Surrey Fambul Tok Event: A Celebration of Peace, Forgiveness and Community

Submitted by kszabo on June 21, 2017 - 4:26am

Fambul Tok, or Family talk in Krio (An English-based slang from Sierra Leone), is a ceremony where victims and perpetuators of Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war come together face-to-face to discuss what has happened, to heal as a collective and most importantly, to forgive.

I was moved by seeing how powerful the act of forgiveness can be to an individual and also to community. I want to bring this opportunity for healing to my own neighbourhood of Newton in Surrey, British Columbia where I know countless wounded neighbours who need and want to heal and forgive. 

Each year, for the past several years I have held a 60-day vigil where I commit to sitting in a local park for two hours each day to simply listen to residents. Over the years I have held my community vigil, people have shared stories with me of how they have been hurt by others, or wish for forgiveness for the pain that they know they have caused to others.  

After learning about Sierra Leone’s Fambul Tok process, I got the idea to hold a modified Fambul Tok for my community to offer my wounded neighbours an opportunity to release the pain they have been internalizing and receive the forgiveness they crave.

I envision Newton’s Fambul Tok event as creating a Healing Circle where one person stands and says: “I’ve have done something in my past that I was never able to say sorry for.” Then another neighbor who has been previously harmed could stand and say “I have been hurt by someone who never apologized. Thank You. I Forgive You”.

And so, on August 20th, 2017 Newton will host its first-ever Fambul Tok event.  This true community event will feature:

  • Abdulai Kargbo from Sierra Leone, who has agreed to stand and speak of his home country, the war, and the power of forgiveness
  • Candace Hill, a Brown Bear Woman who has agreed to open the ceremony with an Aboriginal blessing, prayer, and song
  • 15 Certified Therapists who will join the event to provide free additional support to participants if needed; A Music Therapist will be present so attendees can sing together for hope, unity, and future.
  • Tayybeh – A Women's Syrian Refugee Catering Service who will be providing free lunch to all.

I believe that there is a need for community and forgiveness and that love can truly triumph over all that I, a person living on a fixed income, have invested my own money to make Newton’s first Fambul Tok event a reality.  If you would like to support this vision and the possibility of healing and forgiveness, you are welcome to contribute via my GoFundMe Account here.

Thank you very much.