Peacebuilding en Las Américas

Ray of Hope in Baskets for Peace, Colombia

by Patricia Duque, AVP Colombia

Peace Basket recipients in Marinilla, Antioquia. Many of the recipients in this area are families who were displaced by the violence, Venezuelan refugees, single women, and families where there are elderly and/or sick members. Photo by Patricia.

I am a persistent Patry and I want to share what this project “BASKETS OF PEACE- PAV/PAN” has meant for me. Six months ago, I thought that my work with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) would have a fairly long break because this Covid 19 pandemic totally disrupted my work schedule this year, which was quite broad and included AVP workshops and gatherings of growth based on non-violence with children and young people.

Then, a ray of hope emerged when in the team of national coordinators together with Mónica Maher, our Initiative Coordinator, we dreamed of this basket project by PAV/PAN. I only asked for twenty … because I thought I would not reach more because of mobility difficulties due to the f the pandemic and the fact that I live in a rural area. The first installment was a challenge. It moved me to look for other people to help me throughout the process. I created ties with other people by telling them about the project and I personally went to each beneficiary family.

 Many of the recipients in this Marinilla, Antioquia are Venezuelan refugees, who are not only dealing with complications due to Covid 19, but figuring out where to sleep for the night. Photo by Patricia.

I was moved by the gratitude of the people, recognizing God’s providence in that basket. When they gave us the good news of a second installment, it was something wonderful because as the adage says: there is always more joy in giving than in receiving. I told myself I will be very attentive and sensitive to be able to recognize who these baskets are for, providence me will lead to them. And so it was… The first was for the AVP Facilitator Beatriz, who asked me: Can you send baskets for some families in Líbano who need it urgently? How good, I thought. Then, since she is such a busy woman in her work, this solidarity project also put her in tune and in motion to make her reach where it is very difficult for this aid to reach otherwise. Another facilitator, Adelines, also took the initiative to propose families that require this drop of hope. For my part, I want to share that this project has refined my sensitivity. It has allowed me to get closer to the reality of people.

In the second round, I was thinking of bringing people together to a place to deliver their basket due to transportation difficulties, but a light within me invited me to go to their homes and make this delivery something more personal. This is because we delivered not just one food basket, but also presence and communication… Having contact with the members of each family and saying even a few words of hope and encouragement to them is also part of this project. Carrying these baskets of peace, I have benefited because sharing with people fills me with joy and hope. It gives meaning to my life and my mission, and motivates me more and more to continue with my work as an AVPer.