Bolivian people cried out for God’s help in October 2003, as they have never done. Many people were killed; markets and offices closed. That year Bolivian families not only were grieving the loss of family members but also the loss of their material goods: houses and small businesses. As a result of these social problems Bolivians hardly could buy food in the markets for months. The terrible poverty and the former government’s oppression completely abolished social justice and outward peace in that dark year. Bolivia’s reality in 2003 was as if we were seeing Jesus Christ carrying his own cross on his way toward Golgotha.
Despite this situation, the peace and justice sewn in the Bolivians’ hearts remained. For instance, Bolivian Friends participated in the recovery work by starting new educational and peacemaking programs the next year. I recall that we, Friends, from various Bolivian Friends Yearly Meetings, eagerly had our first Alternative to Violence Project (AVP) introductory workshop, sponsored by Bolivian Quaker Education Fund at the INELA Friends church building, in the city of La Paz. Answering God’s calling, Young Adult Friends, teachers who worked at Friends Schools, and pastors attended the workshop in 2006 to be trained as AVP facilitators. Praised be the Lord! Now Friends facilitators are working as instruments of peace in Bolivia and abroad.
Contributed by Emma Condori-Mamani, a Friend from Bolivia