More from Guatemala: The PFP Palencia Peace Session

"The colours and movements of the game parachute matched the smiles of the participants. From these basic ingredients, the community began to engage with our program, and play."

The Play for Peace Palencia youth have started a new era of leading Practice Peace Sessions within their community.  They have recently become interested in expanding these activities to the townships surrounding Palencia! Indeed, this is exactly what they did on the 21st of July, when they visited the township of Pie del Cerro and spontaneously invited children to participate in a PFP event. Our facilitators provided us with a beautiful description of these activities... At first the children approached us with a mixture of curiousity and hesitation: they were interested in what we were doing, but did not fully trust us. Some of the children hid behind the trees, so we had to seek them out, and invite them over nicely. At first, the youth facilitators played cooperatively between themselves. But, little by little, the children joined in. The colours and movements of the game parachute matched the smiles of the participants. From these basic ingredients, the community began to engage with our program and play. It was the first time that these kids had participated in a program based on the foundation of cooperative fun and peace. Indeed, it was this idea of a peaceful community that was most celebrated! The weather wasn’t so agreeable: the rain limited our time with this group, as did our long travel time. Still, it was enough for the children to become interested in PFP. The initial distrust towards our youth facilitators, which stemmed from fears of youth gang recruiters,  soon dissipated.
By the end of our session, the community expressed a clear desire for our facilitators to return.
Even more inspiring were the gifted bags of local vegetables from the parents. A sign of gratitude, they felt we had brought peace to their children, if only for a few minutes. Interestingly enough, this practice of gifting vegetables is a cultural norm: in Guatemala, if one has no money, but would like to show gratitude, he or she provides vegetables from their own crop. This is usually given to doctors, or others who have offered assistance. It is a great honour, not normally granted to youth. Keep an eye out for more blogs on Guatemala! [gallery ids="2959,2966,2957,2965,2962,2964,2960,2953,2958,2956,2954"]