Discover the work of PeaceIN!
PeaceIN projects have been the reflection of harmony amongst national and/or religious groups. One of our long-range goals is to create Peace Parks on national borders. Additional photos are available upon request.
HOW IT BEGAN
In July of 1998 I attended my first service project in Honduras, not knowing at the time that this would become my life’s work. Lacking experience, I prepared for the project thinking about how I, as an American, would go to this poor, unfortunate nation and serve the poor, “ignorant” people. (I’m afraid at that time I equated poor with ignorant.) I felt good about myself because I was going to substantially help people in need.
In Honduras we were cleaning a community, which had been devastated by Hurricane Mitch – a storm that took the lives of over 20,000 people and whose floodwaters destroyed every bridge in the nation. In the community of El Sappo where we worked, many of the local children were actively helping us but it is an experience with a particular, nameless nine-year-old boy that proved truly unforgettable.
It was easy to see that this child was an eager worker. Instead of steadily pushing the wheelbarrow, he ran enthusiastically with it. While he was running, the wheel fell off the much-used piece of equipment. Seeing this mishap, I instantly thought to myself, “Great, now the wheelbarrow is broken and we have to buy another.” While I was caught up in my own complaints, my young friend was busy scanning the ground. He quickly spotted a bit of wire, re-secured the wheel and took off again, with no time lost. THAT was a profound moment for me – an epiphany. “So, who is the ignorant one now?” I had to ask myself.
It was at that moment that I began to realize how little I knew about the world and about peoples’ different situations and perspectives – that it is only through experience that we can understand others and create real peace. If we aren’t making effort to understand the “other” person, culture, religion, environment and/or situation, we are simply judging others from our own narrow perspective. The old Native American adage shares, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.” On that day, working with this young Honduran boy, I stepped into his worn, torn shoes and caught a picture of his life.
I learned through my experiences that we are all equally granted talents, intelligence and strength. Though we are born into many different environments, we each have the responsibility to develop as we are meant to uniquely develop. Every new experience, every new person we meet and every new thing we learn brings us closer to our true self and adds to our ability to relate to the larger world.
I discovered that through working, serving, and creating together I’ve been enriched and have developed friendships, and have learned to better love the peoples of the world. My experience working in this Central American community helped set into motion my dedication over the next 17 years to serve. This commitment has brought me to nearly 30 nations offering a helping hand and a caring heart.
To be truly effective though, it is important to do things we are passionate about. Since I am passionate about art, during the last five years I began incorporating art into the service projects with the understanding that physical assistance or sustenance is not the only need in this world; sometimes people simply need a spiritual message of hope. What greater way to express hope than through the universal language of the Arts – a language that touches the heart and emotion of the recipient?
For many years I have embraced a dream, a vision of a world united by a universal appreciation of different cultures, a peaceful world composed of individuals relating as members of one human family. It occurred to me while working in South America that there is in fact only “One America,” which is divided by the fears and misunderstanding in our own minds and otherwise represented by the invisible borders that delineate North, South and Central America. I strongly feel that, before we can achieve a “united world,” we should make every effort to reconcile with our own neighbors to create “A United America” – thus, the defining concept of this Park and this project. Please begin to take this journey with me and other like-minded individuals to accomplish the realization of the Honduras Peace Park Project.
[One project in 2005]
The project included cooperation of participants representing 5 religions creating a mosaic on a Mosque. The design was a composite drawing of Muslim children's art work.
[TWo projects in 2007]
Participants from four countries built a mosaic wall at a neighborhood senior center and a nearby kindergarten. The mosaic design was created by the senior citizens and executed intergenerationally.
[TWO PROJECTs IN 2008]
International service group, Youth Service Initiative, guided local Muslim and Dutch children in the making of a peace park. Through the activity, the children left with a better understanding of their unity and diversity.
New Jersey, USA
Students from Montclair State University and other universities, under the banner of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles, organized a mosaic project on the campus of Montclair State University. The project was the beginning of the development of a mini peace park.
NEWARK, New Jersey USA
August 30, 2008
This project included inviting the athletes, sports staff and community members attending a charity sports event to join in creating a mosaic which was designed to be a gift to the local St. Peter’s Recreation Center in Newark.
[Two projects; 2013 and 2014]
In two projects, North Americans and Hondurans united to design and create mosaic murals. The theme of the 2014 project guided the activities, “its not about the pieces, it’s how they work together.”
NutLey, New Jersey USA
A cultural exchange project took place between young people from Honduras and Nutley, New Jersey, USA. Honduran students taught USA students the art of making the traditional "alfombra" - sawdust carpet.
tela, honduras peace park
December 2016- January 2017
This project was part 1 of a three year initiative. Participants laid the foundation work to create a Peace Park - designed and built by young people from North, South and Central America, representing their solidarity. The theme of this project was "Only One America/Una Sola America"
tela, honduras peace park
This project was part 2 of a three year initiative. Participants continued working to create a Peace Park - designed and built by young people from North and Central America, representing their solidarity. The theme of this project was "Only One America/Una Sola America"
United Nation, New york city
A cultural exchange project took place between young people from Honduras and Nutley, New Jersey, USA. Honduran students taught USA students virtually via computer the art of making the traditional "alfombra" - sawdust carpet. This project was in cooperation with the Permanent Mission to Honduras at the UN - in celebration of United Nations Day.