Developed by the Indigenous Peace Education Curriculum Committee of CPMHF
This curriculum is developed out of experiences of the work of the curators of the Community Peace Museums Heritage Foundation (CPMHF) from 1994 when the seeds of community peace museums were sown in Kenya. Shortly after that we started Peace Clubs in schools in the neighbourhoods of the peace museums and ran a publication called Kocha for students. Learning while teaching peace from local symbols and memories helped us to venture into an explored area in education.
The text and visual images in this curriculum are based on One Who Dreams is Called a Prophet. This is a story about an elder’s journey (see map on previous page) in search for the Source of Peace during conflicts and unrest. Mzee Alama travels through many ethnicities meeting elders to learn about the various traditions of making and living in peace that each ethnicity treasures. When they meet, the elders exchange their peace staffs that they also use as their walking sticks (see the picture below on page 5). Mzee Alama realizes that every community in Africa has a heritage that values peace called utu in Swahili.
Alama’s story is based on the Living Peace Heritages of Africa. The descriptions of the environment, customs, and material culture are also African. This curriculum can be modified if necessary and made suitable for teaching anywhere Africa.
The map on the previous page (page 3) shows Mzee Alama’s journey. The picture on the next page (page 5) shows peace staffs or walking sticks carried by elders who meet Alama and exchange stories of peace from their traditions.
- Inspire the students to explore the peace heritage of their communities by speaking with their elders and reflecting.
- Compare their peace traditions with those of others.
- Encourage students to use ethnic and indigenous languages and arts from their traditions to express ideas about peace and develop new ideas and forms of expressions from traditions.
- One way to learn and develop new ideas can be through cross cultural classroom conversations and sharing of visual productions such as drawings.
- Learn to respect each community’s peace heritage. Incorporate learnings to enrich their home cultures.
- Sensitize the student-participants to the values of:
- Increasing their knowledge about peace and beauty from their own and other artistic and linguistic heritages.
- Not harming anyone through humiliation.
- Importance of compassion and friendship.
- Being inclusive of marginalized communities and persons. Women, cultural groups and refugees in particular.
- Encourage gender equality.
- Appreciate and protect Nature as a giver of beauty and peace.
- Show the importance of volunteerism by practicing in the community. There are many ways such as helping the elderly, disabled and those in need like the poor and refugees who become homeless due to famines and conflicts.
- Show respect for the Civil Society and elders.
- Learn about local Community Peace Makers and volunteers.
- Peace is Greeting.
- Peace is a Gift of Relationship with People and Nature
- Peace is expressing happiness in songs and dances
- Peace is Beauty.
- Peace is Environment or Nature. Peace is the Earth.
Teacher – student participatory learning through Talking Circles. Teachers are advised to make their own lesson plans based on Talking Circles and availability of time. Recommended Lesson time is 40 minutes.
Each Talking Circle may focus on one or more of the following items as learning mediums of community related arts using mother tongue:
- Stone or wood carving.
- Clay, bamboo, scrap metal, paper and stick art such as making sculptures.
- Drawing and painting using natural earth colours or purchased paints.
- Song, drama, dance, mime.
- Oral traditions: riddles, proverbs and poems.
- Indigenous cooking using ingredients and recipes from local sources.
One Who Dreams is Called a Prophet covers the objectives and key concepts mentioned above in the story of Alama’s journey. These are repeated in different ways as expressed by different cultures. It is advisable that the teacher reads the book and marks the passages that she/he thinks best suits the class and the community culture.
Experiencing peace is relational. This means that the five learning concepts: Peace is Greeting, Peace is a Gift of Relationship with People and Nature, Peace is expressing happiness in songs and dances, Peace is Beauty and Peace is Environment or Nature are connected and understood as related. Peace is also bodily felt like when dancing, singing, seeing something beautiful, walking in nature, speaking and greeting with happiness.
- Take a class walk to see the peace tree or trees nearby while discussing its social importance and related history.
