On February 26th, it will be one year since I arrived to Colombia. Last week, I was reminiscing through my photos and it brought me lots of memories. I felt inspired to share how the Seed program, CPT and Colombia has changed my heart, how I now see my latin roots, and how I view my neighbour. My time in Colombia is teaching me how to be a peacemaker.
My faith and trust in God had to be strengthened before I left Brazil. When I learnt that I had been invited to participate in the program, my heart was divided. I had to decide whether to go to an unknown country, without knowing what I will do or where I will live, or to continue living in Brazil, with some family challenges but with the security that only our homes can give us.
I arrived a year ago to Colombia. Almost a year of constantly acclimatizing to the weather of Barrancabermeja and the burning of sweat in my eyes. I am used to people repeating what I say, in an accent that sounds like mine, even though it is not how I hear myself. I feel my “latin pride”, as I learn more about my roots, I feel at home however I am living in another country. As I learn about the context, it has become a familiar feeling to be lost in the names of organizations, in the names of leaders of communities, or lost in the joke. Being in involved in the cases of the communities, I have become a roller-coaster of emotions where I cry in their struggle, and rejoice in their victories.
When reflecting on the past year, and remembering the proposed program, I imagined a different place. I imagined that I could speak well about pacifism, about how it is necessary to struggle for peace, how beautiful it is to use non-violence as a tactic to resolve conflict, but I realize that I can not speak to this at this point, because I believe my short time here has not allowed me to. But above all pacifism to me seems paradoxical. Sometimes pacifism is a cry of rage against injustice. It is to swear quietly within yourself, in order to stand. It is to allow yourself to be held, when you feel out of control. It is to close your eyes and count from 10 to 100 thousand. Even if I feel like hitting someone, it is to know that my physical strength will make things worse. It is to ask patience from God. To ask patience to my brothers and sisters. It is to pray. It is to celebrate. It is to believe, “that hope does not fail and justice will be served.”
My prayer and hope is that this year will be as good and full of learning as it was last year. May we continue to learn what “peace building” means with community life on the nights when we watch the stars of the skies of Colombia and share a soda and stories of our lives. When we drink a “tinto con panela”: a delicious coffee with raw sugar that your can only find in a Colombian rural community. In the laughter of children who run kicking up dust that cakes onto them when they play in the street. So happy … With the sunset of the Magdalena River, one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen and no photo ever worth. May we continue to find answers and questions in the strength of those who have inspired us and taught us what it is to strive for peace.