So several weeks ago now, Seeds of Peace and Seas of Peace came to help out at Pearson's Town Farm and Catherine's Cupboard! Seeds of Peace "is dedicated to empowering young leaders from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence." (their own words from their website http://www.seedsofpeace.org/.) Teenagers from Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Pakistan, India, and America start the program at a summer camp located in Otisfield, Maine and continue with year-round regional initiatives.
The particular groups that visited us were students who have already done one year of Seeds of Peace and were invited to do a second year. Seas of Peace are also students that were invited to return for a second year, but this new program would be operating on sail boats instead.
After a nice getting-to-know-you lunch at the Mercy Cafe, we went back to the farm and began working on different project.
Nice introductory talk and splitting up into groups.
One group repaired a raised bed that are used so that wheelchair bound people can garden too!
Another group worked the pumpkin patch.
Go, Seeds of Peace, Go!
My group repaired a fence. They were completely awesome, especially because I had never repaired a fence before or done anything with a fence before for that matter. But they jumped right in and made it beautifully.
Spending some time with the sheep.
This guy is awesome! That tiller is tough work, but he was a champ about it!
Oh yeah, and Pat was famous. Everyone held him at some point. My favorite story of the day was when the Seas of Peace kids first arrived and Pat came over to them. Farmer Myke invited our guests to play with the baby goat by saying, "Go on and pet him -- he's just like a puppy dog." To which one kid replied, "A puppy dog? Things are very different in American."
After a hard afternoon's work a water fight broke out.
It was ended with a super-bowl winner reenactment -- that is, they dumped a cooler of ice water on their leader.
This picture is just cool in my opinion.
After working on the farm, everyone climbed on the buses and headed over to Catherine's Cupboard. Everyone participated in a group discussion with Amy Russell, the Catherine's Cupboard Director. They discussed how the food pantry worked, all the programs that Catherine's Cupboard put on, and more. What I learned from the talk was just how special having things such as food pantries are. The teenagers told stories about how these types of services weren't offered in their home country. They talked about how pride would prevent people from utilizing these types of programs. Many left inspired to start these types of services in their home countries.
After the discussions the Seeds of Peace helped set up the pantry and worked it. They were able to meet with clients, talk with volunteers, and experience everything the Catherine's Cupboard family had to offer.
And then it rained! I've never seen such a large group of kids so excited about rain. When I mentioned this, they reminded me they lived in a desert. Instead of commenting on my lack of common sense moment, we all danced around in the rain. AND THEN...
There was a BEAUTIFUL double rainbow!
Standing in awe of the double rainbow.
When all was said and down, we cleaned up, put all the tables together, and feasted on pizza made by Bon Appetite.
It was good pizza!
At Kid' Corner, the kids colored peace signs and finished the sentence "What Peace means to me..." Most of them were really cute -- "it starts at home." "happiness and joy." "no more war." But the most powerful one was done by a Seed of Peace kid. The peace sign was only half colored and it said, "I didn't finish the peace sign because peace is not yet achieved."
This is Ben, one of the Leaders of Seeds of Peace. His picture is here because he is awesome and he has awesome long hair.
There are ten versions of this picture. This is the only one where one isn't walking out of or walking into the group.
It was an awesome day with a truly amazing group of kids. And the best part (in my opinion)? After I had returned to my room at the end of day, I sent my Dad and e-mail. My Dad is currently serving with the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan This is his second tour in the Middle East. I was so excited about the Seeds of Peace/Seas of Peace visiting us that I sent him an e-mail describing everything we did and all the insight I had over the day. My Dad replied to the e-mail the very next day and said that hearing about Seeds of Peace and what they are doing was a much needed moral booster. He said it was inspiring to hear about how the next generation is already working towards peace and he hopes that their efforts would help to end all wars.
So a big thanks to Seeds of Peace for sharing the day with us. You guys are awesome! We can't wait to work with you again in the Future!
~ all photos were taken by farm intern Alyssa.