Peace Caravan 2012 – The Final Report

Here you can finally find the report of the Peace Caravan 2012:

Peace Caravan Report

The Peace Caravan took a lot of hours and energy, but it was worth every step of the way and we are very content with the outcome and look forward to future projects hopefully with the partners, supporters and volunteers involved in the Peace Caravan. Without the contributions of these people the Caravan would not have been possible!

We thank especially Sylvie Gosme for the fantastic coordination of the PC in many months of the preparation, which later Matteo Testino from the team took over. Also we thank the office of SCI Germany which gave John Myers from the team the space and support to apply for the funding of the PC and coordinate a great part of the project from there.

We thank the interns hosted by SCI Germany who supported with logistics – Andrea Haas, Rebecca Grübel and Marina Orlova. We also thank all branches and partners of SCI mentioned in the route for their excellent hosting of the volunteers. Also we wish to thank Eeva Lindstrom and Lulzim Bucolli for each stepping in as trainers in trainings.

And finally we thank all 27 volunteers for travelling with the PC and spreading the message of the NMW team, which became their own message as well – being creative, organized, motivating and working together as teams. Two of these volunteers also thankfully wrote this report together with Valerie Weidinger and Matteo Testino from the team – thank you Tomasz Pyszko and Amanda Ní Ghabhann.


Training for Route 1
Route 1 on rails
Peace discussions of Orthodox and Catholic priest
Step by step the banner is created by volunteers and locals.
Peace Caravan in Kuterevo, Croatia
Peace Caravan participants holding the banner in Novi Sad
Karavan Mira - The last day of route 1 - Sunny Novi Sad
The volunteers of route 2
Workshop with children in Novi Sad
Volunteers of Route 2 collect signatures
Route 2 visits Plementina where coal plants pollute the more high above EU health limits
The Peace Caravan reached the Alps
Route 2 enjoys Austria
Route 3 volunteers help at workcamp
Route 3 in Hungary
Route 3 Invitation at the One World Festival in Great Britain
Route 3 in Antwerp
Route 3 collects signatures for the Peace Manifesto
The Peace Caravan Route 4 people meet John
Route 4 visits a workcamp in Germany
Peace Caravan in Cologne
Route 4 participants talk with refugees in Rome
Peace Caravan Route 4 embarked to Barcelona
Route 4 in Girona
Route 4 and Peace Caravan have a blast at the end in Barcelona

 

 

 

 

 

Peace Caravan 2012 finished

Hello to everyone,

the PC is now over and, as you can imagine, all members of the Peace Caravan team are exhausted and now trying to recover from this monumental venture. That is why we now need your help and support! When we say that PC is over, it is not really, because now begins the time of evaluation, reporting and elaborating future plans.

The NMW team will organise an international seminar in Halle in November to analyse the PC in all its aspects, and from 24/25 November the NMW team itself will meet to evaluate the project. Some PC volunteers and PC hosts already sent us their reports, but others did not (yet). In order that we can obtain as complete a picture as possible, it would be great if those who did not yet give their feedback send it to val_weidinger@yahoo.com at least one week prior to the meeting.

And of course if anyone would like to support, propose new ones or be involved in future NMW activities, please do not hesitate to indicate that too! Last not least, we would like to thank the Peace Messenger Network, in particular Sylvie Gosme, for the valuable support with the PC, as well as our main funders: the EYF (Council of Europe), SCI CH and all private donors!

Many thanks and greetings to all,
John on behalf of the NMW team

Peace Caravan 2012 – The last day : (

It has been almost two weeks since the Peace Caravan ended, and I’ve been asked to write the final days blog. I guess I’ve been putting it off, as it is really difficult to put into words the feeling, when an experience so amazing and filled with emotion comes to an end.
Our final day, was always going to be a busy day, evaluation, party prep, Daily Views on Peace Photo Exhibition, Peace Jam and of course the final party : 0  The guys at SCI Cat have worked unbelievably hard and the final day showed just how much team work and effort went into their preparations. We had a lovely relaxing evaluation on the university grounds, looking at our journey, it was a really nice way to reflect on just how much was achieved during Route 4. We took time to acknowledge the difference we can make, and repeating aloud, to another person, the phrase ” If you and me just  ……………… we can change things” . Writing a letter to ourselves gave us a chance to look at our own contribution and ideas and plans for the future. Finally personal envelopes let us send messages to all of the volunteers and PC participants.

