2013 Workcamp Opportunity: June 22- July 27, 2013

A project of the Friends Peace Teams

2013 Workcamp Opportunity



Mutaho, Burundi

Saturday, June 22 to Saturday, July 27, 2013


Host Partner: REMA – is a group of about 50 women (Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa) from Mutaho Friends Church led by Pastor Sara Gakobwa. The name, REMA, means be comforted, do not get discouraged. Learn more on page 23 – After the Guns Stopped at http://www.aglifpt.org/publications/articles/hroc/pdf/aftergunsstopped.pdf

(see excerpts from the introduction below).


Location: Mutaho, Burundi – Northeast of Bujumbura near Gitega – Mutaho is the second largest city in Burundi


Objective:  The Workcamp Peace Team will build guest rooms for the Mutaho Women’s Group Center.


Housing: Workcampers will stay with local host families.



When visiting Burundi in October 2005, Adrien Niyongabo, the Coordinator of the Healing and Rebuilding Our Community (HROC) program, and I met with Mamerthe Sibomana and I was overwhelmed by the stories she told us. Listening to Mamerthe I realized that there were probably many stories that needed to be told and heard. . .

As one listens to these stories, one realizes that the situation in Burundi is complex. There is not a good side and a bad side/good people and bad people, not even a Tutsi side and a Hutu side. Life is more complicated than our poor powers to add or detract. . . There are nineteen of them [stories in the article]. . . In my whole life, I have never experienced or witnessed even one of these events. Some I can’t even imagine—”Forced to hide among the dead” or “forced to harm or kill a family member or friend.” Participants in the HROC workshops each experienced an average of 9 ½ of these traumatic events. . . I recommend that you read this report carefully, listening well to the lessons of the stories and the wisdom of those who are healing from traumatic events.  Excerpts from the introduction by David Zarembka



Contact Dawn Rubbert via or go www.aglifpt.org



Workcamper Qualifications/Expectations


General: We accept all ages: workcampers have been as young as 8, as old as 84 and have included an entire family of five. Our goal is for each team to include 6 international (non-local) and 6 local workcampers plus professional builders.


Physical & Skill requirements: Good health and willingness to do manual labor. Construction skills and experience are not necessary.


Living conditions: All workcamps will be spartan. There may be no running water (pit latrines and splash baths), limited electricity, and, email may be non-existent

or erratic. 


Expected Conduct for Team Members While in Africa: The African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) partners with African Quaker Yearly Meetings. Team members will be in close contact with members of these Yearly Meetings. Workcampers are expected to abide by local Quaker behavioral expectations as delineated below. These restrictions apply from the time of arrival in Africa until the individual returns to his/her home country.




Peace Team Members are expected to abide by behavioral guidelines as delineated below. These guidelines apply during the entire time you are an AGLI Service Team Member.


  • Respect and follow directions of the African workcamp leaders supervising the workcamp.

  • Do not buy cooked food from street vendors because the food may have been cooked in unsanitary conditions.

  • No use of tobacco products, including smoking; no alcohol; no illegal drug use – including marijuana; and, no sex outside of marriage – heterosexual or homosexual. If AGLI learns that you are doing any of these activities you will be asked to return home immediately at your own expense. If you have concerns or questions ask now.

  • There are many ways of behaving that can be rude or insensitive to Africans. Clean clothing, without tears and/or holes must be worn at all times. Good attire is expected at official functions such as attending church — women should wear skirts or dresses at least covering the knees and men should wear a nice shirt and long slacks. 

  • Do not go barefoot outside the place where you are sleeping.

  • Do not go out at night unless accompanied by a local African workcamp team member or another local adult.

  • Be extremely careful with all the gadgets with which internationals are so well endowed — camcorders, CD players, laptops, cameras, video games, and the taking of pictures and videos. 

  • Do not take expensive things, including jewelry, when modestly priced ones will do. Be keenly aware that funds are very scarce for Africans–what you might consider a modest expense (dinner for $3) might be better used by Africans for family welfare.

  • Individuals will frequently ask you for assistance. Under no circumstances give funds to individuals, no matter how much you want to help. Gifts must not be given to individuals as this will create gossip, envy, and hostility in the community. If you would like to be generous, give funds or gifts to the local AGLI partner organization with which you are volunteering, or which is hosting you. Ask them to use your donation for whatever they consider to be the most pressing need in the community.

