Report by Jared Seide, Director, Center for Council, on leaving Rwanda after training Rwandans to be Council Facilitators for the upcoming Rwandan Bearing Witness Retreat in April 2014.

This journey has been amazing, emotional, powerful, heartbreaking, connected, overwhelming, impossible, beautiful.

I will detail the events in a more comprehensive report; for now I want to let you know that the training itself well surpassed our already high expectations and feels now to have been life changing for all involved, as well as a significant contribution to the healing field here, both internally, for the participants involved, and in introducing and embodying a new set of tools, ready to be carried by organizations and initiatives.  The journey to set aside all of the ego, psychological, cultural attachment to ways of thinking about identity and ideology – and “healing” — was surprisingly challenging and very fruitful.  The quality of the listening and  attunement was deeply moving and remarkable.  And the emergence already witnessed in this field has been striking.

Already, a participant who has been silently grieving about the improper burial of her relatives killed in the genocide had her story witnessed by someone working on relocation of human remains to memorial sites and plans have now been made to address this issue and relocate the remains.  Another participant who had been carrying deep wounds around childhood experiences, and who had begun the training rather closed and leery, found courage to tell stories never spoken, found consolation and connection and expressed feeling a relief never experienced.  Yet another participant’s family, struggling with resentments and disconnection has begun a home-practice of council that has surprised and delighted everyone; the children have asked every evening: “Can we do council again tonight?”

Feeling so much gratitude for this opportunity, humbled by the work and by the courageous partners who have stepped up.  Feeling deeply grateful and energized.

Palms Together,


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