Very typical to the African journey, in the heat of the burning African sun, there comes a time for travelers to sit down beneath an ancient tree (and many have gathered there before). Within its sheltering shade and with an occasional cooling breeze - interesting conversations begin...
When a conversation begins, many Africans believe that they are not wasting time, but rather, they have stepped out of time... Once the conversation has reached a satisfactory conclusion - stepping out from beneath the shade of the ancient tree, means stepping back into time and then time and the journey begin again...
One day, on the West side of Indianapolis, a group of individuals from Africa (literally a PanAfrican group representing all parts of Africa) sat down in the context of the far reaching branches of their shared and diverse cultural, social, spiritual and historic points of reference... Occasional memories breathed life and perspective into an incredible conversation. There was such a sense of having stepped beyond the rush and pressures, out of the intensity of American frantic time, into a place of open and free discussion and deliberation.
Many divergent paths from many different places converged into this conversation. Interconnected and interrelated realities and challenges were shared. Individual stories became part of an interwoven theme - "Where do we go from here?"
From the squalor of UN refugee camps (20+ years), from the multi-national escape and desperate search for asylum, from the dark and sinister horrors of war and starvation... they were the lucky ones to reach the incredible hope and opportunities of being in America. Yet, they shared how very difficult circumstances and struggles that brought them to America, were but the very dramatic parts of a much longer story. As incredible and harrowing as the stories of survival seemed to be - the paths forward led to the keen awareness that the ultimate outcome, that the dreams and their hopes for a bright future related directly to the question: "Where do we go from here?"
It was out of this incredible conversation and the ultimate question posed, that "PathWays Together" was born. We must form an intentional organization that opens up the opportunities and offers the much needed support to succeed, thrive and become valued participants - community builders in our new home. We proved to ourselves and others that we can survive the worst and overcome the most difficult realities in our journey to get to America - now we must find our way, plan our way, engage our way, work our way, prove our way... together we must discover our pathways or make them... for the sake of ourselves, our families, our community, our city and America as a whole.