  • Do not take anyone to the hospital, clinic, or doctor. Do not buy medicine for anyone but yourself since you can be blamed if something goes wrong and you perhaps are being scammed and overcharged. If someone is sick, it is the responsibility of African staff to take people for treatment

  • When possible attend social events including church services around your area.

  • Wear a seat belt whenever you are in a vehicle that has them. Seat belts are required by law in Burundi, Kenya and Rwanda. Be very cautious about riding a motorcycle.

  • It is safer not to give a lift to armed people, except when there is no choice. Do not give beer to or buy beer for soldiers, guards, or any other individuals.


If you want a deeper understanding of the need for any of the above rules, please ask Dawn, or 314-647-1287 (USA).

Orientation for North American Workcampers: Saturday, June 22 – Monday June 24, most likely at William Penn House in Washington D.C. http://williampennhouse.org/node/89  Workcampers should arrive Saturday afternoon or early evening. Sessions after Saturday dinner are usually informal. Orientation begins in earnest on Sunday and continues into the evening. On Monday workcampers will be transported to Dulles Airport to depart for Africa.


NOTE: Workcampers coming from Europe are expected to attend this orientation.


Responsibilities of Workcamp Team Members:


1.  Each workcamper is expected to conduct fundraising: a minimum of $2300 plus the actual cost of airfare to/from Africa (roughly $2000). AGLI will assist you and your support committee with fundraising ideas. $2300 includes: the cost of orientation for North Americans; cost of food and lodging in Africa; $1200 towards building materials for your workcamp project; and $450 for AGLI expenses. Airline tickets will be purchased for each workcamper when we have received the first $2000 in donations. If these funds are received by April 1st it is likely that the airfare will be $2000 or less. Later purchases can cost significantly more.


2.  North American workcampers must arrange and pay for travel to/from Washington, DC for Orientation.


3. Visa fees:  Burundi $90; Kenya $50; Uganda $50; and Rwanda—none required.


4.  Shots and medicines – Information is in AGLI’s Volunteer Handbook.


5. One 50 pound suitcase with children’s clothes, school supplies, and over-the-counter medicines. Specific details vary with time and place and will be provided to accepted applicants.


Application: To receive an application email or download it from our website http://www.aglifpt.org.


Application deadline: We will continue to accept applications until all workcamp quotas have been filled. Send completed applications to via email. Remember that applications will be processed only after receipt of a report from the clerk of the clearness committee, via email. Applications will be considered on a first come/first served basis. AGLI will inform applicants regarding acceptance within two weeks of receiving both the application and the clearness committee report.


— A Volunteer Handbook is available —





1001 Park Avenue   St Louis, MO 63104  USA  Phone:  314.647.1287

Email:      Webpage: http://www.aglifpt.org    


Education Grants and Loans – encouraging expanded awareness, visioning, and discernment within the context of supportive Quaker institutions & communities…

Home Mission and Advancement Committee (HMAC) offers various types of grants and loans, or supports referrals to other funds for members and attenders of Canadian Yearly Meeting who wish to pursue educational opportunities in various contexts. We have chosen to interpret “education” in a fairly broad sense. Examples include attendance at the FGC Gathering, Pendle Hill,and various Quaker-related conferences. 

In some cases, the Pendle Hill scholarship has provided the space and supportive nurture for writing or artistic projects. 

Applications for financial support from any of these funds must be accompanied by a Minute of Support from the applicant’s Monthly Meeting. Applications are normally reviewed at the next scheduled HMAC meeting 

(Oct. / March each year). However, applications may be fast-tracked when time constraints dictated by circumstances outside the applicant’s control require a decision before the next HMAC meeting.

Friends receiving grants/loans from HMAC are expected to submit a report to HMAC and, either write an article for The Canadian Friend, or share through another medium (e.g. blog, workshop, or video).


Friends may be awarded an educational grant or loan only once in any three-year period. A Friend may only receive the Pendle Hill Scholarship once.

Monthly meetings are asked to especially encourage young friends, and those who have never before been involved with ongoing Quaker education, to apply. 

To download and print a copy of the complete information on funds available, applicants should go to the CYM web page and follow the links from the “Education Grants and Loans” box. 

Education grants and loans
Quaker Studies Fund
Pendle Hill Scholarship Fund (a week-long sojourn which may include a short educational workshop)
Dorothy Muma Memorial Bursary (limited to residents of Ontario or Quakers wishing to pursue a leading in Ontario)
Quaker Youth Pilgrimage (bi-yearly, next one in 2014) 
Referrals to other funds

CYM 2012 – Camrose Ab – Card Trading

Earlier I posted a couple of pictures of trading cards that the young Friends are selling by sets to raise $ for CFSC (Canadian Friends Service Committee).  Here’s a wee look at some of the action.


