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Seunghyun “Marisol” Kwon- Yang-pyung County, South Korea (English)

Hello! My name is Marisol. I live in a small village in Yang-pyung county in the north of Seoul, South Korea. My house is surrounded by trees and the stream flows just next to our place. In this season, the leaves of chestnut and fine needle trees are colored beautifully and are the sound of stream as well. I have a loving husband who supports and trusts me fully and two loving and appreciative children, Yebon and Dahoo. Also I have a dog named ‘ZZong-A’. I endeavor that what I learn and my life can accord as a peace educator. It never becomes easy but I try to practice it in my work.

This Friends Peace Teams trip to Indonesia seems like a big gift to me. As a peace educator, it will be a necessary learning and help me meet the students of public schools, after school programs and out of school youth. In addition, I would expect it to mean a lot when I meet their parents and teachers afterwards.

I work at Korea Peace Institute where my husband (also colleague) works. I work with students more than 3 times a week with the youth team of that organization. Also, I work with PEACE MOMO (a peace education organization) and meet student/parents/teacher groups. On Saturday, I save a date for spending time with my family but sometimes I participate in different workshops to educate myself. Since I live in a tiny village, my daily life goes slowly. Usually it would take more than 2 hours to go somewhere from my place so I can use time on the subway by reading books or being lost in thought.

There are one small elementary school and middle school in my village, from which of both my two children graduated. I have been a book reader to children once a week for 6 years. And I volunteer as a librarian once a week at the middle school that has no librarian. Meeting children is always very joyful for me. Also, I like having a talk over tea with someone. Just across my house, there is a peace organization called ‘The Frontiers’ for which my husband and I worked for past 20 years. In my village, members and friends of The Frontiers live together and I enjoy meeting them. 

I do and love peace education, which gives me strength. I live walking and sewing. So I join a sewing group meeting. I also love gardening in my front yard. This year I planted potatoes, peppers and garlic with my son.

I think we need to approach each person with renewed mind at a slow pace to meet a holy light inside them. It will take time and a lot of effort but in the middle, of course, I believe we gradually build peace little by little. I have experienced countless conflicts as I live in a community. Also, I have learned it needs a lot of support, care and education for a church, school and village to get through the difficulties. Therefore, I try to share what I have learned from my experience of building peace with different groups by holding a small workshop and dialogue to resolve school violence and conflict. Sometimes I work with kids at schools for restorative disciplines.

I think building peace should begin from a very tiny thing. Also it should sustain. In order for me to continue such challenging process, I have friends who support and trust me. A friend of mine, who has known me for a long time since I worked with The Frontiers, always encourages me at times when I move forward and even pause. This sense of solidarity is so precious to me.

What makes me feel hopeful and meaningful is ‘learning’ and ‘acting’. When I try to find nonviolent ways and act them out, and look for what to do for children growing up and seek wisdom and have a small try, I feel thrilled and hopeful. At this time, I come to feel expectant that we become more connected with one another and our life gets better.


December 2017