Dear Youth of the Cities

The most powerful words published on this blog have never been mine. Rather, they belong to Colombians and express their desire for peace and justice in the midst of uncertainty and violence. From jail or in the midst of an armed shut-down, Colombian voices speak in defence of love, hope, solidarity, justice, unity and peace….

Peace in the Street and the Time of Yellow Butterflies

The Justapaz office is adorned with yellow butterflies. On cubicle dividers, windows, walls and doors, they were the first thing I noticed when I walked inside this week, along with quote from the ever famous Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Tell Mauricio Babilonia to let loose the yellow butterflies in Macondo; the war is over.” My heart…

Borderland Emotions

The Mexican border is a line between Faith and the shackled dream. -Ray Gonzalez It was 11 o’clock at night and I was furious. You know, the kind of anger that only happens after fifteen hours of flights and airports on top of an exhausting week, with the anticipation of your own bed a mere…

Hospitality, Boyasence Style

I have never felt so welcomed in a place as I did in Turmeque over the last MCC retreat. I have been been welcomed before all over the country, from Choco to Putumayo, but that welcome always seemed to include a sense of expectation, a reserve dependent upon my actions. Here, the only expectation was…

Dreamweavers

  We are entitled to our own Definitions of the worlds We have in common:   Earth          house          (stay) Water         well             (carry) Fire             stove           (tend) Air              song             (sigh) Ether          dream         (die)   And try out new combinations With key words Unlocking power:   House on fire     sing!                   Stove under water    stay,                   Earth filled…

The Privilege of Being Uncomfortable

Once a year, I spend a day travelling by jeep through the Montes de Maria. I hate it. I love the communities that we visit, the conversations and meetings, the spaces of reflection afterwards, the green beauty surrounding everything. It’s the transportation that gets to me. Days before leaving, my stomach starts clenching and I…

Mango Chutney with a Side of Radical Kindness

I could hardly eat lunch as I frantically scribbled notes. Pedro has the most numbers in his head of anyone I have ever met and rattled them off so quickly I was glad of the Spanish to English interpretation, just for the extra seconds to catch up. The numbers added up to a pretty depressing…

Adiós Guerra

My walk to work this morning was normal. I passed the same dog walkers and shoeshine man as any other day. When I arrived, however, the office was giddy with excitement. Today was the day, long advocated and worked towards: a bilateral ceasefire, ending the active armed conflict between the government and the FARC, after…

Quilting (Again)

Facebook tells me that exactly three years ago today, and three days before I left Mampujan, Juana finally taught me some basic quilting. As she frantically packed to leave for another meeting in the morning, assuring me that she would say good-by, I stitched a tiny pink, naked looking figure into the corner of a…

5 Years of Making the Peace Sign

Almost five years ago to the day, I arrived in Managua, Nicaragua for MCC orientation. Equal parts anxious and excited, I did my best at making awkward small talk with my new colleagues and trying to figure out how I could best fit into this strange new world. I had no idea that I would…

Anna’s Personal Roundup, April 23

Welcome to my own little corner of the internet and a random assortment of things. Rebecca Solnit is my favourite. Her latest Harper’s column against cynicism was just what I needed to read this week, and part of what I tried to write in my transition blog, but much more fully expressed. And of course, I feel great…

Transition Reflections

My first MCC retreat was also the first time I ate a Jet chocolate bar. Even sandwiched between a burnt marshmallow and a graham cracker, the waxy-sweet chocolate flavour stood out just enough to make Jet bars my go-to cheap Colombian treat. I ate around 15 at this last retreat, the taste as familiar as…