This week students from the College of New Jersey's Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement are in Nicaragua with a Witness for Peace delegation. This is a direct account from those students.
Today I found a little bit of peace… in a place with a very uncertain future, filled with big hearts and hopeful spirits. Nicaragua. I came to visit you with no expectations, with no idea, but with the intention to become inspired and to let your history, your story, your beauty influence me… to allow you to bear motherhood over me for a few days… to feel your love, to feel your pain, even if it’s just for a little while. I came here with the idea that I could stop it all. Or at least do something to induce change. But after learning that you’ve become victim to unfair policies, unjust political figures, ignorance and corrupt authority, pesticides, homicide, false and unkept promises… that your children live in garbage dumpsters, that your children are being exploited by foreign companies, that your daughters carry on their backs the blame of all the misfortunes of their families, and your sons have lost themselves in their anger and disillusionment… I’ve become hopeless… soaked in guilt and despair. Yet somehow, magically, you have not. You still remain. You have been sucked dry of your milk by sons you did not bear, and still, you continue to produce nutrients for your children and a surplus. You have been covered by pollution and masked with the discards of the world, but you bloom, no matter the season, providing a corner of shade for any tired soul seeking relief from the sun above you. Your children have found a way to grow with their devastations, and not be consumed by them. They have learned how to move in a world that has no path for them. Chameleons of time and circumstance. You parade your scars of battle and revolution with grace and humility. You know the true definition of beauty. Blessed are you because you know what the true definition of honor is. You practice nobility, honesty, and you labor every single moment of the day in hopes to teach your children the joy in true and just work ethic. Most amazingly, you have forgiven all offenses made against you. You hold no grudge. You walk with love. There is so much the world can learn from you. There is so much I have learned from you. And today, as I was drowning in my guilt, exasperated by the sufferings I am witnessing, you sent one of your children to sing to my colleagues and I… and I heard your song of peace. You rescued me from my doubts, from my thoughts. You told me that you have not lost hope, nor have your children, and in turn, I cannot either.
This post was originally published here.