CYM 2012 – Camrose, AB – Saturday Night Quaker Stew

As more and more Friends arrived, we gathered on Saturday evening and were welcomed to Quaker Stew.  Grouping ourselves by region we were invited to gather the ‘ingredients’ that make our region unique – those gifts that make us the peculiar Atlantic, Central, Prairie and BC Quakers that we are.  Once we identified them, each region in turn created an organic ‘contraption’ (mix) which represented their ingredients, naming them and adding them one by one.


BC brought balancing, prison work (AVP), a home for retiring Friends, environmental concerns and activism (Greenpeace), Vibrant WHYM, young Friends to CYM, multigenerational Quaker families, Argenta Quaker traditions, being open to new paths

BC Stew Ingredients


Atlantic Friends (though few) brought travel over great distances (prairie Friends laughed), closeness by land and by sea, multi-generational Quaker families, a strong sense of community, environmental concerns, opportunities to live simply.

Atlantic Stew Ingredients

Central Canadian Friends brought bilingualism, Quaker history, Rogers $$$$, Quaker input into many peace and justice groups, Camp NeeKauNis, CFSC and CYM offices, Quaker burial grounds, the archives, old Meeting Houses, Quaker Book Service, arts and music support, Friends House

Central (Ontario and Quebec) Stew Ingredients


The Prairies brought travel over really great distances, creativity and the arts, radical views and actions, more land area per Qapita, resilience, invisible Quakers, and resurrection (meetings have come and gone and come again)…and Tom Findley!!


Prairie Stew Ingredients

When the ingredients were assembled, we opened the windows for some perceptions that Friends have of other regions.  What is appreciated…what puzzles are there?  Friends were encouraged to be brief, tender and respectful.  It was a gift to see ourselves as others see us

Finally we were ready to add the spices, as some of the elements that bring us all together.  The testimonies were ‘posted’ around the room.  We were invited to move, in silence to the one that was most unifying for us right now.  As you can see, Friends took some time to discern and still didn’t always find clearness.

Discerning the Testimonies

Still Discerning

Stilllllllll Discerning

Once gathered, in small groups, we created a tableau (drama ‘still life’) that represented for us that testimony.














And finally, we were invited to turn to another person there and offer them a blessing or a wish for our coming time in community before heading off for the evening’s refreshments.  Thank you, Friends!!!!

CYM 2012 – Camrose, AB – Pre-gathering Retreat

Lunch with Margaret

Margaret Slavin arrived early for the pre-gathering retreat after many tiring hours of travel.  Over lunch on Sunday, she shared with me reflections on her experience of the silent retreat:

“To be plunged into profound silence became quickly very challenging.  There was little instruction, but some excellent quotations provided.  They underlined for me that this is the core of the Quaker experience – just plunge into it.

I came away with the reminder that there is a silent place beyond what you think is your silent space.  It was also a reminder that it isn’t necessarily a comfortable place.

I’ve had the experience before where, when I slowed down, lots of creativity bubbled up, an idea for a poem or a story – and I thought that was great.  Instead this time, I felt just emptiness.  I realized I was much more tired than I had thought or felt I was, and others said the same thing. I did sleep then, for a long time.

I wonder how often we are overriding our true leading, if we’re not taking care of ourselves, we wind up not being able to respond to leadings.

The task we were given was profoundly counter-intuitive.  We were asked to be silent, though Friends we hadn’t seen for a long time were arriving from all over the country.  What was in my heart was different that what I was being asked to do.  This has not been my usual experience with Friends.  Usually they flow together – the heart and the task. It was suggested that it was OK for us to talk with others, only if we could say that which would deepen the silence.

I understood that we were being reminded of an essential Quaker discipline and I did get reminded of that, and that’s good. 

This challenge made me aware that I had nothing to say that would deepen the silence.  I was feeling alarmed and empty towards the end.  I had nothing to say. The bare table in front of us seemed to represent that emptiness. I needed an image.  I took my blue scarf, wound it around two bright red copies of Advices and Queries, added some dried, curled up leaves and a dried rose I had found in with the leaves.

When I sat again and looked at it, the rose stood out for me.  It had been discarded where I found it, not in its natural setting.  Looking at it, I knew that Spirit for me manifests most unmistakably in my relationship to people.  I needed the image to see that.”