The 3rd annual Peace Justice and You(th) conference gave young people a head start in meeting the speakers, sharing ideas, listening, bonding and getting into the groove of the AID conference.
The day began with science experiments led by S. Gomathi of AID-India. She trains science teachers in Tamil Nadu to explain concepts through practical demonstrations and experiments using simple materials and everyday objects. Skillful gymnast Adrita (age 9) from Boston was surprised to find that even the simple feat of standing on one leg became a challenge when her other leg was against the wall. “What’s happening?” asked Gomathi after this and other similarly puzzling demonstrations.
The kids also practiced songs that have been part of movements for peace and justice, such as “Saathiyon Salaam” and “If I had a Hammer.” Adults joined in for the practice of Tagore’s classic “Ekla Cholo Re.” After lunch we did some composting, took an impromptu walk in the rain and then played some “Play for Peace” games in the park.
After drying off we reassembled for a listening circle. In a listening circle, we begin with some exercises that guide our minds to a calm and receptive state. We then go around the circle, each of us talking if we wish. When one person talks, others simply listen, without responding. Whatever is expressed in the listening circle stays in the listening circle.
Dayamani Barla and Dr. Aquinas Edasserry arrived in the evening and we gathered for a session called “Meet the Speakers.” Along with Kiran Vissa, an AID parent who is also an AID Jeevansaathi and conference speaker, each shared something about their work and children asked questions and shared ideas on such topics as conserving water, preventing malnutrition, and growing food.
Tanmay (age 10) from Hyderabad noted that while many urban homes use water purifiers, rural and tribal communities do not, and hence “we should not pollute their water, we should mind our own business.”
Here are some glimpses.