A Day of Waging Peace in Thailand

We supported a lot of grassroots peacemaking last week. While the workshop in Bangkok was mostly professionals – doctors, nurses, professional psychologists, teachers, etc… the workshop in the south has over 50% participants that are less educated villagers. Here is a cross section of people that are attending:

– Four Muslim village widows from the religious violence. Some are peer counselors, helping families through crisis, including death
– There are about a dozen nurses from a few different nursing schools throughout Thailand, including the head director from two schools
– A 14 year-old boy, whose father passed away from cancer when he was four, and acts out to the point where his older brother hits and kicks him. His mother also came on the second day, after he asked her to come. He loves soccer.
– The six village children I wrote about in the previous post, who have lost a parent in the violence
– An old Muslim crone village healer
– A village community volunteer who works very hard to make sure his children have a better life than he. His eldest son was killed in one of the earliest violent events in the south
– The director of the ASEAN Institute for Health Development

The workshop went very well. Here is what I wrote up about one of the days:

Today, Laura Dodson, the primary facilitator, worked with all six kids and their teacher. Laura coached the teacher into talking to the kids as a person about their anger and fear, rather than lecturing them as a teacher. She had a workshop participant role play each of the kids’ anger and fear – there were 21 people being directly impacted. Now that they are better able to deal with their anger and fear, they are less likely to engage in violence themselves.

After lunch, Toni and I played with the kids in the pool again, while Laura helped the woman who had recently lost her daughter cope with her grief. In the later afternoon, Maureen Graves invited me to work with her to help a 14 year-old boy who lost his father to cancer when he was 4, and his mother. We created new possibilities between them that should lead to more peace at home, and more peace in the village.

I have been in awe of the way Laura works with so many different kinds of people, showing them the peace within them, and helping them be more effective in their work to make the world a better place. I was also impressed with the work Maureen did today. Last, I was happy I was able to utilize the ten years I have been developing my own capability to show people how to find peace, today here in Thailand. At one point, when the boy looked at me, I knew we had enriched each other’s lives, and the experience would not be forgotten.

In a future post, I’ll write about the evening meeting that occurred to begin a new evolution in how health care will help patients heal their emotional wounds, as well as physical.

It was a good day for waging peace.

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