Thursday, 23 August 2012

Learning to Walk

I remember the first time I came to the Peace Village of Mulatos I was told that I didn’t know how to step. Up until that point I wasn’t aware I had been doing it wrong. But that day I was definitely not walking right; I would sink into the mud far deeper than the people I was accompanying. I became desperate in that mud, and my “accompanied” had to take my hand like a child, and show me how to navigate the mud.

People here see their struggle as a long arduous walk. They see the path to peace and the way of resistance as a process of walking together.They often ask who is prepared to walk with them, they talk about who has walked with them in the past, who will continue to walk with them in the future. Life here is a constant process of walking and learning from one another, strengthening one another along the way.

I have learnt to love walking, to embrace the uphill climbs, to feel strong with every step, to accept the mud and the sweat. I’ve got better at it and people now know me as somebody who walks fast, who is capable of taking on the tough climbs, of walking wherever necessary with the people who need it for their safety and protection.

After my time in the Peace Community, I see the path of resistance as a path through a thick and vibrant jungle. It’s long, the mud is thick, the air is humid, there are mosquitos and radiant blue butterflies which dance around you, and sometimes you despair that with every two steps uphill, you sink one step back down.

I still fall. I have got better, but I still fall in the mud, and I slip and I slide. I dance too. You end up moving your body in strange ways when you’re trying not to fall, when one foot hits firm grounds and the other is about to sink, you have to twist yourself in ingenious and innovative ways, inventing dance moves along the way. And I have learnt so much about resistence and carving out spaces for peace and non-violence from walking with the Peace Community.