 

 

 

Everyone worked really hard to get things ready for the final party, with many SCI volunteers from the Peace training in Scotland and previous Peace Caravan routes, arriving in Barcelona to help us celebrate the success of a really wonderful project. The Peace Jam kicked off the night, with music, singing and, as always, dancing, dancing, dancing, we even had a little dance lesson from Jordi! We paused from the party briefly as Deniz read aloud a very sweet message from the No More War team:

“IT HAS BEEN AN AMAZING PROJECT, 13 BRANCHES AND 27 PEACE CARAVAN TRAVELLRS. OVER 100 PEOPLE THOUGHT AND HELP STRUCTURE THIS PROJECT, AS NMW TEAM WE WORK AS HARD AS ANY OF OUR PREVIOUS SCI EXPERIENCE. WE NEVER IMAGINE WE COULD ALL ACHIEVE SO MUCH TOGETHER. THERE IS NO SINGLE LEADER AMONG ALL THE PEOPLE WHOM TOOK PART IN THIS PROJECT THAT’S WHY, ALTHOUGH I UNDERSTAND YOU DISAPPOINTMENT I AM HAPPY THERE IS NO MEMBER OF NMW TEAM IN BARCELLONA. IT’S NOT “OUR TEAM” ACHIEVEMENT AND SUCCESS AND NONE OF US CAN CLAIM OWNERSHIP… IN AFRICA THERE IS A SAYING THAT GOES… “IF YOU GO ALONE YOU GO FAST IF YOU GO TOGETHER YOU GO LONG”…. WELL THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FROM EVERY PARTICIPANT TO EVERY LOCAL VOLS AND STAFF THAT PUT THEIR BEST EFFORT, THE PEACE CARAVAN WILL BE A PROJECT THAT WILL BE TALKED ABOUT FOR A LONG TIME… YOU ALL MADE POSSIBLE AND REAL A CRAZY IDEA… AND THIS SHOULD SERVE AS A CONCRETE REMINDER THAT OUR EVEN “CRAZIER DREAM” NO MORE WAR IS POSSIBLE… WE ALL JUST TOOK A STEP TOWARD THE RIGHT DIRECTION… PLEASE KEEP WALKING WHEN THIS WILL BE OVER… LET’S GO LONG TOGETHER INTO PEACE”
MATTEO TESTINO
ON BEHALF OF THE NMW AND PEACE CARAVAN TEAM

 

The participants of route 4 were inspired by these words and made the most of our final night together as a group. The spirit of the Peace Caravan was captured in the magical atmosphere amongst everyone who shared the night with us. It carried on into the early hours of the morning, just long enough to say a sad farewell to the first PC4 departures : ( the tears carried on throughout the next day and night until the Caravan was no more.
It has been almost two weeks since the Peace Caravan ended, and only now am I beginning to see the learning and impact of its journey. One of my fellow participants told me, during an emotional farewell, that you never know when people will meet again. I’m sure we will not meet everyone we have had the pleasure of crossing paths with, however, sometimes one meeting with a person is enough to leave a mark forever.

 

On behalf of Route 4, we would like to thank SCI Germany, Italy and Catalunya, the No More War Team, the people of the many workcamps we visited and everyone else along the way! Thank you for a life changing experience : ) . I hope another Peace Caravan is in the future, and many more people have this same amazing opportunity. We leave you with the following quote

 

“The end of a melody is not its goal: but nonetheless, had the melody not reached its end, it would not have reached its goal.”           – Friedrich Nietzsche

 

All our love, Goodbye for now, Alex, Amanda, Anna, Aylin, Femi, Katya, Mina and Oksana xxx

Last Night in Roma

Our final evening in Rome was really exciting as we would be joined by 20 volunteers who are preparing to visit Palastine for the olive harvest this year. We exchanged information on our workcamps, over a lovely dinner prepared by the workcamp participants. They invited us to join in an evening skype call which took place between the preparing volunteers and some volunteers currently staying in Palastine, also the farmer with whom they would be working. It was really interesting to hear a bit of the history and what awaits the volunteers during the olive harvest. Sounds like a super project : )

Our time in Rome was coming to an end, our Italian expert Katya made sure we would not leave without seeing the most important sights. So she gave us a final city tour, from the vatican to the Collesseum and we set off by train to Civitavecchia port, where a 20 hour ferry ride awaits ………. : )

 

………….. Our “ferry” turned out to be 20 hours of comfort and relaxation. 3 bars, a pool, a shower, sun, sea, Sardinia and endless music. Thank you john! We of course used our time well, we researched, we debated, we brainstormed, and finally we have compiled a vital resource for workcamps . . . . . The PC 4 playlist is ready:

 

 

 

 

Stupid Cupid – Connie Francis
I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas
Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
Pencil Full Of Lead – Paolo Nutini
You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry
Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
Pump It – The Black Eyed Peas
Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet
I Can’t Dance –
Zobra Greek –
Why´s Everybody Always Picking On Me – Bloodhound Gang
Song 2 – Blur
Rhythm Of The Night – Cascada
La tortura – Shakira
Pretty Fly For A White Guy – Offspring
Ghostbusters – Ray charles
Lollipop – The Chordettes
Mr Sandman – The Chordettes
Minas Song – PC4 ( can only be heard live and in person, on request)

Happy listening ; )

Girona

Yesterday we visited a workcamp in Girona. The 5 volunteers and their co-ordinator Ingrid are preparing for an upcoming poetry festival. Today we will have an city tour and then host the final workshop of Peace Caravan 2012, on the theme of “Peace”, of course.

