Friday, February 18, 2011

Holy Trinity Peace Village

     In 1997, Bishop Paride Taban started the Peace Village in Kuron, which lies close to the Ethiopian border in the extreme southeastern corner of Sudan. The name of the village, Peace, was chosen because it was his dream to promote peace among the various tribes living in the area. The tribes are descended from common ancestors, speak related languages and live by similar customs, but consider each other traditional enemies because of competition for natural resources – water and grazing land for their cattle – and because they regularly conduct raids to abduct each other’s cattle.

     The main activities of the Peace Village are a school, a farm, and cultural and sports activities for youth. There is also a clinic on the Peace Village property, which provides the only medical care for many miles around. People from different tribes participate in these activities together, providing an opportunity to build peaceful relationships and trust among one another.

     Below is a photograph of women learning to farm at the Peace Village. Traditionally people in the area lived as nomadic pastoralists, a lifestyle that limits the foods that can be cultivated to eat. By learning new farming methods, it is hoped that the people will be able to grow more to eat, will have better health as a result of a more balanced diet, and will be able to earn some money by selling surplus food – which should reduce cattle raiding activity. Some of the farming skills taught are using oxen to plow the land, improved varieties of seeds that can be used, and animal husbandry.

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