Peacebuilders might enjoy positive and inspiring impressions due to their courage, commitment, and discipline to practice peaceful and non-violent ways of living: spreading positivity, kind gestures, and love. Yet, little might people know that at the back of that is a less known story of audacious steps to winning tiring and exhausting struggles in life. A conversation between Veds Kali and Karin Widmer from the CPS team Philippines.
Heart to heart talk with Veds…
Veds Kali, a Mindanawon peacebuilder and youth leader, admitted that he felt happy and warm thanks to the conversation, yet this could not take away his feeling of insecurity in how to cope with the situation. It’s not only that he had been in home office already prior to the pandemic – the CPS office had been closed months earlier due to a series of earthquakes and the need to comply with German standards for earthquake proofed buildings. But also, he is staying far from his family, whom he misses a lot.
“The holy month of Ramadan was so far the hardest struggle for me, as it came together with the pandemic. It was hard to connect with myself”, he revealed. He needed to embrace his vulnerabilities: “It’s important to recognize the feelings and to accept being vulnerable. We should not pressure ourselves on ending our day productive, but we should work at our own pace.” He looks at it as a long process of endless quest on redefining his own comfort zone in the “new normal”.
… and with Karin
“This is the time where recognizing our feelings is vital for self-care,” this is what Karin emphasized as she reflected her roller-coaster peace journey over the past 4.5 years. Wearing her multilevel hats as a friend, peacebuilder and advisor in a partner organization, she shared her enriching story of hope, recovery and resilience she faced in an unusual environment.
Currently stranded in her home country, Karin remained hopeful about the situation. However, she cannot take away the fact that the uncertainty brought by the pandemic is challenging. She admitted that she feels worried mainly for her local partners and friends in Mindanao. She offers spaces for conversation as a form of support. While she felt connected with her local partner organisation, she still feels “disconnected” as some partners especially in the communities have no access to internet. This adds up to the challenges that made her feel helpless about things she has no control over, such as her return to the Philippines.