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Alumni Stories

Mozambique, 2018 Alum


Two boys were playing football when one of the boys fell and broke his arm. The family of the boy with the broken arm went to speak to the other boy’s family, asking them to fix the broken arm and return their son without any injury. In fact, the injured boy’s family refused all apologies, which then angered the apologetic family. You first need to know that these boys were playing and not fighting. Also, the boy with the broken arm was not deliberately pushed down, rather he fell by himself. However, the issue was taken so seriously by his parents that it was leading to a big fight which would have escalated and involved the entire community.

I was brought in to help reconcile the families. At API, we learned about forgiveness and reconciliation. It is not unusual for the victim to ask for an impossibility as the only term under which they would offer forgiveness. I helped the family of the injured son to understand the fact that it was not possible for the injury to be undone. What could be done was for the boy to be taken to the hospital so that he could receive treatment. Through this reconciliation process, the family of the other boy was able to calm down and they became more sympathetic to the boy with the broken arm.

In the end, the injured boy was taken to the hospital for treatment. For both boys, they had no issue with each other at all. In fact, to the surprise of both parents, the two boys were together again the following day. However, for the parents, it was a talk of war. It was so hectic trying to bring the families together. In the end, there were apologies, acceptance of apologies and offerings of forgiveness. At API, we learned that without reconciliation, it is difficult to forgive. In this incident, the family that initially refused any kind of apology was able to offer forgiveness after the two families were reconciled. It was obvious that the skills and training I received from API was helpful in bringing these two families together and prevented the conflict from escalating into the community.

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