Sharing Sisterhood Across the Globe

Sister to Sister is a place to renew for women of all cultures, faiths and races. Coretta Scott King said, "Women, if the soul of the Nation is to be saved, I believe we must become its soul." I would like to add "Earth" instead of "Nation." We need to widen the borders and challenge the world to become a better place. Join the conversation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Starting Small

Despina Mwembe from Uganda (shown here with her colleague and friend, Heidi Rautionmaa from Finland) submits her first blog to the Sister II Sister network. I'm proud to call her both friend and sister. She shares a story of starting small--in order to accomplish the bigger things for peace. Despina is a peace ambassador who works alongside others in a quest to end religiously motivated violence and to build cultures of peace, justice and healing for the world.
P.K. McCary, Host of the Sister to Sister Blog

Dear Friends,
This morning I went to the Ministry in charge of religious affairs because it is a current requirement for all NGOs to get clearance letters from their line ministries in order for them to continue with their business.  As I was coming in the Minister was getting out so we chatted for a little while and he informed me that his assistant Ronald who works on those issues shall be handling my case.  He called him and as I was waiting for his secretary to photocopy some of the organizational proof documents I had gone with, we started a conversation.
     Apparently, Ronald and his friends belong to a prayer group which was practically targeting the workers because they don't have time  to attend to prayers.  This was started by 2-3 people in one of the institutions which was regarded by most Ugandans as the most corrupt institution ... The Revenue Authority.  Every day, they would meet and pray during lunch time, share a sermon by whoever had prepared to do it that day. As the days went by, more employees joined them to a tune of 35, the Institution started getting more revenue collections.  The employees were commended by their heads, those praying also increased again more in number. Later, some talked to a few of their collegues in the Presidents house locally referred to as State house, ethical conduct started to prevail, though coupled with other pressures. Today the President is openly coming up to condemn corruption and also starting to have a firm grip on those who are corrupt in some institutions.  They went also to the Judiciary, some hospitals and according to him they are continuing with this mission to the different parastals.
     As he shared this,  we started discussing that when you say that governments are corrupt, it is very important to target the workers because they are the ones with the gadgets to either steal or not. An employee theiving attitude can reflect the out puts from that institution. How the children are also brought up by their parents is also key to the outcomes of their behavior in the future. So all these parastals and families need to do something to their employees and children's  values. If it is about domestic violence for example, it is important for us to teach all our  children that women need to be respected, etc.
     An employee who takes an organization for granted and doesn't come on time, doesn't meet deadlines has a negative attitude towards those visiting the organization can greatly contribute to its downfall.
As we were talking about the employees and families etc., I was also evaluating myself and at the same time thinking about the CCs (United Religions Cooperation Circles) and the people therein and how these can start small to have nonviolence attitudes guided by the golden rule at that small level.  In 20- 30 years maybe we would make a difference.
     I also talked to Ronald about whether this can be done while involving other religious groups apart from Christians. He said that would be a good thing because all these un-ethical conducts can't discriminate.  His problem though was whom to contact from those different groups and how to organize it.  As for organizing, I told him he needs to work it out with the concerned parties and as for whom to contact I gave him some key persons.
     I was one of those who feared to start something and I know that it is always hard to start something, but once you put your energy to it, comitment and also believe in prayer as some of religious traditions inspire us, then chances are high that something good can come out of it.  Of course there are so many hurdles along the way but comitment and endurance does sometimes pay off. Ronald also says, the attitude also shouldn't be selfishly motivated.
     This can be a departmental program you are doing, an activity you are planning or executing, a familiy value you are inculcating, an organizational programing you are setting, etc.
     The small things we start and do at that level then become the larger building blocks which can be credibly applauded.  There are times when I feel that maybe I am not doing enough especially when I look at what is going on around me, but Ronald's story today has really made me feel that starting small and commiting can one day be the big achievement that we can all celebrate.
     Thank you all for those sometimes un recognized contributions you are making in the world.
In peace,
Despina Mwembe

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