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…

The Courage of Bread

This has been a week of hope and despair. On Wednesday, the ELN and the government announced the start of formal, public, peace talks and I got to call various spokespeople and ask them for statements on our radio show. On Thursday, I spent a couple of hours frantically trying to translate a public letter…

Anna’s Personal Roundup, March 26

I love magazines. I love the lack of commitment, the ability to flip through pages and only look at the pictures if I want to, the variety of information, the recipes juxtaposed with news. The internet is like one giant magazine and I can never get enough. So, I’m sharing. Here, specially curated just for…

Language Vulnerability (you try saying Chiquinquira)

  I just came back from a fabulous ladies weekend in Boyaca. We found a cabin in the mountains and laughed, ate and almost blew ourselves up trying to light the propane hot water heater. On the bus ride there, passing through  Chiquinquira to Tinjaca, I lisented to Brene Brown on On Being, reflecting on…