It has been difficult.
It has been difficult to find time to write down all that has been seen and experienced over the last few days. It has been difficult to capture the emotion that we feel moment to moment, jumping from tears of joy to tears of sorrow. It has been difficult to take this all in and then adequately bring justice to it in this post. To sum it up, it has been difficult to truly understand the power of people and what we have done to each other in the past and what we do now to come together in healing.
The Power of people was first seen in a healing form at the Peace Trees Land Mine Education Center. Surrounded by trees planted by Peace Trees donors in honor of those who gave there lives in the war, it is truly a place of peace with soft light, singing birds and gentle breezes.
Inside the Education Center, innocent drawings by children hang on the walls depicting the reality of living in an area littered with unexplored ordinance and the effect it has on their daily lives. The horrors of war are seen just sitting on tables as a gentle warning of avoidance.
Outside, we pick up shovels and hoes and begin the process of planting 30+ trees. The soil is red and has an organic, sweet, citrus smell that clings to our shoes and gloves. It is fairly easy work as the holes were already dug, allowing time to listen to the songs of the woods filled with the hum of insects and song of birds.
Then we saw witnessed the Power of healing when we visited the Peace Trees village and met with a Kindergarten class that sang for us and then visited with families that had survived land mine explosions. They all greeted us warmly and with love in their faces.
Next, we saw the Power of destruction as we witnessed first-hand the controlled detonation of collected ordinance. The brave men that fearlessly collect and safely dispose of hundreds of bombs and land mines every year were there to share their stories.
Day 4 was a rapid tour of schools built and sponsored by Peace Trees donors. The faces showed the Power of hope. Young and old faces were smiling, happy to greet us and sing. The emotion was raw and real to our Western eyes.
Then we had the honor and privilege to participate in the ground breaking of the new school we are sponsoring the construction of. The Power of cooperation could be seen everywhere but most strongly through the Women’s Union, elder minority tribe women and Peace Trees staff.
I have found it quite challenging to deal with and process all these sources of Power. I have laughed. I have cried. My eyes have been opened by these experiences and I am forever changed.