I was wearing my boots; it rained heavily that day. I left the house, and I don't remember exactly why, but strangely, I had decided to put them on even though I only had a short distance to walk. There was a lot of mud. I think that, upon seeing me already so geared up, the invitation came spontaneously from Brigida: "Will you accompany me to pick some mangoes?"
It was a request not based on safety reasons but simply the desire to reach those large trees, pick some fruit, and have one together:
“solita no quiero ir, mi hijo está cansado" (Transl. I don't want to go alone, my son is tired.)
And that's how, in just a few minutes, I found myself climbing the hill in front of the Peace Community’s entrance, a community land, to collect some mangoes that had fallen due to the heavy rain that had just passed. "What wonderful trees; we've had two bad years, but look how full of fruit they are!"
"Brigida, do you know that we often tell your 'mango story'? About how long it takes from planting to seeing the fruits, about what hope means to you. And now, I find myself here with you, picking these fruits, symbol of resistance, love, but above all, perseverance on this challenging path of peace." She turns her gaze slowly backward, but she is not looking at me; she is looking at the boot prints left behind as we reached these majestic mango trees. How many years of struggle for you, dear Brigida. How much mud in your life.
How many mangoes collected.

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Mud walls uphill and downhill, on foot or mule, for hours and hours, without knowing what will be the next obstacle, with the risk of slipping or falling, not knowing whether you meet on the way a friendly face or an enemy, whether to smile or to avoid.
In doubt, better to avoid.
Very high level of concentration on the way.
Careful not to miss the travel companions, especially the ones we accompany that are equally careful not to lose sight of us, since our presence increases their level of security and given their care about us as well.
We who are not accustomed to this kind of paths and this kind of climate, ignoring in addition the risks hidden by the wilderness.
Despite the further concern we represent for the people of the Peace Community, accustomed to "fly" on the mud and run on these arduous and endless paths, we continue to be a significant value added for them.
Every time we stop, they repeat "thank you for accompanying us, thank you for accompanying us".
And they continue to seem heroes to me, not to idealize them, but to be honest and to make real a word that by now, in this world, it seems can only be filled with virtual meanings and special effects.
Instead they are small but strong, physically and morally, they are tenacious like the cabuya (a thread that cannot be broken), they are strategic in pursuing the good, they are persevering, they do not give up, and they work, day after day, as tireless ants to sow and harvest food and life in immense places.

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I’m almost at the end of my experience in one of the projects of Operazione Colomba: a few more days, then I will go back to Italy. My family, friends, and close acquaintances refer to my coming back as a return to "my reality". In fact, leaving home to dive into a completely different context, in order to wholly experience all its aspects, in an all-encompassing way, can have a very strong impact. Therefore, in some hard moments, the thought of going back home, where everything is known and without excessive unknowns, can bring a little security.

Yet I perceive a discordant note in this definition, something that bothers me. So I’ve started asking myself: what is "my reality''?

Isn't it what I'm living right here, right now? And won't I carry with me, imprinted in my heart-head-belly all these moments, this reality that has now become also “my reality”? As a matter of fact, am I not here to take on, as a human being and a citizen of a round-shaped world, a slice of responsibility to counter the injustices that afflict the planet?

That’s what I am supposed to do, as the reality of a globalized world can only be experienced in all its complexity and when I decided to come here, I did feel the need to find an example of resistance to the ugliness of a humanity, the contemporary one, which seems to have cut down the umbilical cord with Nature in order to pursue a fictitious, virtual and consumerist dimension that is clearly unsustainable over time.

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In recent days, the escalation of violence in the war in Ukraine has shocked many of us, who suddenly feel "close and involved" in a war which only now seems to be “next door”, but which actually began in the spring of 2014 and has already caused 13,000 victims and 1.5 million internally displaced people. However, before the recent upsurge very few were interested in it.
Of course, the empathy towards so much suffering and the indignation for the horror that Ukrainian people are experiencing is sacrosanct, and it is a duty to show solidarity and bring help to those who are fleeing. We too, as Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII Association, immediately went to Ukraine to open a Humanitarian Corridor.
Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking about the thousands of victims who escaped from other wars which we did not consider "ours" or "close" or "threatening" and which only led us to raise walls and barbed wires, confining so many persons in cold, hunger and oblivion, denying them any possible future.
In fact, I wonder how it is possible that the tears of those African, Afghan, Syrian children are less worthy of our embrace and our ability to welcome.

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Today is the 23rd of March 2022, that means the Peace Community of San Josè de Apartadò (Comunidad de Paz – CdP) celebrates its 25th birthday.

Since the break of dawn, the hymn of CdP is sounding through the speakers: preparations are in full swing, there are many guests to welcome, both national and international ones. I strongly feel the love from all the people who, in here, found an example of resistance, fight for freedom, respect, self-care and care for everybody – because, without the others, we are none.

In the previous days, as soon as I arrived, I was able to experience new activities, because in here everybody collaborates to reach a successful result, from the youngest to the eldest. I participated in all the projects, even the ones I would have avoided in Italy, as when people work together, tiredness gets divided and satisfaction multiplies.

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