Peacebuilding en Las Américas

We Must Be Hope: Reflections from Lorena Escobar, AVP Guatemala

by Lorena Escobar, AVP Guatemala Coordinator, Leer en Español

From one day to the next, everything changed. We are at a stop. Future plans will wait as everyone is locked in their homes. We are all waiting for what will happen in the future without being able to give each other a hug, without being able to shake hands. We keep distance, use a mask, people do not approach for fear of contagion. There is death. It is a very sad, painful and unfortunate situation that we are experiencing worldwide.

But even in the midst of this chaos, we must be grateful for the miracle of life, appreciate our friends, take care of our mother earth, be compassionate, be more generous and supportive, and value the little details that surround our daily life. We must have courage to be alive and to be better every day,  taking care of our neighbor.

It is a time when we must unite regardless of ideologies, social classes, and religions. We must be one when we ask for health for each country in the world and feel empathy for the families who have lost their loved ones. Let us unite in prayer, in meditation, in reflection, so that this may soon pass, and let us see the light again. We must be the helping hand to the sad, be the food to the hungry, be the water to the thirsty, be the word of encouragement to the desperate, be hope.

In this COVID-19 social crisis, we have spent 73 days in confinement and social distancing. Work has decreased in the informal sector. The government has provided food aid to certain sectors of the country such as the most needy and vulnerable, but food is beginning to be scarce. Therefore, when we have checked in with the families of the School of Peace youth in San Patricio, and women in San Jorge, they both spoke about how they have begun to feel the ravages of this crisis, both food, physical and emotional. It is manifesting in intra-family violence, due to the very confinement in which they are found.  Through our phone calls, we can continue to promote the tools of AVP by sharing positive thoughts in conflict resolution, tips on seeking peaceful responses, and encouraging them to report abuse if required. We have also looked to find donations to support them with food, alcohol, and hand gel.