March was a big month for our team in the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. The team started off with a round of meetings in Apartadó, including meetings with the local office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Ombudsman Office, the Urabá Police, and finally the 17th Brigade, which operates in San José de Apartadó. We held these meetings to express concerns about violations of the Geneva Conventions and protection measures that are guaranteed to the Peace Community and to gather information about the region to keep the team safe.
Then Adilah left the initial training in Bogotá to join the team in the field just in time to accompany with Nikki to a nearby Peace Community hamlet. On March 23rd, Adilah, Nikki, and Michaela all joined in the celebrations of the San José Peace Community’s 18th anniversary – 18 years of being a community that actively resists all armed forces in the area.
For ten days in March 2015, FOR Peace Presence had the privilege of hosting a delegation from the Pacific School of Religion. On paper, the delegation consisted of 13 university students from a grant program known as the Changemaker Fellows and their professor from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. In person, the delegation was a dynamic and receptive group of individuals, eager to open their hearts and minds to some of Colombia’s most devastating realities.