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21-04-07 12:26
San José de Apartadó - celebration of the ten year existence


Dear friends and and Peace workers

Warm greetings from the Peace Village San José de Apartadó/Colombia.
Recently, eight co-workers from Tamera were in San José de Apartadó and participated in an international meeting. Three of us are still travelling in Colombia.
We could support the people in Colombia – on the one hand in a practical way, on the other by sharing a bigger vision: a vision for a global education concept for peace.

Our team lived in the International House of San Josecito which became a beloved meeting point for all of the ones we already knew, mainly in the evening. In this space people kept on telling their stories which are often very shaking. The military is present everywhere. There were times when we saw their campfires in the nights up in the hills surrounding San Josecito. They were sitting there in the rain and seemed to observe everything that happened in the village. A strange feeling. Unfortunately, the representatives of Peace Brigades International can only be here for 10 to 12 days a month. At least the time we spent there, the village was safe from attacks.
Our cooperation with the internal Conselho of the community was very good. One of the leaders of San José thanked for us building up of the solar system, and he thanked for the mental and spiritual work of Tamera. He hopes for a broader and deeper exchange with us because our peace knowledge is necessary for the survival of this community, as he claims.

We successfully finished the building up of the Solar system in San Josecito. Martin Funk from Tamera, 2 co-workers from the company „Efiambiental“ (Cali /Colombia) and some men from San Josecito worked hard on it. Now the village can connect 25 energy saving lamps and smaller devices with produced solar energy: this is for the new school house, the bath house, ten family houses, and an emergency mobile phone. The company “Efiambiental” also gave San Josecito a drinking water purification plant which can clean 4000 litres of drinking water per day. A gift, which was extremely welcome, as the village had had a bad water situation before. Many of the micro filters which had been installed by “Doctors without Borders“, are already defective. Thus, many people here, mainly children, had to drink bad drinking water.
For the future, self-sufficient energy supply for the village. The 2-kW-plant is a start for this and we suppose that it must be accomplished by operating small water power stations. Since waste water is currently flowing openly over the site organic purification facilities would seem sensible too.

Puesto Salud: Irma Fäthke and Andrea Regelmann (Tamera) have opened the “Puesto Salud”. Until they got a steady hut they treated the local people literally on the street or in their houses. Meanwhile, people are coming from other villages, too, sometimes having to walk or horse-ride many hours. Andrea: “We appreciate the trust the inhabitants of the peace village give us. Until now, we have had best healing success with homeopathy, acupuncture, massages and sometimes an Aspirin or Betaisadonna. What is important to are intimate talks and intensive listening to the sorrows that many people here carry so deeply inside of themselves.” Patients with heavy illnesses like Malaria are taken to the hospital to Apartadó.

Evening school: Iris Bijou Lindstedt opened a evening school where approximately 30 adults can learn how to read and write. People like this meeting place, and people are proud that they can learn.

Encuentro (the international meeting): On March 23rd, 2007 a big international meeting began, the celebration for the ten years existence of San Jose de Apartadó: Representatives of 15 different Colombian peace villages, indigenous tribes, farmer unions, communities of displaced people and organisations like “Mothers of the Disappeared” from Bogotá.
People of 14 countries came, among them representatives of social organisations, support networks, and universities, city councils of Spain and Belgium. From Tamera, apart from us, Sabine Lichtenfels, Benjamin von Mendelssohn and Meike Müller had come to participate in the Encuentro.

It began with a service in the eve of the meeting, held by Padre Javier Giraldo for the 168 people murdered during of the last 10 years. For every dead person, the children and youth had made 1 meter long coffins from cardboard, with a burning candle in front of each. How can we describe the feeling which touched us by seeing that? I only can say: Let us look forward, together. Let us build up places on Earth where something like this can never happen again. If the people of San José find peace then also the other communities of Colombia will succeed in doing so, as San José has a key role. And then, a new crystal will develop, a new information which can oppose the system of violence. For this, San José needs our help, our knowledge and also our money.
On the second day of the meeting we headed off for a so-called silent march toward the town Apartadó, all in all 30 km on a very hot day. The music car kept on playing one song all day long: Il silencio. Memory of the dead. We had been app. 400 people, among us 50 Embera Indians who live not far from San José. We placed the coffins in front of the Public Prosecution Department of Apartadó, to atrackt the attention to the fact that none of the murderers has ever been avenged.
On the next day, high above in the mountains, in the oldest village of the peace community, the two days conference started with presentations of the participants, mainly of the indigenous people and the farmers of Colombia. Everywhere the same atrocities. When I listen to what the people suffer my heart breaks. There is hardly a group as well organised as San José. If a model solution can be found/installed there it will be a carrier of hope for many people and other communities.
Luis Enrique, a big Campesino (farmer), in his mid 40es and full of heart power is living together with 14 other families, which gathered from all over Colombia in a community of displaced people on hard, meagre soil, without water and without money. He is one of the few who dare to speak out. Therefore he live dangerously. Every once in a while he has to leave his family in the middle of the night in order not to be caught by the police and to make his and his family’s living. His life is only one example for 3 millions of refugees in Colombia. How can such fates create sons and daughters of peace! However, Luis Enrique does not stand as victim in front of us, to the contrary: he is shining and full of power as if part of his soul was in another, a better world. During the reports, I feel reminded of other areas of crisis, e.g. of Israel/Palestine. Also the German history comes close to me. In the North of Colombia, mass graves are found, there are curfews, an informant network, a systemically planed war, mainly by the paramilitary.

