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Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 10:52 UK
A Suffolk Christian supports peace project in Ghana
By Jon Wright
BBC Radio Suffolk

Paul with Ben and his sister Fawstina
Paul Rose of CHIPS with Ben and his sister Fawstina

A Suffolk man is settling into life in Ghana, as he embarks on a Christian peace building project.

Paul Rose left Wickham Market in November to work for Christian International Peace Service (CHIPS) based in the small village of Lungni.

"Exciting, challenging, and complex might describe things," said Paul as he settled into life in his new home.

Although Ghana is mainly peaceful, in 1994-95 land disputes in the north erupted into ethnic violence.

The fighting resulting in the deaths of 1,000 people and the displacement of a further 150,000.

"The stark reality of just how slow true reconciliation is could be depressing," said Paul.

"But then if this gives opportunity for discovering and activating the potential locked up in these communities through practical projects while having these new relationships develop and mature, then there's a lot of value in that.

"The danger of making mistakes in this delicately balanced situation is very real, but I'm continuing to learn the value of prayer, patience, and relying on the community as my guides."

Map of Ghana
The village of Lungni is close to Tamale in the north east of the country

Paul has gained experience in Africa with shorter placements with CHIPS.

"Last year he went and spent two three months stints in Uganda learning the ropes of what they do," said his father, Bernard Rose.

"Fortunately Ghana is a lot safer, so as parents maybe we're a little bit more relaxed," said Bernard, speaking on BBC Radio Suffolk's Sunday morning breakfast programme.

"Certainly there were a few incidents back in Uganda that were pretty tough, two of his friends were ambushed as they were cycling between villages one evening and had to carry their bikes above their heads for a couple of hours at gun point."

Bringing people together

"The whole principle of Chips is to live in the community as one of the community," said Bernard.

"Most people are just getting on with living. It's subsistence farming, but back in the 1990s there were thousands of people killed in a very short space of time, between two communities there.

Watching the Damba with Roger, Fusheini and Osman
Paul is wearing traditional smocks and watching dancing and drumming

"So what he's after doing is finding ways to help build peace between those two communities.

"The principle of CHIPS is not to put something in from outside, but to listen to the people, learn the language and facilitate between the people that are there.

"They know that something needs to change, so it's a case of helping that happen, the idea is to build a team of national people."

Life in Ghana

Along with the intense heat of sub-Saharan Africa, Paul says he has been warmly welcomed.

"The amazing friendliness of the people here is quite remarkable," he said.

"The immediate openness and hospitality of friends and strangers alike is quite unsettling at first, but I've learnt that taking time to just share and be with people is both rewarding and hugely humbling when they give you so much out of the little they have.

"As long as you like meeting people and don't value personal space or privacy, you'll love it here!"




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