Stories from Bombali

Excerpts from Fambul Tok Volunteer Sara Waldheim’s blog, Around the World with Sara. Follow her adventures here.

Secret Society Dancing

Secret Society student dancers

On May 31 I attended my first School Bonfire & Oral History Presentation at Panlap Community Junior Secondary School in Bombali District.

Fambul Tok is now in five schools in each of the six districts where they are active and have established Peace Clubs in each of these schools. As part of the sensitization surrounding the history of the war for the students and the whole community, Fambul Tok is holding bonfires and oral history presentations in all of their schools.

The first activity at the bonfire was a bonding football match between members of the school and two students from the nearby School for the Blind. After the match the bonfire ceremony began with introductions of the attending dignitaries including Paramount Chief Massalye.  His attendance was quite a triumph for Fambul Tok and shows the importance and success of the program.

There were many activities that took place during the bonfire. A young boy acting as an old man gave the oral history. He was outstanding in his delivery. Dancers representing the secret societies performed for us. A skit, showing some of the atrocities of the war, was presented.

Peace Mothers meeting

Peace Mothers discuss next steps

The next two activities with Fambul Tok revolved around Peace Mother meetings. The first meeting took place in the Masongbo Section, Masongbo Village.  This section earned a casava grinding machine as part of the “walk side by side” system of rewarding sections who show great initiative and capabilities. In this case, the section has a very large casava farm and needs the grinder to preserve the casava for future sales. The purpose of this meeting is to give guidance about planning for the use of the machine.  Joseph, team leader of the Fambul Tok District Staff, kicked off the meeting by establishing the purpose of the machine and giving suggestions of how the community can use the machine economically.

The next Peace Mother meeting was held in Masabong Section, Makanie Village.  The purpose of this meeting was similar to the first one, except this village was presented with a rice-milling machine as a reward for success with their rice farming.

This is was third visit to this sectional meeting of the Peace Mothers.  This is the section that has a very successful revolving loan scheme started in 2011 with 750,000SLL. A scant three years later they now have 17,000,000SLL in their account and all the villages in the section have begun businesses using the revolving loan.