There is nothing so beautiful than seeing the fruits of the land, planted by farmer’s hands which will soon make it to our table.
The universe, pachamama (Mother Earth), the green earth calls to us shouting for her protection and care. Some of us defend her; we protect and we protest alongside her, telling the world that we must love and take care of her. It is important to highlight the work of our farmers, men and women who till this land, who take care of her as if she were one of their children and develop a special connection with her, she who feels and breathes like any one of us.
Comunidad Garzal and Nueva Esperanza
In my great misery the Lord found me, reached down in the mud and rescued me.
He has seated me with kings and has let me rest.
He told me that he loved me and restored me, slowly gave me what the world could never give.
It is true that I am old but my hope stands firm,
As I move from church to church, writing verses of the Word
Just as before, I sing and sing,
Brining songs that fill my soul with joy,
Giving all my praise to Jesus Christ.
He is the owner of my life, He is the owner of my soul.
On Friday January 10th, Salvador Alcántara, pastor and leader for the community of El Garzal and Nueva Esperanza, and his family returned to their home. Paramilitary threats forced pastor Salvador and his family to leave El Garzal in June of 2013.
After 7 difficult months away from family and church community, Salvador glowed with joy as he and his family unloaded boxes and swept away cobwebs. “I am thrilled to be home” he said over dinner with his children and grandchildren, “now I really feel free”.
“now I really feel free”
CPT accompanied Salvador in his return home and was also present during a meeting where Salvador and other community leaders from El Garzal and Nueva Esperanza met with the mayor, the military, the police, and the municipal Human Rights officer to discuss a more concrete security plan now that Salvador is living in El Garzal again.
It was a Christmas perhaps more akin to that first one in Bethlehem than the ones I am used to in Canada. No fancy lights—no electricity except for a diesel generator that gets used occasionally at night. No Christmas tree, nor gifts under it. No alcohol. No turkey. And, thankfully, without the cacophony of extremely loud music around our house here in Barrancabermeja, where neighbours set up humongous competing sound systems in front of their houses to celebrate the season.
Our main reason for visiting was to accompany Garzal’s twice-displaced leader and pastor, Reverend Salvador Alcántara and his family, so they could spend Christmas with family and loved ones in Garzal.
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
On Wednesday morning, gathered under two large trees, Jhenifer Mojica, INCODER’s Deputy Director of Rural Land (The Colombian Land Institute) returned sixty four titles to members of the community of Garzal. “Your unity has been exemplary to all of us” she said, “Garzal is an emblematic case, one of the sixteen hand picked by President Santos that would receive immediate attention.”
In 2003 the community was defrauded by INCODER under a technical guise. A representative of the institute, unofficially collected their original titles claiming that the paperwork was under revision of a legal procedure, while assuring them that the titles would be returned to them soon after the minor adjustment was made.