- Talk about the peace trees near the school or homes of students. What are they called and why are they called peace trees? These trees are sometimes called sacred trees. Think how the class can preserve them for future to give beauty and keep peace knowledge for the village.
- Parts of the Alama’s journey can be dramatized. For example, students can act as two elders meeting, their talk and exchange of peace staffs.
- As individual actors, students can act Alama walking with his walking stick, thinking aloud or talking to himself.
- Students can discuss one key concept at a time in groups. Try to relate the concepts to local history, cultural traditions and incidents.
- There are many scenes and events described in the book that can be drawn and painted.
- Make clay sculptures of Alama and the elders.
- Draw or create peace material culture like leketyo katikati, peace staffs and olkila the skirt. The teacher will explain these from the book. Does your community have similar objects? Also draw them and compare them with the ones that Alama comes across.
- Similarly draw peace animals like the chameleon, tortoise and the hedgehog. Does your community have peace animals? Draw them and discuss how you can protect them,
- Imagine the meeting of three women: Memory of Beauty, Ndata Meta Meta also known as the good good sorcerer of the Ata Plateau and Njoki of the Popote slums. How would they greet each other and what would be they be saying to each other? Can the students create a drama scene of the meeting?
- Respect each community’s peace heritage.
- Incorporate their learning from other cultures to enrich their home cultures.
- Increase their knowledge about peace from their own and other cultural and linguistic heritages.
- Understand what Humiliation is and how it affects people’s dignity.
- Know the importance of compassion and friendship.
- Understand and practice being inclusive of marginalized communities and persons such as the poor, disabled and refugees in your area.
- Understand, respect and improve gender equality in your communities.
Read about Alama’s journey in search for the Source of Peace in One Who Dreams is Called a Prophet. Select a story to read out to the students or ask a student to read as others listen and interpret the story. Children and youth like to listen to stories. Especially when the stories are about journeys in search of something magical like the Source of Peace. The search for the Source of Peace by Alama, the hero, made the storyteller curious. Make the students curious by reading parts of Alama’s journey that makes you curious.
The seven lessons below give just a part of the story. You may like to read the full chapter from which the lesson lines are selected.
Discuss what peace concepts are in the passages. How can they be used? Find out similar traditions in as many communities as you can to keep your students excited and interested.
Use mother tongue or Swahili as your medium. The concepts in this curriculum are best understood in the cultural contexts that are rooted in African languages and communal heritages.
The teacher may like to think in practical ways and work towards the Exhibition (described on the last page) right from the first lesson. That will set the goal and create enthusiasm among the students.
Draw or describe images as they build in your head as the story is being read.
Who are the characters that Alama meets and what do they contribute to the story? What do they look like? What do they say and what do they carry?
What is the conflict in Alama’s mind?
- Students read, express through arts and discuss the story from Alama’s book.
- Students are divided into groups and each group tries to interpret Alama’s experiences in their own words and in gestures.
- Each group discusses what they have learnt from Alama’s story and then shares their discussions with the class.
- Group representatives present their discussion results to the class.
The teacher guides students to pay attention to each group’s presentation and help them to interpret the meaning of the story and how it is relevant for peace building and peace maintenance in communities. The teacher encourages the students to interpret and express peace in their own ways like through dance and music using local and other instruments.
Below are examples of five lessons. Each one is based on a paragraph from the book that contains one or more of the key concepts in Africans peace making and keeping. For example, peace is beauty, but the same concept may be used for greetings. The teacher may like to chose other paragraphs for the same concepts because One who dreams is called a prophet has many examples.
It is best if the teacher selects what to read with inputs from the students. In that way the students will feel they are creating the story-teaching material as they are learning.
Part Three: When the dream speaks to the heart.
Chapter: Guno Tumbako
“At the Kataka market Alama looked for his friend, a young Walima trader from Siti in the deep South, who sold the good tobacco of bluish grey colour.
“Peace!” greeted the Walima man with a broad smile when he saw Alama.
“Peace!” replied Alama who was at least a generation if not two generations older than the Walima man.
