Letters

Sharing the lessons of conflict management

I found issue 37 of Footsteps so interesting and appreciated the way you approached the topic of conflict management.

I was the Youth Ambassador representing Uganda in 1998 as part of World Vision’s annual programme which brings together about 50 young people from 50 different countries for three months. The main aim of this programme is to try and solve the many conflicts in the world today.

This year our theme was ‘Justice and Reconciliation’ and 53 youths from 53 different countries took part. The training was held in California, USA, where we spent five weeks. All of us had skills in the performing arts and we developed these to use in sharing what we learnt. Following training, we visited various countries including Taiwan, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and South Africa. We performed both to ordinary people and to Government officials, and the press often helped spread our message. We would like everyone to hear our message of peace, justice and reconciliation.

John Albert Emuna, PO Box 16670 Wandegeya,, Kampala, Uganda, East Africa. E-mail: ejonal@avumuk.ac.ug

Church-based community development course

This is a course developed by a Footsteps reader, Willem Klaassen. It consists of about 24 lessons and, following considerable interest from Footsteps readers, he is offering to make the course available free of charge to those with e-mail access. Please e-mail with details of your name, organisation, postal address and how and when you intend to use the course. In return he asks for a brief evaluation (with possible recommendations for improvement) once the course has been finished. The lessons are written only in English in MS-Works 4.0 and will be sent as an e-mail attachment file. Any readers able to translate the course into Spanish, French or Portuguese should also make contact.

E-mail: ruralmin@realnet.co.sz Rural Ministries / Umnotfo Farmers Assoc, PO Box 387, Veni H10, Swaziland Fax: + 268 20933

A new understanding of the Kingdom of God

A CHANGE has taken place on the city rubbish tips. Before, they were only picked over by buzzards, but now the poorest people in Pucalpa are earning their living off the rubbish too. What has happened?

There are so many problems facing the people here that I don’t know how to pray. The church restricts itself to teaching the Word and preaching the Kingdom of God in heaven, with no commitment to this world. Government leaders are only concerned with finding enough to eat and copying the lifestyle of the US and Europe. We need a different understanding of the Kingdom of God and pray that God will give us the spiritual strength to reach our goal.

Demosthenes Valera, Av 9 de Octubre £153, Camino al IPSS, Pucallpa 1, Ucayali, Peru.

Training in fish farming

MEMBERS of our farming group have recently returned from a fish farming course in Babati, Tanzania, which we first heard about in Footsteps. The course was very impressive and we learned a lot. Now we are sharing with our other members and the community all that we learned. At present we have 14 old fish ponds, but now we plan to build more and expand our present ones so we can try out the new ideas we have learned.

David Simiyu Walukesi, Yembe/Nasusi Organic Farming, Organisation, PO Box 643, Kimilili, Kenya.

Natural fallow

THE PLANT AND ANIMAL DEBRIS which falls onto the soil during the fallow period is a source of organic material which, when broken down, releases elements that fertilise the soil. This contributes to improving cultivated crop yields. Because it covers the soil, natural vegetation significantly limits erosion and plays an important role in restructuring the soil.

In rural tropical African societies, natural fallow allows poor farmers to save both the money and manual labour that would be needed to buy and apply chemical fertilisers.

Natural fallow is rare in densely populated regions owing to the shortage of farming land. Here farmers are more likely to use chemical fertilisers to restore soil fertility. By contrast, in areas of low population natural fallow is practised without problems. In these forested regions, natural fallow has a great future in village soil practices as long as the village people are made aware of it and encouraged in its practice.

Emmanuel Noumsi, DERPRES – NGO, BP 533 Nkongsamba, Cameroon. Fax: +237 49 31 45

Long distance drivers

RECENTLY I have been looking into the working conditions of long distance bus and lorry drivers. These men stay away from their families for a long time. They often travel into remote areas where they lack proper accommodation. Sometimes they sleep in their buses because they need to leave early. This may result in problems for female passengers. Also mosquitoes can freely enter the buses spreading malaria.

Drivers often use prostitutes and run the risk of catching or spreading disease and AIDS. Sometimes they wash in rivers where they are exposed to waterborne diseases. To prevent accidents, these drivers need to have rules about how long they can drive and proper accommodation where they can rest. All of us put our lives in their hands when we travel.

Macmillan Njekeya, Soon Christian Fellowship, PO Box 13, Gutu, Zimbabwe.

Smoking November

THE ENVIRONMENT is nature’s precious gift to all of us. What happens to it affects everyone.

As we all know, pollution is a growing problem. Here in Ethiopia the main causes of pollution are poor sanitation, trash and litter on the alleyways and the dumping of chemical waste from factories into rivers.

On the 22 November we observe Hidar Sitatten or ‘Smoking November’. Every year on this day, people get up early and sweep up all the litter and burn it. The practice began during the reign of Emperor Menelik and has been carried out every year since.

Kerealem Egjigu, Oromiya Zone Dept of Agriculture, PO Box 10, Kemisse, Amhara NR State, Ethiopia.