When you go to a new place, you are overwhelmed by new sensations; there is so much to see, touch smell, taste, and hear. In the South of Bolivar, the sounds that I heard have stayed ringing in my ears… new sounds, beautiful sounds, and sounds I’d rather forget.
Some of our travel companions mimicked the parrots’ song, and as a result we were followed by these beautiful creatures for five minutes while we bumped up and down through the mountains in the back of a truck. The birds’ calls, the mimicking of our companions, and hoots of laughter rang throughout the mountains.
One of our local friends who accompanied us is a member of another community that has been part of a long time struggle against the violence and displacements caused by palm oil companies. He is also a composer. As we continued our journey in the truck, he sang his songs of struggle, of resistance, and of hope.
Upon entering town, we saw a sign that read, “Minas anti-personales presente,” “Landmines present.” I thought that it must be an old sign, left over from previous episodes of violence. However, soon after our arrival we learned that these were new landmines. And the next day, in the hills not too far off, one could hear the explosion of a landmine.
It was rather nerve racking to learn that there were bombs planted nearby and to hear the story of the youth that was killed by one the previous week. However, it was so impressive to witness the leaders of the community assess their options and conclude as they have in the past, that their best recourse is peaceful dialogue with those that were threatening the community.
As many people know, I am a big Frisbee lover: I bring a disc everywhere I go. As soon as I pulled it out of my bag, the kids from the community flocked to learn. In the midst of hearing the troubling history of the community, the news of the replanted landmines, and listening to the worried leaders decide what to do, it was comforting and necessary to hear the laughter and the shouts of the youth as we played together.
As a group accompanying the community, we felt a bit helpless; what could we do to support them? In that moment, we knew that the least we could do was share our prayers for safety, for resolution, and for peace. It is something that we can continue to do today.
Please pray with us for the community of Micoahumado in their struggles, joys, fears, songs, and hopes for the future.