I spotted this article in the Christian Science Monitor's Special Projects section. It's from September 12, 2005, and it's about Kenya's Lazaro Sumbeiywo, who brokered peace in Sudan.
Until a single phone call from the president of Kenya changed the trajectory of his life, Lazaro Sumbeiywo had spent the whole of his illustrious career focused on making war.
When the phone rang in his office in October 2001, this towering son of a village chief was Kenya's top general.
Often a peace deal comes down to an individual willing to step between the warring parties and forge peace.
"I have an offer for you," he recalls the president saying, "and I order you not to refuse."
General Sumbeiywo was fiercely loyal to then-President Daniel arap Moi. During a 1982 coup attempt, he'd raced to Mr. Moi's home to protect him. Off and on since 1987, he had sometimes been involved with the Sudan negotiations. But the president's order caught him off guard.
"I want you to find peace in Sudan," Moi said.
The war had been going on for 18 years, between Muslim Arab northerners and mostly Christian black southerners, with two million dead and four million forced from their homes. Sumbeiywo fasted and prayed and then spent the next 3-1/2 years negotiating peace for Kenya's neighboring country.
Sumbeiywo brought in people from the outside to apply pressure when it was needed--Colin Powell was among these. He barred the outsiders when their presence was counterproductive. And he kept on his knees before God, for wisdom and for strength.
On the sun-dappled afternoon of Jan. 9, 2005, at a packed soccer stadium in Nairobi, the parties were arriving to sign the final peace deal.
The event marked the end of one of the world's deadliest conflicts - and, for Sumbeiywo, of so many sleepless nights. "It was reached by the will of God," he says.
For his part, Sumbeiywo is enjoying a slower pace. "It's been a lot of Christmases since I've seen my family," he says. So now, "I can make up for it."
But his voice turns to steel when he talks about Sudan's continued peace. "We must watch," he says. "We must watch very carefully."
Read the whole thing. It's good to see a glimmer of hope out of Africa, with so much bleakness on that continent.