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Ubuntu eXplorer Journey team to Cote D'Ivoire

The Ubuntu eXplorer Journey team to Cote D'Ivoire is the first USA-based team to Cote D'Ivoire since that episcopal area became a conference of the United Methodist Church following the General Conference ruling. Upon arrival, the Ubuntu team will have a briefing with Bishop Benjamin Boni and will be hosted by Valarie Aman, head of the Methodist Women's programs in Cote D'Ivoire.

Ubuntu_CoteDIvoire_group
Front Row, left to right: Kevin Louise Schaner, Jennifer Kisch. Second Row: Toki Selby, Sylvia Jayne, Barbara Wheeler, Lou Whitmer. Back Row: Gordon Good, Cara Weiler, Rosa Good, Claudette Freeman, Christy Newhouse.

Caroline Njuki, executive from the Africa office, and Jeanie Blankenbaker, Mission Volunteers Consultant, worked with the group during their orientation and training held in New York City on August 3, 2006.
Caroline Njuki, Resource person  
Ubuntu_CoteDIvoire_NjukiDr. Njuki provided background information on the country and the historical significance of the Methodist Church of Cote D'Ivoire.

She advised the group to be themselves, to expect some amount of cultural shock since they would be in a new environment, and to be aware of their stress level.

As to what to wear in Cote D'Ivoire, Dr. Njuki remarked that because of the French influence there, it has an urban look and feel.

Their sisters in Cote D'Ivoire were waiting for them with much anticipation and had gone to great lengths to prepare for them.

The Women's Division of the church is very involved with the people displaced by war, especially young women and children.

  Cara Weiler, Team leader
Ubuntu_WeilerWomen make up approximately 75% of the church. There are five women clergy and one female District Superintendent.

Abidjan, the largest city, was not affected by the war other than an increase in population due to displacement. Security is not a problem.

Ms. Blankenbaker shared the significance of this particular Ubuntu Journey, its role with the Women's Division, and issues relating to interpretation upon return to the U.S.

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