Unlearn to learn

These are the stories of people who reflect Colombia’s diversity and who are united by the pain wrought by the armed conflict, and through a shared hope for a true and lasting peace.

Originally from Puerto Merizalde in the Naya river basin, Aida is a teacher in San Joaquin and a member of the Board of Directors of the Aini Women’s Association. “We were looking for a word that had a symbolic link to our African roots.  One day a friend came and told us of the meaning of the word “aini”: source of the flowers’ springtime; there was not a lot of debate about the name.”  The association aims to develop a reflective and critical diversity, so that women can rethink their role in patriarchal societies and achieve a more inclusive equality. “In the theatre workshops we set new situations for our students: we asked the girls to act like they were the ones to go harvest the taro root, and the boys act like they had to cook them.  You have to unlearn to learn afresh”. The Association was created in October 2015, and the idea is that in each of the 64 communities of the Naya river there is a female leader.  “Sometimes it is more complicated to persuade a woman than a man, but it is something that can be worked on”.  Aida dreams of seeing her land free and autonomous, where communities can be conscious protagonists who participate in their own reality.

Delphine and Mario wrote the stories for the ‘Beautiful madness’ after a trip to the Naya river basin in June 2016.  During that journey they accompanied the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP) and met with women and men from indigenous, Afro-descendant and farming communities from around Colombia, and witnessed the inauguration of the University for Peace’s first campus, the beginning of an initiative that seeks to generate initiatives that will bring peace to the territories.

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