The Roosevelt Foundation Four Freedoms Laurate bishop Paride Taban is a frequent guest of the Mill Hill Guesthouse in Nairobi. The late Fr Mathew Haumann mhm was a close friend. For some years Fr Haumann served as secretary to the South Sudan Council of Churches initiated by bishop Parida Taban.
A Peace Village, to show that peace and reconciation are possible.
“A peace village? I came up with that idea when I was in prison. A peace village to serve as an example for my country, which had been at war for so long. My great inspiration was the Dutch missionary Tjeu Haumann mhm. He had given his heart to Sudan, to Sudan and to peace. He thought that I should bring all those tribes together in peace. No more cattle raids, no more killings. You know, there is a small tribe in northern Uganda, called the Ik. They live together with several families in one home. They don’t slaughter animals, they don’t have any cows, they live on honey and vegetables. They avoid conflicts and try to live in peace. Their houses have two doors. If an angry person enters through one door, they slip out of the other door.” Taban squeezes his nose shut with his fingers: “They say quarrels and war have a bad smell.”
Island of peace
Kuron Peace Village is a model village in the easternmost part of South Sudan. A tiny island of peace in an ocean of conflicts. The village was founded in 1997 by Bishop Paride Taban, as a place of peace and hope and a centre for reconciliation, and as an inspirational model community for a severely damaged nation that was still suffering every day.
Kuron Peace Village is based on the core values of the pastoral South Sudanese way of life and traditional customs, religion and culture. This has its roots in small-scale arable farming and extensive livestock farming. The cow as the source of all life. And as the key to tribal and clan- based conflicts over natural resources.
‘Peace is possible in South Sudan’. Kuron Peace Village shows the South Sudanese this every day. The village’s success also demonstrates that building a nation with a central authority that is accepted by all requires more than just the presence of a government and soldiers.
As an individual, Emeritus Bishop Paride Taban has played a unique role in this process. His merits as a peace-maker, his status and his personality give the people just that feeling of warmth and security that is needed to build a cohesive nation state from the bottom up, starting with the microcosm of Kuron Peace Village.
At Kuron’s Peace Academy Bishop Taban uses simple words to inspire:”
Hope, I love you
I miss you, Thank you,
I forgive, We forget,
I am wrong, I am sorry
(Material used for this article: www.paxforpeace.nl)