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…

Sweetened Condensed Milk, Pie and the Middle Class

I love Colombia for many reasons. Many are profound: the work of civil society for peace; the cultural vibrancy proudly on display in every region; the determination to enjoy life no the circumstance. Yet sometimes I think I love Colombia almost more for the little things that make up daily life: the hummingbird in the…

Pieces of Paper

I can’t stop thinking about a story Larisa told me at the end of November. I was about to leave on a work trip and the conflict in the Montes de Maria in the early 2000s was furthest thing from my mind, but I ended up carrying it with me through Central America and back….

Spotlight on the Potato

I got mad at my family when they came to visit a couple of Christmas ago and it was time to eat. We were in Cartagena, the food mecca of the coast, especially compared to Mampujan, where I was living at the time.  They wanted rice and some sort of meat; I wanted artisan pizza…

The Mountains are on Fire

One of my first memories from my orientation time in Bogota involved walking towards the MCC office on my first day in the city. As a coworker and I got closer, we ran into another MCCer on the street. She greeted us with a smile and remarked that it was easy to spot newcomers when…