It’s been two and half months now since we moved to Colombia as Seeders, and we’ve had some wonderful and tough experiences. People always say there is no place like home, but the question we asked ourselves is, “What is the purpose of moving away from home?” Our answer is simple; “It’s because we (Carrie and Lweendo) love serving others.” In serving others as a part of a team, in a new place, one faces many challenges, joys, and surprises. Here are a few things we have encountered in the first few months:
From the moment our orientation began another question started to form in our minds: “How are we going to serve if some of us don’t know how to speak Spanish?” For Lweendo, coming to Colombia and immersing her brain in Spanish was like moving to another planet, she was lost in this new world. For Carrie, it was easier to communicate because she already knew Spanish (although there are still many accents, words, and phrases to learn). Nevertheless, I (Lweendo) started taking Spanish classes with other Seeders, and we began to improve as time went by. After having my brain spin with Spanish for a while, I can now gladly say my Spanish is getting better each day because of practicing with other Spanish speakers.
Being part of a diverse team:
As a Seed team we’re from six different countries, speak a variety of different languages, and each have different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. While our diversity as a team can be challenging, it has also been a truly enriching experience. Each of us has brought different perspectives, knowledge, and skills that together help us to reflect more fully as we prepare to accompany partner churches and organizations working for peace.
A learning process:
Our few months of orientation were a time of constant learning both in and out of the sessions we took part in. For both of us, because it’s our first time living in Colombia, we have a lot to learn about the cultural norms and customs that are different from our own. In different sessions, we’ve also begun to learn about Colombian history, the work of MCC and our partners, and the values that unite us. This process of learning will certainly continue as we move to the communities where we will serve!
Peace is a term that we’ve constantly heard about since our arrival in Colombia. As peace is discussed on a national and local level in the context of the peace accords taking place between FARC, a guerilla group, and the government, we’ve also been talking as a Seed team about what it means to build peace as a team, as followers of Christ, and in our role in accompaniment.
Living with a host family:
During our orientation each Seeder lived with a host family in different neighborhoods around Bogotá. We’re both so grateful to the people that hosted us, made us feel at home, and helped us to learn about and begin to adjust to life in Colombia. (Thank you Anna Vogt, Hernan and Yida!)
Going to communities:
It’s sad to say good bye to host families and friends. However, as we move to our new communities and continue to learn new names and faces, however challenging that might be, we know that the more we release our own expectations and begin to integrate ourselves into these people’s lives, we will begin to feel like we are part of the communities. The journey has just begun, and we look forward to serve in our communities with love, peace and unity.
By: Carrie Vereide and Lweendo Hachilenge