Garzal and Nueva Esperanza


By Charletta Erb 

In search of sweet cacao fruit, we stopped short at a large hole dug out of the ground. We were visiting DJ who told us about a recent “visit” from the military. The hole remained from a stove used by forty soldiers who spent several days camped at his farm. Over several days, soldiers took fruit without payment, while DJ pumped three full tanks of water per day.

Walking to DJ’s house with fruit in hand, we were surrounded by hens and piglets. Nibbling cacao, DJ continued the story while his granddaughter smiled and played with his hat, a weave of blond and brown fibers.


The lieutenant claimed DJ had hidden weapons and accused him of being a guerrilla. DJ told the lieutenant to inspect his home for weapons at any time, but he should not accuse him of being a guerrilla without cause.

Gazing at bougainvillea, croton, squash, and hot peppers the farm girl in me tried to imagine asserting my international human rights to forty armed soldiers. It would be terrifying.

I asked DJ what it meant to be a peacemaker, and he said to be in communion with each other. The campesinos are that communion to each other, a source of community, fellowship, protection, and solidarity. CPTers have the privilege of being invited into that communion. DJ spoke to us as accompaniers so that we might call armed groups to accountability, drawing each of us into that communion.

The next day, DJ came to us with an abundant gift: fruit and clippings of plants for my new house. I asked him for his favorite scripture and song. He told me he loved “How Great Thou Art” a hymn that speaks of the wonder of God’s creation. His choice scripture echoed his sense of God’s call to be a voice in face of danger…

 “…You shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD. Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth.” Jeremiah 1:7-9 (NRSV)


About CPT Colombia

CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams) Colombia is an International organization seeking to be allies for and partner with communities who are threatened with displacement and violence. We try to support their initiatives to promote justice and peace and their resistance to attempts by those who oppress them and seek to dispossess them of their land, culture and livelihoods.


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