After several months of sanitary restrictions by COVID19 and following the changes that are taking place in Argentina, the proposal arose to carry out a group service action with the members of the Light-Network Argentina. The location chosen to resume these actions was Resistencia, Chaco. Since 2016, Fraternity – International Humanitarian Missions (FIHM), has carried out different levels of humanitarian work with the communities of the Qom and Wichi ethnic groups. This work initiative was called Action Chaco because it was organized as a service task, reconnecting with the Qom communities and not strictly speaking as a “humanitarian mission.”
Thirty members of the Light-Network Argentina volunteered to participate in the service. They traveled to Resistencia, Chaco, and participated in person. Donations were also collected from all over Argentina. The group visited three well-known Qom communities: Cacique Pelayo, Puerto Tirol, and Costa Iné. In the three communities, they visited homes, gathered the children, and made games and puppets activities. Also, they surveyed needs for future interventions. Sharing and chatting with people that the Fraternity – Humanitarian Missions (FIHM) has assisted in previous opportunities. We also visited a Qom handicraft production center, handicrafts made of clay. Everyone was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the pieces.
It was an intense three-day event of internal work, heat, and mosquitoes, of laughs, games, and children. But also of discussions, of strengthening ties with the members of these communities. Jorgelina, who is a member of Mar del Plata, approached our work during the retreat and participated for the first time in a face-to-face service activity. She told us: Light-Network Argentina “it was my first participation, and it was an unforgettable experience. I was very touched by the fraternal and sincere brotherhood manifested in the meetings with our brothers and sisters of the Indigenous Communities. They were unforgettable impulses of love. I would like to emphasize the unity, the commitment, the harmony, and the internal joy we experienced as a group dedicated to this service.
Learning how to see with the eyes of the native peoples
A story of a collaborator from Buenos Aires:
A story of a collaborator from Buenos Aires: “It is 11 am on a Sunday in November 2021, 30°C of temperature, the sun is scorching, mosquitoes in abundance accompany us on our journey from the city of Resistencia, Chaco to the rural locality of Costa Iné where a small group of brothers of the Qom community live.
We are a group of collaborators of the Fraternity – Humanitarian Missions from different regions of Argentina, and visited the community to share some food, discussions, games with the children, etc.
There was already a group gathered outside the Community Center when we arrived. They were happy to see us, and we were also happy to see them. And in that very moment, two different worlds united in fraternity and in a smile.
They saw us and we saw them, trying to put aside our own preconceptions so that this encounter would be pure, healing, and productive. After getting out of the cars and greeting us, Juana Sanchez, the lady who runs the place, blessed us in her language and thanked us… thanked us for not forgetting them and for always coming back to visit them. In her eyes there was peace and in her prayer sincere gratitude. We felt very strongly in our hearts that when we worked in service in the communities of native peoples how important
it is to learn to see the world around us with the pure and peaceful eyes of our native brothers and sisters, we returned home with this gift.” (Tabor, collaborator of LIGHT-NETWORK ARGENTINA from Buenos Aires)
The next step light-network argentina
After these visits, the group met to reflect on the scope of the task, what each one felt and together brainstorm proposals for the next visits. All the conclusions of the group lead to the idea of focusing on generating long-term projects and not mere welfare actions. To be able to find the way and work together with these communities for sustainable development in some of the areas of action of the Fraternity – Humanitarian Missions.
We live with joy this process of discovering and learning step by step, how to help and improve our links with the communities of the native peoples of Argentina.