First, they enquired after each other’s health. Then Alama enquired about the young trader’s journey to Kataka that took three days from Siti by country buses, matatu-taxi minibuses and finally in Kofia’s lorry.”
- How do you greet in your language? How long is the greeting and what is included in the greetings? What are the different words used for greetings in your community? What are the body actions? How do handshakes and words in greetings differ among men and women, youth and elders?
- Dramatize: Two friends meeting and greeting each other in your mother tongue.
- What feelings are transmitted in your greetings? Explain how words and touch during greetings show and share peace.
Part Thirteen: Mzee Imara
Chapter: Mzee Imara
“Listen, O traveller from the Northern Scrubland who searches for the Source of Peace, the old man called Dawn taught me about osotua the Asai word for peace. Osotua is also the word for beauty because peace is beauty, he said to me. Osotua is the name of the umbilical cord that connects the mother to the child in the womb. The mother-child tie is the first bond that every human and animal on Earth has. Is that not so, O Searcher of Peace?” Alama nodded his head as the Mti man continued to speak, “That is peace and that is also the beauty of the mystery of life. Every morning the old man called Dawn greeted me with osotua, reminding me of the beauty of the mystery of life in the womb, the beginning of relationship that all humans share, so I may not forget to respect humankind. He said osotua the peace, osotua the Great Beauty, is the cord of the union of the mother and child in the womb mirrored in the union of two, two persons, two homesteads, two communities and two nations. O, traveller who searches peace! Listen, for that is how peace is beauty and beauty is the relationship among men and communities of men.”
The new words from the Mti man deepened the mystery of peace for Alama more than ever before. He felt alive again at the moment of hearing what the forest man said. He felt he could dream again, and he knew his dreams would make new legends now having heard the man born of the tree.”
- What’s the word for peace in your language? How many words for peace are there in your language? Is there a metaphor for peace like Osotua among the Maasai and Leketyo among the Kalenjin in your mother tongue?
- In some languages the word for peace and greetings is the same. How is it in your mother tongue?
- Act the meeting of Alama with the Mti man.
- Draw the peace staff called Mzee Imara from the picture in the book.
- Can anyone act like a Peace Staff in form of a human being?
Part Sixteen: The Return
Chapter: To find the Source of Peace find the Source of Evil
“Men and women sang with one voice. The melody evoked the aboriginal in them. Their love in the beauty of the Earth, her waters and pastures was awakened. They sang they were the Keepers of the Earth on behalf of the ancestors who came to them in dreams. They sang that they were the Stewards of the Earth on behalf of the children not yet born. They were the natives of the land and could not be cowed again. Everyone now sang as they danced mojamoja-paa-moja each group conveying its feelings into the feelings of the other group. Each group absorbing the feelings of the other group into their bodies. One verse was about the Earth that was theirs to keep so they might live again. Another was about the land that was for all the people, animals, insects and plants to love and cherish. The song put feelings of hope into each heart in a way that their talk could not. Then the communal feelings of people rose over the Red Brown River like the early morning mist. The river wind carried their shared feelings over to the pastures pulsating the grasses, goats and camels and all the animals of the desert brush with the powerful energy of Red Brown River’s emotions. Finally, the communal people-river-grass and animal feelings descended onto the acacias through the branches and to the stems, and went into the roots deep in the Earth. The impact suddenly roused the ancestors who were resting peacefully in the shades.”
- How is the feeling of happiness aroused by the song-dance mojamoja-paa-moja?
- Who feels the emotions of the song-dance besides the people?
- Why are the people happy?
- How are the Ancestors and Nature participating in song-dance mojamoja-paa-moja?
- Let the class join hands, make a circle, sing and dance mojamoja-paa-moja. Then discuss the feelings you had dancing and singing mojamoja-paa-moja together as a class.
