Friday, 18 November 2011

La Vida del Campo

I came to be here through a passion for human rights and an interest in grass-roots human rights work, not because of a desire to live in a rural campesino community. But this work comprises both. The other day, as two of my colleagues were coming back from an accompaniment, we decided to make arroz con leche (basically rice pudding) and had to go and collect firewood. As I sweated up the hill with a log over my shoulder and took childish pleasure in squelching my boots deep into the mud, I felt excited to be part of this way of life, to be participating in this community, to be in the jungle, which is so immense, where plants have leaves bigger than me, where everything feels so alive. I know that sometimes campesino life will consume me, that the jungle will envelop me and I may lose some of the perspective I gain from reading the news each morning and keeping up with international affairs (especially when computers die because of the damp here and the internet connection is frustratingly and incredibly unreliable). But offsetting that loss, I hope to gain something else, something deeper, which comes from sharing life with the people who have been directly and profoundly affected by those things we read in the news, who have been personally touched by the conflict, forced off their lands on several occasions, but bravely come back and who have made a stand for peace.