Thursday, April 05, 2007

Appreciating Johnson Town

Weather: Hot and very humid, with daytime highs in the mid 90sF and night time lows around 80F. Hazy skies.

Wednesday brother-in-law Henry joined me as I took my act on the road back to Johnson Town. Johnson Town wants to develop—they want a school, clinic, a church, and commerce. They also want to tackle some sticky psychosocial issues, like what to do with young men returning after fighting in a very dirty war, or how to address alcoholism in the community, or how to address conflict in a more healthy way. Working with staff from the MPCHS Womens' Program, I’ll be there regularly for the next few months establishing trust and building relationship that may allow me to serve them in practical ways on these issues. This week, we conducted what is called an “appreciative inquiry,” which basically means asking members to look positively at the community—what are its strengths and resources, what makes it unique, who are its leaders, what are its dreams. From there we begin a process of tapping into all that positive energy to help them make good things happen.

We arrived and the Johnson Town folks were already in the partially completed Women's Resource Center, waiting for us. This is a panorama using three pictures.

Another pan shot after the meeting closed. Yers Trooly on the left was feeling blessed to listen to these concerned Johnson Town residents express their hopes and dreams for the future.

Leaving the center. It is being built by the women of the town. Pastor Henry Kranenburg on the left.

The center just two weeks ago.

As I said, built by the women. Each woman is responsible to provide 1000 bricks. Provide means make. Here Hawa digs the earth in the hot African sun, makes the mud and puts it in a wook brick form. Every Tuesday she'll make a 100 until she reaches a thousand.

A bit of Johnson Town. Cooking hut on the left.

The town is made up of a very few central structures with a few dozen others in the surrounding bush. More on this in another post.

After our time is over, participants head home, chairs in hand.