Part Three: When the dream speaks to the heart
Chapter: Guno Tumbako
“Each community assembled at the market to barter, sell or buy. How we all of the many babbling voices venerate one Supreme Being of the Infinite Blue Sky, thought Alama. We call Him by colourful names in prayers to the rising sun and mountain heights. We the Jua revere beauty in colours of the sky and Earth. Beads pattern beauty on our bodies and speak to proclaim a silent parable, a proverb or a riddle of peace. We say beauty is peace when we worship. We hold wisdom in our language in colours of our beads and in our dreams. We are all protected by the divine and the spirits of our forefathers who own the land, who inhabit it under the shades of the peace trees.”
- In how many ways can you describe is peace is beauty in your mother tongue?
- Can you compose a dance about Peace is Beauty?
- Compose songs about Peace is Beauty and dance them for the class.
- Can you put the paragraph that your teacher read to you to a song and dance?
Part Twelve: Mzee Mwekundu
Chapter: Man with Red Walking Stick
“The man with the beaded hat replied quickly, “Look around, will you? Will you look around you? What do I see with my eyes that you do not? I see peace. Look around you again, and you will see abundance. Look up to the sun in the blue sky of Africa. Feel the warmth it gives you. See the light and the brightness all around you. Delight in the vastness of the blue that is beauty which is peace. Look at the Earth. Abundance is everywhere. The red of the African soil is abundant and that is peace. Look into your faith in the Earth and listen to your heart,” said the Ziwa man. “Look at my stick. It’s red too. You cannot run away from peace when such abundance surrounds you. Peace is your faith and you cannot run away from your faith, can you? You cannot run away from the blue of the sky, can you? You cannot run away from the brightness of the sun, can you? You cannot run away from the soil as red as my walking stick, can you? Consent to the richness above and below, and let them nourish you as you walk the Earth. That is peace. Abundance nourishes peace. As long as humans have hearts in them and see the sky, the sun and the Earth around them, they will have faith and, thus, always have peace. That is your right. It’s your inheritance that no one can take away. No conflict can destroy it. Peace is your right to keep.”
- How does the Ziwa man wearing the beaded hat describe what is peace?
- Draw the Read Walking Stick called Mzee Mwekundu.
- Imagine you are the Ziwa man wearing the beaded hat. Mime what he is saying using facial expressions and hand gesturing. Put the feelings of the words into your body.
- Peace staffs are often made from peace trees. Are there any peace trees around your school or home? Describe what they look like. How will you protect the peace trees that are a part of your heritage to treasure?
- What peace animals are known in your community? Do you know any songs, stories or proverbs about peace animals in your culture? How will you protect the peace animals that are you’re a part of your heritage to keep?
- What patterns and colours in Nature are considered peaceful in your culture? Think or ask about patterns and colours in the sky, on animals, mountains and trees.
Part One: Koko Kigongo
Chapter: What is Humiliation?
Among the Jua, there is special bond between the grandfather and grandson because the old are closer to becoming the ancestors from where the child has just come. The Jua believe that the child, moreover, has the untainted pureness of nature – the trees, rivers, mountains, and the land itself.
“You are a man now, son,” he said. “It’s your charge to help the Jua recover from the humiliation they have suffered for so many years. We are a people descended from a common forefather and you are one of us. We are proud of you, son. But remember a Jua cannot bear humiliation.”
“What is humiliation, grandfather?” Alama asked.
“Humiliation is to put shame on the other, meaning tia haya, as the enemy do to us. Humiliation is to put pain to the other, meaning tia uchungu, as the enemy do to us,” replied Alama’s grandfather. He waited for a while for Alama to take the words inside him before he said more. “Humiliation is to break the other’s dignity, meaning vunja heshima, as the enemy do to us. Humiliation is to break the other’s heart, meaning vunja moyo, as the enemy do to us. Humiliation is to make the other feel he is not human, meaning si binadamu, as the enemy do to us. And that he is nobody. That he does not belong to humanity.”
Alama never forgot these words.
- What is Humiliation?
- How do you describe Humiliation in your mother tongue?
- Are there people in your village who live in humiliation because of poverty or because they are refugees? What can you do to help them?
- How is a student humiliated in school because he/she is poor, a refugee or different from others? What are the differences that lead to joking about, ignoring, insulting, teasing or even beating up a student who is different from you are?
