Nelson and I are home from Africa. It's time to begin telling the stories that come out of 4 highly concentrated days at MANI* 2011 in Abuja, Nigeria with people, mostly Africans, from 58 nations.
I bought my tie-dyed dress in Jos in 2005, the last time I was in Nigeria. All to say I have been to Jos, taught & shared my art quilts in many ministries there & even took a drive into the village area outside of town. At my assigned table at MANI I was seated with 5 Africans. One was from Jos.
As we introduced ourselves around the table, I said I was an artist & briefly told about the story ropes & art quilt experience I did in Rwanda with the genocide survivors & how I also shared art in Jos. The man across from me said he was from Jos & wanted to talk to me at the break time.
"Do you remember the genocide of the village outside of Jos last year? That was my village." I did remember. "600 tribesmen surrounded my village & murdered 500 people." He had been in Abuja that day but some of his family members were slaughtered. Then he asked, "Will you be coming to Jos?" I felt so badly saying no. I knew why he was asking. So the storytelling begins.
Just before & during the time we were in Abuja there were more brutal killings in Jos.
*Movement of African National Initiatives
(photo) With my friends, Bisi & Comfort, after presenting the story rope to their women's group.