I don’t mind
Kiaps need to get off the defensive & acknowledge their flaws

Village life: The waging of warfare & the making of peace

The makeshift homeBOMAI D WITNE

WHENEVER Nembare, my father, came to visit, I would take time to ask questions about life at home and what he was doing.

Last weekend, when I caught up with two tribesmen, Steven Gari and Joe Kuman, for a few beers, I shared a story that Nembare told me.

After the Local Level Government Council election in 2008, inter-clan warfare broke out between the Pile and the Wamil-Nulaikia clans of the Yuri tribe.

Many houses were burned and gardens destroyed. Nembare had to relocate from Dekawi to Pildimna and make a makeshift home for his family.

His biggest dilemma was how to relocate two huge pigs he had raised. I smiled broadly while listening to the story of how he managed to get the pigs to his new home.

Nembare did not foresee the post-election warfare, so he had not make any gardens on the Pildimna site where he settled as the fighting raged.

He told me that, when the rest of his clansmen were at the battlefield, he would dress like everyone else and carry his weapons to the battlefield but not to fight.

He was shielding his wife from the enemies so she could harvest their gardens for that night’s dinner for themselves and the pigs. It was a silent battle he fought throughout that time.

While Nembare and his family were bombarded with all kinds of thoughts and struggled for survival in their new home, Steven Gari took the initiative to become a peace broker.

Steven is a Yuri man from the Kerikane clan, among the few Yuri tribesmen with a passion for people. He walked almost three kilometres across the warring clans’ land to call for everyone to come together.

He succeeded in negotiating a peace with help from other leaders.

Nembare had his own story for Steven. He told me that at his makeshift home he was battling between his life and his two pigs.

There were very little food and sometimes nothing.

He had to decide to eat the food with his family or share it with the pigs.

He was going through great adversity, but as a Yuri man, he was used to similar hardship and was able to deal with it.

In the midst of this struggle, he heard someone calling for people to get together for peace. He later found out that it was Steven Gari.

He and described Steven’s call in Yuri, “Na kinan gole, kepa war du warpnga kaun i Steven Gari u Akolman, kalkane el war dungo na plke” (When I was hungry and looking for food, I heard Steven Gari screaming and I heard).

I revealed this story to Steven and Joe and we had a good laugh over those beers.

Nembare’s experiences and reaction to Steven’s involvement reflected the reality of the actions and thoughts of people during tribal or inter-clan warfare.

Steven’s involvement as a peace broker was not easy when bad experiences and trauma are fresh in people’s minds. Steven and his team knew they were there to accomplish a mission to make peace for the warring clans. The warring clans were trying to make sense of the reality facing them.

Joe and I were not on the scene when Steven was there but the story was enough to give us contentment and pleasure.

The beer was refreshing and Joe and I thanked Steven for his involvement in making the peace.


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