A STORYLINE: FROM CONNECTING TO LAND TO REGENERATIVE CULTURES
The Nile River nourishes multiple life forms, connects diverse terrain and people, fills and empties in natural cycles, and starts as the White and Blue Nile, patiently travelling side by side until they merge inspiring and instructing the NILE Journeys.
Since antiquity, the people living with the Nile have cultivated ways of living that stem from being in relationship with the land and from following the life-giving nature of the Nile.
These cultures developed capacities that are often overlooked, yet are very important in facing many of our contemporary challenges. These include capacities such as witnessing subtle shifts and listening loudly to the environment and balance of nature, as well as to the many messages that the non-human inhabitants communicate. These cultures also cultivated deep trust amongst themselves and their surroundings and learned to live mainly through complementarity and collaboration, including working with conflict as it emerged. They relied on knowledge that was transferred from generation to generation and from community to community through illuminating the multiple stories and celebrating the diversity that made up the human and non-human life of the river.
In contrast to these wisdom-infused practices of the past, the present seems to tell quite a different story. The disconnection and general lack of trust that characterize relationships among the Nile countries today have been shaped by historically-based assumptions that have yet to be reconciled. These assumptions have not only become deeply rooted in the identity of each of the Nile countries but have also become the lenses through which each society looks at ‘the other’ Nile countries. However, by denying and disconnecting from a shared identity – one in which the Nile River is deeply ingrained – we are not giving ourselves the opportunity to flourish in terms of development, livelihood and community in a way that will protect the natural world while promoting peace and solidarity in the region.
Across the basin, where the Nile is a central part of our past, present and future, we cannot be ‘whole’ without the Nile being at the center of our sustainable development. Hence, cultivating a deep connection between the people and communities who share this majestic river is fundamental to achieving this wholeness. Without intercommunity and transboundary trust around the Nile, livelihoods cannot flourish, and a sense of belonging to the ecosystem’s whole is lost, thus inhibiting any process of growth emerging out of the people here.
Currently, issues in the Nile basin are addressed from a purely hydrological and political perspective. Therefore, sustainable solutions are most often not implemented because the deeper social, cultural and identity layers are not being integrated. Historically, most attempts to deal with the issues have therefore failed, reached stalemate, or had only a very minor success.
It is clear that the current dynamics of the Nile region urgently call for a new approach of engagement to be developed. The NILE Journeys aspires to offer such an approach while at the same time complementing the business, political and economic progress in ways that strengthen and further weave the grassroots fabric.
The NILE Journeys is founded as a platform that aims to bring forth and shed light on the ancient knowledge of the river and its people through a range of translocal activities. The platform envisions to develop means whereby individual practices can become collective mediums to transition from conflict to collaboration through regenerative cultures with contemporary expression.
The NILE Journeys apsires to connect Nile river people and to encourage their life-affirming practices in order to develop a Nile Practice of regenerative cultures. The Nile Practice, although particular to a region of Africa, will hope to offer universal practices of how people can live in balance with all life forms to be applied anywhere in the world.
The River Nile, Abay for Ethiopians, Hapy/ Iteru for the Ancient Egyptians, and Omugga Kiyira to the people around Jinja in Uganda, and with so many other names across its trajectory, is the longest river in the world. Travelling some 6700kms across 11 countries, the Nile, unlike any other river in the world, flows South […]