigerian slide show up on the site of The Common Language Project with photos and captions that give a glimpse into life in Lagos. While you’re at the site, take a look at the many fascinating stories, audio pieces and slide shows. The young people who have created this independent media project dedicated to humane journalism provide provocative and inspiring stories, with insights vital to global citizens and a mission akin to Global Citizen Journey. As they describe themselves:
“The Common Language Project reports news from around the world about groups and individuals working outside of the mainstream, with a specific focus on stigmatized regions and peoples underrepresented in the traditional media. Our coverage is focused on issues of human rights, gender equality, social and economic justice, education, labor, and health We believe that the best stories are told from the bottom up, not the top down, and seek out people working on the ground and those directly affected by the issues, not bureaucrats and politicians, as our primary sources.”
They will be traveling to Ethiopia and Kenya this Spring, when their reporting will focus on water in East Africa. Special note: One of the CLP founders is Jessica Partnow, daughter of GCJ founder Susan Partnow. Look for her 5 part audio series on the Duwamish River in Seattle, aired this fall by NPR.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since 40 Global Citizen Journey delegates gathered in the Niger Delta: 19 from the Puget Sound Area and 21 from around Nigeria.
We are welcoming you to this blog so that we can share news, help keep our Nigerian relationships connected and alive — and expand our understanding of Nigeria.
It is thrilling to see the legacy of the journey grow. US delegate Ryan has made five return trips. The film Sweet Crude is nearing completion. The library has new computers, air conditioning, and a generator — and a v-sat which you’ll see in the photo, which now brings the internet to the remote village of Oporoza! Stay tuned for a blog entry on the microlending project.
This is the new blog for the Burundi journey! Stay tuned for developments. We are currently reviewing applications and still have slots available — so be sure to get your completed application in as soon as possible. We are especially hoping to add some delegates with background in civil engineering, water, agriculture and PTSD/healing & reconciliation – among others. Please help spread the word.
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