 

Girona is beautiful and it was wonderful to spend the day with the workcamp volunteers and also the SCI Catalunya staff. We strolled through the streets of the historical Jewish Quarter, and had a fabulous picnic in the park. finally it was time for the workshop. We began with a silent discussion, as the feedback for this activity was very positive at the last workshop, ¨What is Peace?¨. We then used The Chair Game from the toolkit and used a drama activity to explore the themes of the Peace Manifesto.

We had some great discussions and really interesting performances. Feedback was extremely positive, and we are really happy to have made the trip to Girona : ) Best of luck with the Festival guys!

 

 

 

Today will be filled with last minute things, an Evaluation and preparing for an awesome final party, tonight. We will let you know how it goes, as soon as we can…….

For now, PC4 will be enjoying the final day of The Peace Caravan with the wonderful people of SCI Catalunya woohooo : )

Day of Catalunya

The 11th of September is a big day for catalaunian people: on the “dia de la catalunya”, the catalunians go on the street to voice their request for independency. We were very excited to witness this event this year! The SCI team planned to take advantage of the masses of people in the street to carry out a “human library” with us. The idea is simple: humans become books and can be “read” by other people. They first decide on a title and three key words that will be visible in the catalogue of thr library. People who pass by can then look at the catalogue and decide, which book they want to borrow. After a 15 minute conversation, they give the book back and have hopefully learned some new things, gained some insight in someone else’s life and maybe challenged their stereotypes about this person. But today was not to be the day of the human library… Though the city was full of people, they were more interessted in walking around and looking at many stands than in taking some time for a personal conversation. Nevertheless, a few people came, and in the end the SCI team just “read”, so we had the chance to get to know eachother better and to grow closer together. We also took the chance to do what the PC can do best: collect signatures for the manifesto!! : )

After enjoying a picnic in a nearby parc, we made our way to the manifestation. Over a million people were expected… We decided that we wouldn’t go there as the Peace Caravan because we felt that we didn’t know enough about the conflict and that the struggle for independence and nation- building conflicts with our main message “no borders for peace”.  When we got out of the metro, we almost drowned in the mass of people and yellow and red flags. But we went there as private persons because we didn’t want to miss this important event, after all it is an example of a non-violent mass protest! And it was indeed very impressive! Thousands of people shouting “in… Inda… Independencia!” and holding up banners, requesting the right to determine their affairs by themselves, without the control of the spanish government. After walking with them for some time, we went to the arc de triunf, where we enjoyed a live concert with catalan music. A great ending of a great day, that allowed us an insight in the “catalan way of life”.

 

…I guess our dreams tonight will be all in yellow and red! : )

Barcelona Divas

We all made our seperate journeys back to the SCI office, our first activity was “Sudistan”. This is a simulation activity designed by SCI Belgium, where the particioants are the leaders of their own countries and must take measures and make decisions to improve the economy in their country. Speculation, trial and error and lots of debates later, again real life similarities became obvious. We sat in the sun reflecting on the activity, the outcomes of the game and the way we can contribute to fighting qlobal inequalities by changing our everyday live behavior.

We had a little “Diva moment” when we asked the SCI team if we could all stay in the same accomodation instead of sleeping seperately in the homes of local volunteers. We really appreciated the efforts they made for giving us a more comfortable place to sleep (real beds, can you imagine??), but we felt like we really needed to stay together as a group. The incredible Clara and the team made that possible for us, so we could sleep all together in the SCI office. Dear SCI team and hosts, we want to thank you very very much for all you did for us!! We love you! After lunch, we went on an alternative city tour and explored the parts of Barcelona that are not so well known.  Our guide told us about the impact the spanish civil  war had on Barcelona and we had the chance to visit a bunker that was used during the bombing of the city. Hearing about this tragic chapter of the country’s history reminded us again of the importance of our struggle for s more peaceful world. After the visit of of the bunker, our guides took us to a hill, where we enjoyed an incredible view over the city. After a late dinner we ended the day chillig at the terrace of one of the local SCIs, enjoying the beautiful view and talking and singing catalan, english, nigerian and international songs until late at night. So I will end this post with the following lyrics of a never ending earworm:

“one man went to the moon, went to moon and mellow…” : )

A Catalan Welcome

Peace Caravan arrived into Barcelona ferry port, very relaxed, this would soon change. We were greeted as we stepped off the ship to, what can only be described as, the most amazing welcome EVER, or so we thought : ) a large banner welcoming us to Catalunya, a camera crew, and lots of cheering, which was echoed by lots of other ferry takers at the port. Our relaxed state changed to hyper excitement, we got lots of attention, from anyone around and snapped up the opportunity to promote our manifesto and show off our banner : ) we jumped into the crowd of people and got chatting. Alex and Borja also had time to fit in a short interview with the press; click on the link below to see Alexs best Catalan accent.

