Mahfoud and Idriss were brothers, living near the city of Mopti (Mali, W. Africa). Mahfoud was the eldest brother – and in the African tradition, that means other brothers and sisters owe him special respect and obedience. On the occasion of his third marriage, he asked Idriss for two sacks of rice for the festivities. Idriss did not feel like complying, and from that day on a real feud started between the brothers. The situation got so bad the village elders asked Idriss to leave the village.

Idriss then settled in the nearby city of Mopti where his elder brother, still full of fury, hunted him out and shot at him while Idriss was eating his evening meal in the courtyard. He missed and was arrested. To appease his brother, Idriss gave his TV as a bond to the tribunal so that Mahfoud could get out on bail. On leaving prison, he vowed not to miss his younger brother the next time.

My friend Mamadou met a rather desperate Idriss in the street who poured out the whole story. Mamoud told him to simply bless his brother unceasingly, which Idriss started doing. A few weeks later, a delegation of the village elders came to present the elder brother’s apologies to Idriss, requesting him to reintegrate the village. Once settled again, Mahfoud would do everything he could to be of service to his brother. When Mamoudou returned from a trip to Europe, Idriss came at 1a.m one morning, so eager was he to share the story with Mamoudou.

Blessing heals – even in extreme situations.