Africa Online Interculturality Workshop: follow-up
Africa Online Interculturality Workshop
Six months after the Africa Online Interculturality Workshop, held in January 2022, we had a follow-up meeting on July 27th with the sisters who attended and the UISG facilitators: Sr Patricia Murray, ibvm, Sr Mary John, SSpS, Sr Sia Temu, M.M., Bishop Tim Norton, svd and Sr. Paula Jordão, fmvd.
The meeting started with the accounts of what the sisters have done so far after the workshop. We realized that the journey that began earlier this year has not come to a halt. It moved us with deep joy and hope. The sisters enriched us with what they learned, with their interest, creativity, and dedication. Indeed, the sown seeds are yielding new fruits!
The sisters have engaged in many activities to continue developing their knowledge and practice of intercultural living. They represented the National Conferences of Religious from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and South Africa and some of their Congregations.
There have been many learnings in embracing diversity:
- cultivating a deep sense of reverence for others,
- developing acceptance,
- fostering dialogue among generations and cultures,
- changing prejudices
- appreciating the differences positively,
- learning to read the Gospel in an intercultural way
- and celebrating with others their uniqueness.
The faced challenges are still multiple, but the sisters did not disregard them:
- many resistances and ethnocentrism prevent proper respect of the other’s cultures;
- it is necessary to let go of any dominant culture and create space for emerging cultures,
- behind the differences, many misunderstandings rise, becoming communication barriers due to language, food habits, and other cultural diversity;
- there is a need to build safe spaces where every culture and group promotes a sense of belonging where everyone feels included;
- Interculturality claims the art of self-knowledge, to become aware of the prejudices and pre-conceived ideas against other cultural and tribal characteristics;
- It is urgent to face instead of pretending that there are no conflicts, partialities, discriminations, and preferences in decision making, elections, and vocation promotion.
Our follow-up meeting assured us that there is a thirst to learn more.
The sisters offered many suggestions to continue nurturing the soil of Interculturality, so it bears even more fruits. Together we will continue this journey!
Sr. Paula Jordão, fmvd - UISG Formation Coordinator