Amani Oh! Amani – A Peace Quest From Africa – Part 4

Everything that comes to an end restarts in some form or another. As I come to the end of my series, it is only the end because I feel I have given an objective enough perspective of my experience with the Amani 2 fellowship, and perhaps this may provide you with a somewhat informed decision when you opt to apply for such an opportunity. It was amazing in my books.

Everything was not told (maybe I should consider writing a book) but everything told was as I have sold. So, let’s see how this epilogue will unfold.

 A mixed affair with Thai cuisine

Neil Malilwe Peace Revolution Amani Oh Amani
A curious cautious Aimable

Whenever you visit a new culture, cuisine is something you cannot evade. It is actually one of, if not the main items on the agenda, and this is Thai food we are talking about folks, pretty famous in its own right for delicious reasons.

LP John educated my lunch table that generally, Thai cuisine was prepared in such a way that incorporated the balancing of all possible flavours. That means, a combination of a sweet, sour, spicy and others together. The hand’s (Awanto) description of Thai food was that of which was confusing his taste buds and he did not know what to decide or what to make of it. It was a fascinating endeavour for him, for all of us actually. But we adapted and managed.

We did have a veggie friendly section also, which was pretty fastidious if you ask me.

As our unique experience with Thai cuisine became more apparent, LP Pasura encouraged us to think about the reason we were consuming food on the basic level…. Wait, was it LP John who told us? Forgive my memory lapses. As they were only two teaching monks for our fellowship, It is either LP John or LP Pasura, so we’ll not get confused as much…. Because if we consumed food on a basic level of providing nourishment, other things as how delicious or to our liking it was became unnecessary.

Major Kudos to the Mr. O! and the Chefs who did everything in their acumen to accommodate our unique dietary needs. It’s not easy to feed a diverse group from all corners of the African continent.

Personally, for me, Thai food is a wonderful delicacy and the art in its preparation is awesome, that’s why Phad Thai remains a classic (Thanks Eye for the typical street Phad Thai adventure in china town, you always came through)  for me but my general English breakfast would be preferred on most days 🙂

Diverse conversations and connections

Neil Malilwe Peace Revolution Amani Oh Amani
An agglomeration of tired bodys but energised souls

As much as I (we all) went to Amani to learn and practice meditation and cultivate inner peace, I feel like we also went there to appreciate the true power of human relationships. All we had was each other, we shared our frustrations, our goals, our innovations and our expectations, our excitements and many other things with each other.

As much as we knew that many of us would struggle to stay connected with each other after the fellowship was over, we had these days to appreciate, learn from each other and take away invaluable knowledge and experiences. Like amazing and peculiar conversations, I had with Joan, Aimable, Ghada, Ari and the special ones with Faith, (adding Jos to this list would be cheating) never forgetting the other cameos with the many other fellow fellows and crew, Akiraporn, Laura, they were out of this world.

It may sound exaggerated, but factoring in the environmental and emotional seesaw we were going through, these were special affairs. In the end, all you need is each other to pass that litmus test, I think we got a pretty good score? Let’s ask our supervisors who were responsible for our Awesome! Awesome! Or Can do better! evaluations.  😛

 The delicate tough staff 🙂

Neil Malilwe Peace Revolution Amani Oh Amani
The staff can be tough but at the same time gentle 🙂

As much as people have an inclination to be somewhat rebellious to authority figures, in one way or another, I found the entire peace revolution staff for Amani to be helpful and a great source of comfort in one way or another.

Instead of being critical of people in authority over you and envious of their position, be happy you’re not responsible for everything they have to do. Instead of piling on complaints, thank them for what they do. Overwhelm them with encouragement and appreciation!  ~ Joyce Meyer

Speaking for myself, I would say individuals such as Nodirabegim was very mellow to talk to and relay your need or express your challenges to, even sporadic topical exchanges. Phillippe was our superintendent at the Town House (Palace), as much as our interactions during the fellowship were strictly black tie, he did his best to support our needs when he was called upon.

Neil Malilwe Peace Revolution Amani Oh Amani
Miss. Nodirabegim Yusupova or Rapunzel, Rapunzel, please let down your hair! ♫
Neil Malilwe Peace Revolution Amani Oh Amani
The evergreen Philippe Houinsou

As of now, the name Lidia has become synonymous with calm, comfort and Baha’i of body and mind in ambiguity. If Yoga is your cup of tea and for my fellow “Amanis” that enjoyed the morning Yoga sessions, you are welcome. For the stumble upon readers who are curious, I recommend you look into this and into the amazing work of Lidia also.

Mr. O is a maverick, he was our captain, the superhero of this entire tale. He came through every time and was the core of the entire operation. Everyone gave us comfort in their own special way.

Neil Malilwe Peace Revolution Amani Oh Amani
Lady’s and gentlemen, the amazing Lidia De la Garza!
Neil Malilwe Peace Revolution Amani Oh Amani
Mr. O! El Capitano!

Perhaps it was due to lassitude and irritability of staying in one place for too long, we started slipping up as a group and caused some infliction within what was expected of us. No…. we did not kvetch or anything like that, we just started forgetting to do a few things here and there. We corrected our mistakes and moved on and the peace crew did their best to help us through the challenges and misconduct through compassion and subtle tough love. Besides, they were like us and were there to make our stay as snug as possible. Lest we take it easy on them next time.

It’s a wrap! Almost

Neil Malilwe Peace Revolution Amani Oh Amani
This is heaven on earth via the mind 🙂

The night before we departed for Pathum Thani, a candlelight ceremony was held to complete our process. Please excuse my nescience but I have forgotten what the ceremony is/was called, let’s just call it special candlelight event.

The event was so ironic, placid and therapeutic. The music, the ambience, the atmosphere. I thought felt my lingering stress and brothers being washed clean. It was wonderfully orchestrated.

The next day, we had an opportunity to interact with beach before we were set to leave the island. That morning, it was drizzling and there was a sense of an uncertainty. The last mediation session at the beach was special and conclusive. We were then allowed to roam free finally. Yay!

Neil Malilwe Peace Revolution Amani Oh Amani
The Kingdom!

The main Kingdom court (Myself, Awanto, Malcom and Joshpaht) decided to have a moment to ourselves and appreciated our experiences and our newly created brotherhood. As Jos was not staying a couple of more days longer in Bangkok, this was a chance for us to say our farewells formally.

Getting back to the PIPO house was as I narrated in Part Two of my series, but now in reverse older, see here.

 Now it’s a wrap!

Neil Malilwe Peace Revolution Amani Oh Amani
It’s a wrap y’all!

The trip back to Pathum Thani felt much shorter and more comfortable, as we were rested and had a feeling of completion and accomplishment, well, I had. Note, that we were not Peace Agents yet, we still had a hurdle or two to jump over until we got those special t- shirts J

We arrived safely, refreshed, ate and had our small meeting, after that, we were presented with our certificates and it was done. We are officially Peace Agents. But this is not were the journey ends but were my service begins and that of many of us from Amani 2.

Amani, Oh! Amani!, what a tremendous adventure you have been!

Amani, Oh! Amani!, what a phenomenal contribution you made to my life!

Amani, Oh! Amani!, what peace you have made me realise!

Amani, Oh! Amani!, Amani, Oh! Amani!,

Twalumba!


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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