This post was originally published by Julio Baron, a volunteer with the project in July, 2016. It was translated from its original language, Spanish. The original post my be found here. Thanks Julio!
After more than 200,000 people dead and more than 5 million displaced, in an internal war that destroyed many homes and left many orphaned, the national government of Colombia achieved a ceasefire and negotiated demobilization with the FARC, the world's oldest rebel group. FARC's later objectives were far from a struggle for the rights and freedoms of the population for which it stood during its beginnings in the 60s. Extortion, kidnapping, murder, disappearances, displaced persons, as well as the business of illegal mining and the drug trade were all in their repertoire of death.
Part of a reflection on these issue is to involve the village children to develop the ability to resolve conflicts peacefully, to care for who they are, for their environment and for that which defines them as Colombians. To help to do this I read a book about peace to the children of La Libertad.
Through reading the "Book of Peace" by Todd Parr, the children and I came to a definition of peace that did not necessarily relate to not using a weapon. We simply realized that making peace is something that has to do with simple, everyday actions:
Peace is helping neighbors, peace is apologize when we offend someone, peace is caring for the environment ...
|Peace is to help our neighbor|
|Peace is keeping the water clean for all the fish|
|Peace is planting a tree|
|Peace is asking for "forgiveness" when you hurt someone|
Thus, through reading and imagination, children drew pictures on the theme of peace. This was a contribution to reflection and above all, helped to instill in them the idea of resolving differences and problems through means not having to resort to arms, offenses, or hatred. The La Libertad children's drawings are a testament to their views and how they see the country they want and a need to live in peace as part of the ideas of progress and freedom.
|Two children shaking hands in friendship and peace|
|My village in the Colombian Amazon|
|Reading the book of peace.|
|"Peace is painting, peace is fishing."|