New volunteers arrive in the PBI Colombia project every few months so we spend time running training workshops to help them learn their roles within the team. Continuous training is very important for field volunteers, so we'll also take part in regular training workshops.
After a long hard day's work, we join the farmers for the evening meal. They need a lot of sustenance to replenish their energy; often we'll eat rice, lentils, fried plantain and every now and then there will be meat.
After dinner, the rest of the evening will be spent talking, listening to a battery-powered radio or playing dominoes around a candle. In many of the Peace Community hamlets there is no power. We adapt to the farmers' routine and since their working day is from sunrise until sunset, we go to bed early in order to get enough sleep before the sun rises. Depending on the space available in the community, we will either pitch a tent or sleep in a hammock with a mosquito net. The air is fresh and cool and the only sound is crickets and the odd farm animal, except when there are military flights overhead. Reminding us of the armed conflict which threatens such a peaceful community.
The people that we accompany in Colombia are real life heroes. They are people who try to live in peace in the middle of an armed conflict, who stick up for the most vulnerable members of society and who take on cases of injustice despite the death threats, persecution and defamation that they receive.”
Find out how you can become a PBI volunteer
Listen to PBI talking on Radio 4
This article was published in June 2014.