The story of International Peace Initiatives is a great story. It is about RECLAIMING wastelands. When I think of my work with International Peace Initiatives (www.ipeacei.org), I recognized that I had built the Amani Community Children’s Home (ACH) for orphans in a space called ‘rocky, unproductive, barren, and forsaken for it had nothing to offer.’ It was land meant for a cattle deep (which are not dug anymore). Community land that was deserted and left for bushes to overgrow - abandoned. Then I thought of the orphans and vulnerable children I take care of and the women living with HIV/AIDS I work with. They too are a form of wasteland – people who are marginalized, abandoned, ‘othered,’ stigmatized and discriminated against because they are orphans who lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. Similarly, the women living with HIV/AIDS have experienced discrimination and stigmatization because of their status. Many of them have been evicted from their matrimonial homes and live in slums. They and their children are always on the edge, not knowing how long their mother will live, not sure they will get the next meal or money to pay their next term’s school fees.
We also have societal wasteland. We as a society have chosen to turn the other way so that we do not see the suffering of orphans and widows. We have chosen to not build a world where equity and equality for social justice reigns. The institutions and systems we have put in place exclude, instead of INCLUDE. We have forgotten the example of Jesus – to love the poor amongst us.
In our lives, our bodies are another form of wasteland. Our bodies have been deserted by us through our actions that have devalued who we are as children of God and the human family. Through greed, selfishness, corruption, moral decay, lack of integrity, respect, compassion and love, we have abandoned and neglected our bodies and these places are crying for attention and release, just like Mother Earth is crying for attention and release at this time. Many things have caused our ‘woundedness,’ both external and internal, from ourselves. Our bodies are ‘place’ that we have discriminated against and stigmatized, causing dis-ease. This woundedness has manifested in the devastation of our Mother Earth too. We have the responsibility as human beings to recognize we are part of the healing of the whole – humans and Earth – because we are intricately inter-connected with Earth, Cosmos and humans. Our actions as human beings will either make or break our Earth, and ourselves as the human family.
For healing of our bodies and the earth, we are being called to RE-CONNECT with, RE-CLAIM and RE-MEMBER our Highest Self. Our Highest Self IS the Light and Love of the Divine in us. Once we re-connect with this Light (GOD), we light our woundedness and the illumination of our wounds by the Light brings healing. Love (GOD) is the path to the healing of the Whole – us and the Earth. The healing of our bodies IS the healing of Mother Earth. CO-CREATING the healing of ourselves and Earth together in RELATIONSHIP in COMMUNITY is the gift each one of us is INVITED to offer today. Let us BE PRESENT to NOW by allowing Light and Love to be our guiding presence every moment.
The Amani Community Children’s Homes (ACH) and the women’s groups IPI has created are such spaces. We reclaim deserted land and people and give them an opportunity to RE-CLAIM themselves, to RE-MEMBER themselves, to RE-BUILD their confidence and self-esteem. We offer a space for them to KNOW who they REALLY are again so that they can claim their rightful place in this world as true and worthy members of the family of God, Mother Earth and humanity.
We however, do not work alone. We invite other like-minded people from around the world to come and co-create, co-reclaim, and co-reconfigure and co-remember with us so that together we may transform these spaces in our lives, that of our families and communities. And that is where local and international partnerships come in!!