By Cecilia Gregg
Last summer I had the opportunity to travel to Colombia on a delegation with Witness for Peace (WFP), a politically independent, grassroots organization of people committed to nonviolence, peace, justice, sustainable economies, and policy changes in the Americas. Currently, there are hundreds of displaced farmers in the communities of Pueblo Nuevo, Alto Guayabal, Las Camelias, Caracoli, and Llano Rico who have lost their livelihood, dignity, and basic human rights when their lands were taken by the paramilitaries, mining companies, and agri-businesses. On the delegation, we met with these northern Colombian communities, and then shared our concern with regional Colombian representatives, including the 17th Brigade, U.S. Embassy Officials in Bogota, and with other NGOs. We met with these groups in hopes of bringing change to the region.
The delegation changed my life! Seeing the situation first-hand, I was moved to anger, sadness, outrage, helplessness, and frustration. Though there is much pain in the region, I came home with a greater sense of hope, love, energy, happiness, and peace, knowing that I could take a stand and create positive change in my life and in the lives of others. Seeing the poverty and harsh conditions in Colombia, I realized the waste in my own life and I recognized that I take so much for granted. In this country, we are blessed beyond belief and I realized that we can each do more to support each other and our global comrades in the pursuit of peace and aid.
When I returned from Colombia, my son and I downsized, getting rid of a house that was too costly and space that was never used. We moved to an apartment, half the size of our house. This fresh start freed up time, energy, and money. We’ve been able to use these extra resources to fund charitable endeavors and travel, getting to know the people of the world.
My renewed commitment to charitable causes prompted me to write this letter to tell you all the details about my trip and to ask you to get involved too. Whether you get involved with Witness for Peace or another organization, get out there and get passionate about a cause. Giving time, money, energy, or spreading the word, we can all make a difference in the important causes that we stand behind!
I leave you with these sentiments from Henry David Thoreau, “Be not simply good, be good for something.” I hope you are well and in good health and spirit.
Peace, Love, and Blessings.
Cecilia Gregg traveled to Uruba, Colombia in 2010 with a Witness for Peace delegation.