First and foremost please do check these three amazing videos that just came out about Seed! Feautured are my very good friends Larisa, Carolina, Cellia and Daniela!
Secondly, the day has come and now is when SEED goes on its would-be-advocacy tour turned advocacy-themed-investigative tour! Here´s a press release that´s a work in progress but gives an overview of what the heck we´re up to:
Three Americans, one French-American, a Canadian, a Peruvian, a Mexican and three Colombian youths aged 21-31, Mennonite Central Committee’s “Seeders” , have been living and working on grassroots peace-building in Colombia for the past two years in 9 different communities, and this April for two weeks they will divide themselves between Honduras and Mexico and then reunite in Guatemala all with the goal of answering some burning questions: “How is our work in Colombia related to the reality of peace churches in Mexico City and Tegusigalpa? How can mining communities in South and Central America be in solidarity with each other? How are churches and grass roots communities throughout Latin America thinking about implementing political advocacy?”
Advocacy has been done by sending articles back to their home communities related to the reality they see in Colombia, as well as supporting partners ‘advocacy processes locally. Though given the option to head to institutional offices in the North to do “traditional” advocacy, the group voted rather to spend the same resources on taking this mixed-group only slightly north, to Central America, to discover and strengthen networks of mutuality and common causes and ground in Latin America.
The group is heading to these countries with eyes wide open and a list of questions they seek answers to. The first five days in Mexico and Honduras will bring them into contact with local NGOs, youth groups and churches with whom they will share their experiences working in Colombia in both urban and rural contexts, while also listening to the struggles, successes and plans of these groups. Once in Guatemala the team will be joined by local youth as they bus and hike through Guatemala. Their trail will lead them to small indigenous communities seeking political sovereignty of their territory when confronted with hydro-electric mega-projects; they will also visit a community resisting the mining industry, and in each community they will add more youth accompanying them and reflecting with them.
Since this is my personal blog I can go ahead and admit to some ambivalence regarding this trip. I like to have things clear, defined, measurable, at the very least understandable. This trip feels frustratingly random to me. In my last three months here, I`m finally deeply invested in the local processes my church and the sanctuary peace church network in Medellin are working on….and now I`m leaving for two weeks. Probably that`s a good thing, probably it forces me to let go of the reins of control I theoretically never have but actually tend to grap onto…but it`s also hard.
Here’s a picture of me busying myself and putting a happy face on while taking notes (and internally making snarky comments to myself) as the group tries to hammer out what exactly the point of this trip is a month ago:
Tomorrow at 8am I head to Bogota to finish up some details with Team Mexico in terms of the workshops we’ll lead and the next day we’re off. So, let’s all pray for the best!
At the very least I’ll be sure to share my experiences and insights with you fine folks!! As in many situations, here’s to life (and this trip) surprising me and surprising us all!