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Restorative justice travel blogs

Apr 29, 2009

The Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN) is a community of advocates for peacebuilding, human rights and social justice based on Catholic social teaching. As part of a restorative justice book project, its executive director, Rocco Puopolo s.x., visited Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone during November 2008. Its Associate Director Beth Tuckey and Policy Analyst Bahati Ntama Jacques visited Burundi, Uganda, and D.R. Congo (Jan 23 through mid-March 2009).

Rocco Puopolo kept a blog called Restorative Justice in West Africa during his trip, and Beth Tuckey and Bahati Ntama Jacques called theirs (Restorative Justice in the Great Lakes Region).

They are finding support for restorative justice interventions not only among the citizens of these regions but also in the embassies of Western countries.

Here is an excerpt from their February 8 post:

Greetings in Burundi are full of expressions of wishes for peace for individuals and for the whole community. In the morning, you say mwaramutse. It literally means ‘did you wake up?’ It can also mean ‘did you survive?’ This question is about surviving the unexpected challenges that can happen in the dark of the night. Mwaramutse is mostly used in plural form even if you are addressing one person. The Burundian culture values individuals, but also strongly values the community. So, while you may ask how one person woke up, or how they survived the night, be ready to hear anything about anyone and everyone, be it about oneself, one’s family, or neighbors. The answer to mwaramutse is almost always ego turaho which means either ‘yes we are here,’ ‘yes we still are alive,’ or ‘yes we still existing.’ Mwaramutse comes from the verb Kurama which means ‘to live long.’

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