Sunday, November 4, 2007

Skipping in Solidarity

Dear friends,

In the midst of a very challenging situation, our friends here in Saravena still find time to celebrate the joys of life. During the last week of October, I was invited to three birthday parties for some of our younger friends (see photos).

Fidel Ernesto celebrated his second birthday on October 26. Sonia Lopez was two-months pregnant with Fidel when she came to the Northwest U.S. on a month-long speaking tour in April 2005. She is the president of the Joel Sierra Human Rights Foundation. Fidel had a lot of health problems during his first year but he seems to be doing fine now.

Our friends used the same type of candle on Fidel’s cake as they did on my birthday cake in July – you blow it out and it lights back up again. Fidel was much more creative and persistent than I was in trying to put out the candle. After it flared up again, he scooped up some icing with the knife and used that to extinguish the candle. As you can see in the photo, he was rather surprised and perplexed when even that couldn’t keep the candle out!

Karen was one-year-old on October 27. Her parents, Zulei and Carlos, had to abandon their home because of the fighting between the two guerrilla groups here in the state of Arauca when Zulei was pregnant with Karen. She spent her first year here in the social organizations’ building in Saravena, and she and her parents finally moved into another home on November 1.

My friend Yuri turned six on October 31. In July, she told me how much she enjoyed her fifth birthday party last year. She then told me that her father was killed when she was three and her uncle was killed last year. She concluded, “Bro’, we are so tired of this life.” (Colombian Journey – Mother and Child; July 11, 2007). Yuri and her mother, Sandra, are still living in the social organizations building and struggling to get by on very limited income. However, they both seem to be feeling better now, and Yuri was surrounded by family and friends for her birthday.

There’s a very energetic three-year-old girl that lives a block from here. I often pass by her home in the evening on my way to the pizzeria (which serves excellent vegetarian pizza!). When I returned to Saravena last year, she would call out “Gringo!” and wave as I walked by. Several months ago on my way back from the pizzeria, she ran down to the corner to greet me. She then started skipping back to her home. That seemed like a wonderful idea to me and I began skipping alongside her. That has now become our evening ritual, and two nights ago we skipped along the entire block!

In love, joy, and solidarity.


Community Action for Justice in the Americas


Frank Partisan said...

I returned the favor, and linked back to you.

Good luck in struggle, and have fun at birthday parties.

Ché Bob said...


Thanks for sharing this story from the lighter side. Just today I was reflecting on how I'm sometimes unable to relax, rest, laugh and even breath because I get so caught up in the struggle. I've got to remember the words of Emma Goldman: "If I can't dance, it ain't my revolution."


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