There were further speeches about the political situation of the country by Padre Javier Giraldo (a Jesuit priest and a close confident of the Peace Community), Alirio Uribo (lawyer), Ivan Cepeda. (author and human rights activist) and Gloria Cuartas (coordinator of the left-wing opposition movement and the former “Mayoress of Peace” of Apartadó).

Padre Javier Giraldo, a padre and closed confident of the peace village reported about the University of Resistance: It is an initiative of 15 communities of the country to share knowledge, for education, and for the building up of a united power of peace. It is a travelling university, without degrees, without classical education, which was founded in 2004. In its core, it is about the four most essential areas of life: food, education, health, and law. In the framework of the university of resistance, the communities decided to start a minimal production of food, to share seed, to train 60 indigenous lawyers and to analyse the situation of education in all the villages. In this context the made a survey, asking: What are your dreams?
The result of this made it clear that all of them wish that the youth and the children will once have a better life. This was the point when Sabine Lichtenfels, co-founder of Tamera, spoke out to present the idea of the Global Campus.
“My thinking circles the question what we can do to give an efficient protection to the Peace Community and to empower it. (…) We are facing the challenge to create global education places where peace knowledge on all levels can be learned. This is part of an alive and efficient resistance which we can oppose the system of globalisation of violence. It is not a fight against the existing systems which only weakens us, but the decisive building-up of a power, superior to all violence.”
Our team was very moved and touched by the power of the community in San Josecito and Sabine Lichtenfels suggested the internal Conselho of San José the idea of an international meeting in San Josecito. This will be a further step to creating the “Global Campus”, a worldwide cooperating peace education for young people from areas of crisis. An education which teaches practical survival skills like solar technology, food supply, water purification, and low cost architecture, as well as the knowledge about conflict resolution, community building, and communication in those points where people usually don’t speak.
A common global curriculum can help that many young people who wish for a diploma and who would leave the community for that stay in the community. Regularl meeting with people from India, Palestine/Israel and other countries can help to see the global vision and to develop together the idea for a global peace village.

The meeting is planned to take place in 2008. We will report about this more in detail.
For further information please refer to our website or come to the Summer University “Global Campus 2007” from July 19th to 28th. Gloria Curtas and a representative of San Jose de Apartadó already confirmed their participation.

In the name of our team we would like to thank all those who have supported our work in San José de Apartadó. We have created a fund which shall pay the travel costs and the solar system and which shall make it possible to pay for the flights of Gloria Cuartas and someone from San José for the Summer University.
This fund was empty before we left to Colombia, we had to borrow 20,000 euros to cover the current costs. We are convinced that our plans and our trip are right and necessary and that therefore there will be people who will give us money for that. A warm thanks for any contribution, regardless of the height.

- for photos from San José de Apartadó, the international meeting and the 10th anniversary please visit - “Galería Fotográfica”-

With warm regards,
Katja Long, Andrea Regelmann, Martin Funk, Iris Lindstedt, Irma Fäthke
The Colombia team of the IGP/Tamera/Portugal

IGP - Institute for Global Peace Work,
Monte do Cerro, P-7630 Colos,;
Phone:, Fax:-374

Account for Donation
Stiftung Förderfond der Freien Gemeinschaftsbank, Basel
Account number: 400.631.3
Account holder: Verein Netzwerk/Tamera
Clearing Number: 8392 - IBAN: CH20 06313 - BIC: RAICH22XXX
Use: "San José Solar" (Note: The Stiftung Förderfond can issue a tax-deductible donation receipt)


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