We had to take a short shuttle bus out of the port where we would rejoin our new hosts again. As we exited the gates, the amazing welcome we had received previously was amplified, literally, through a megaphone. Many more people who could not get into the port were also there to greet and welcome us. It was such a phenomonal feeling to be met at our final destination, and the last stop of Peace Caravan 2012, with bundles of enthusiasm and warmth. The catalan welcome didnt end there, we were taken to the office where dinner awaited us. We had time for a nice relaxed drink, getting to know everyone in SCI Catalunya, before heading off to our respective hosts homes for the evening.

What a day, ” 3 bars, a pool, a shower, sun, sea, Sardinia and endless music” and a welcome never to forget!!!!!!!

Heres the link http://www.xarxanoticies.cat/infolocal/noticies/article?id=1039643

“Discrimination”

Today we had a workshop with the participants of the Citta del l’Utopia workcamp. The topic of discrimination was a very passionate one, and brought many long and diverse conversations within the group. Starting with a silent discussion to get everyone thinking, followed by a moving debate giving participants the opportunity to voice their views and challenge or hear other opinions. Some great feedback during evaluation, showed that the workcamp volunteers were grateful for the mental stimulation and they continued discussions throughout the day.

 

We all spent the evening in Rome, enjoying the beautiful sights of the Collosseum, and much more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning we met with Douda, a refugee from Cote d’Ivoire. Translated into english by camp leader Alessandro, he told us the story of how he came to be in Italy. He gave raw and honest descriptions of his difficulties crossing borders and the working conditions he had to endure because of his illegal status. He spoke a lot about working on a farm, and the treatment he and other refugees receiveed regularly from their “employer” and the local people. (maybe more detail? Maybe not) At times the truth behind his words was difficult to swallow but a sharp reminder of why the Peace Caravan exists.

The following day we again had an opportunity to speak with another refugee from The Ivory Coast. He spoke a lot about the conflict in his country, and why he fled from there, without his family, who travelled with him to Ghana and remain there now . Just like Douda he had a long and tough journey to get to Italy, facing many terrifying barriers along the way. He spoke very openly about his arrival and the camp he was moved to as soon as he came to Italy. With great details he described the living conditions in the refugee camp, and his struggle for basic human rights. Fortunately, he received information from another man in the camp, who told him about Laboratorio 53, an organisation working with immigrants and refugees. They helped him to organise documents and recived legal status to live and work in Italy. He finished by telling us that he hopes someday the war in his country will end and he can return home with his family.

We were really fortunate to speak to people who have had real life experiences with the borders restricting movement in and out of Europe. Our message from street action resounded

” freedom of movement is a right, not a privilege”

Speak soon x pc4

From Germany to Rome

Tuesday september 4th and we say a very sad farewell to our home for the last 12 days. Thank you Koln and Germany, we will miss you. After a bit of a delay with our train to Munich, there was just enough time for lunch in the park and a foot soak at the pond before we took our overnight train to Roma! Imagine it, our seats were our beds, 6 people one cubicle, legs and arms everywhere, EVERYWHERE,  14 hours, lots of snacks, a little alcohol : ) and of course some cheeky paint attacks on some early sleepers, zzzzzz oops!

We arrived very tired and not so fresh to Rome, where we were met by our contact for the next 4 days Stavrola. She took us to meet the participant and leaders of La Citta del l’Utopia, the workcamp we would join during our stay in Italy. We soon learned that our accommodation plans had changed as the building had been ordered unsafe to stay in. 15 minutes away, waited an old abandoned sports ground and dog track, with our home lying in a bag with instructions attached. Camping in a squat in Italy : ) we had just enough time to build our castle and grab a quick shower before returning back to the workcamp to meet the other volunteers and exchange information on what we have been doing so far.

No rest for the wicked, we jumped straight into organising our next workshop which we will have tomorrow with the participants of the workcamp. “When in Rome do like the Romans” they say, so we treated ourselves to a traditional italian pizza : ) yum! Unfortunately the night ended with a little trip to the hospital, but thanks to our super doctor Mena, Katya is ok, and wears the bandage on her head beautifully