- Why do we need to talk about Humiliation during a lesson on peace?
- How does the body feel when humiliated? Show bodily – with face expressions and body poses.
- Can you act like a humiliated person?
Part One: What is peace anyway?
Chapter Two: What is peace anyway?
“Each day is the same,” said Ua. “Each day, I milk the camels and take my goats to the pastures and then to the river. Each day, I collect firewood and come home to cook my porridge. Each day is still like the pool in the bowl between the peaks of the Sky Mountain.”
Alama wondered at Ua’s words and began to feel the stick but he could not bring his touch to know peace in the wood the way she did. He wondered if she was at peace all the time during the routine of her day. He looked alternatively at her fingers talking to the stick and restraining his fingers wanting to be in hers. The sun had risen to the fourth hour of its journey. Perspiration stood on Ua’s palm and wetted the stick.
“How do I find peace?” asked Alama.
“Learn humility,” she replied without a thought.
“Leave behind the humiliation that eats you. Let it die like the night fire in your kitchen,” said Ua. Then, when a new thought came to her, she added, “That is what the warrior in you must learn.”
To find peace must I leave behind how I have been humiliated? To be humble must I learn to forget my humiliation? My feelings will not let me not remember the wrong done to my people, my father, my sons. How can such feelings in me die like the night fire? I am taught never to let humiliation die. Humiliation fires courage to confront the enemy. Humiliation kills the fear in you. Humiliation pursues justice. Humiliation nurtures the desire to avenge. Humiliation never dies. Only humiliation can show the path to heal itself. Only it can. Humiliation is proud. Humiliation pursues dignity. Humiliation pursues honor. That’s my tradition that I must uphold. That’s my culture and the ancestral wisdom of the Jua. How can I be humble when proud and stubborn humiliation bites me? Have peace, the woman says. Peace. Peace? What is peace? How do I know peace? Have I ever known peace? Such were the thoughts and questions that ran through Alama’s mind.
“What … is … peace?” Alama asked Ua with halting words. Ua laughed in a way that showed she knew but she would rather not tell him. Restlessness came over him. Should he ask again? He was too proud to repeat what the woman had heard. He waited for Ua’s reply. He looked at her without saying a word to show he was waiting for her reply, the way a man does to a woman when irritated. She remained still and quiet. So, he stared at her filling his eyes with frustration letting her know he was waiting for an answer. Ua’s answer came slowly.
“But I have no answer, my seer,” she said dancing her fingers on Koko Kigongo. “To know peace, dream peace like the river frog calling rain in his sleep.” The hidden smile on her face and the feel of the stick reflected delight in the glint of her eyes like how the Red Brown River reflects the awakening sun’s rays on the ripple of its cool morning water. The Yeta government has banned people from dreaming. Everyone knows that, for it is announced every month at the DC’s baraza. Was Ua defying him to dream of peace and break the law?
Now she waited for an answer with her face down and eyes up while she continued running her fingers on Koko Kigongo. Alama wanted to say he would dream what was forbidden, but words slept on his tongue. He would not tell a woman he would follow her mind.
- How do you feel peace in your body?
- What pictures come to your mind when you think of peace?
- How many ways of making peace can you think about?
- What do you do to find peace when you are angry or sad, disturbed, regretting or even grieving from a loss like a death in the family or of a friend or even of something you liked very much?
- How does your community sing and dance peace when happy? Can you show the class your cultural way of showing peace in your community? Act bodily by taking the feelings into yourself.
- Act like a peaceful person.
Prepare an Exhibition of drawings, material culture, peace trees (branches and seedings) and any peace-related artwork that you have done. Practice performances of song-dances and music about peace. You can even do a short play on Alama’s journey from the reading that you liked the most.
Stage the Exhibition and present the performances, readings and the play during the Parents Day or Open Day in your school. It can even be at the end of the term or any other celebratory day when you can invite the parents and the whole community. Be proud of your creative activities about peacemaking and show them to your families and communities.