Friday, July 12, 2013

Words of Peace

I landed in Medellin, Colombia yesterday after a whole day of flights across the Americas. I only stayed in Medellin for one day as a layover for my final destination in Urabá. I waited in line for customs with my one bag and after a few hesitant words exchanged in English and Spanish with the customs agent, he stamped my passport and I walked out to find my two hosts for the day holding a beautiful cardboard sign reading, "Benjamin." 

I was hosted by two young adults in university who are leaders in a new Presbyterian church that they started just over a year ago. The young man was basically fluent in English, so I retreated to my familiar language just minutes after entering the country!  We talked about music, art, and culture in Medellin and around Colombia. We also talked about the human rights work of the IPC (Presbyterian Church of Colombia). 

The young woman hosting me had been planning to attend a poetry festival going on at the time in Medellin called "One hundred Years of Peace for Colombia. She found an event that had an English speaking poet from Ireland. After eating lunch in the famous downtown complete with dozens of sculptures by Fernando Botero (who is from Medellin) and taking the metro train to my hotel, we went to the poetry festival held at her university.
One of Fernando Botero's works in Medellin 

We sat on the ground and listened to peaceful musical collaborations with instruments from drums and guitars to those plastic tubes you spin around in the air to whistle. The park was packed peacefully with people - many hugs and kisses were given as the crowds gathered, and finally the poetry began. 

They had international poets from Ireland, Peru, Egypt, and also poets from the 1% of Colombians that are indigenous peoples or Amerindian. They spoke passionately in their respective languages and translators spoke with equal vigor repeating the poems in Spanish. The crowd was alive - soaking up every word and applauding in celebration when they connected with the message. 

In my first day I have seen beauty, wisdom, strength, and love at every turn. I pray for peace. I pray for words of peace.

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship is looking for a new accompaniment program coordinator. If you are interested in being an accompanier or being hired as the coordinator, check out their website.
My view at the poetry festival!

No comments:

Post a Comment