Emmaus Dover resident Sean travelled to Colombia on a solidarity trip hosted by Emmaus International, spending time at an Emmaus community based in Pereira which is home to 20 companions. Whilst there, Sean attended various workshops based on gender equality, waste management and inclusion.

The community in Pereira grow 90% of their own food including fruit and vegetables, as well as having their own livestock including cattle and chickens. Sean said:

“My favourite part of the trip was working on the agricultural part of it. They are so self-sufficient, and they do a lot of recycling and salvage work, they tend to not throw anything away. Being among the community was an amazing experience and seeing how much they do on a daily basis. I enjoyed planting the banana trees and knowing that in a years’ time they will be eating the very bananas that we planted!”

As well as helping with the agriculture, Sean also spent some of his time over there at an arts and craft workshop. The community in Pereira host this workshop once a week for women who are sex workers and offer them support as well as being an inclusive space for them.

Sean, who has been living at Emmaus for six years, said:

“Emmaus has done so much for me as a person and enabled to me to carry out acts of solidarity in small and big ways. I feel privileged to go and visit the Emmaus community in Colombia, especially being the only member representing the UK. There were people from India, Africa and Europe. Although we couldn’t all speak the same language, we learnt that we can still communicate and that set the tone for the week.”

Sean continued to say:

“It was a great learning curve going to the Emmaus community in Colombia. It’s interesting because we are all Emmaus, and we all have something in common regardless of where we are on the planet, we’re part of the same movement. We all have the same purpose which is to provide a home, work together and carry out acts of solidarity, no matter how big or small.”

“Now I try to do something for someone else every day. This often involves talking to rough sleepers around Dover to see if they need anything or want to come to the community for a bit of respite. It’s not for me to judge people, they are still human beings and they are in need. Its powerful for me to be able to do small things and have a positive impact on other people.  To help someone in a small way or even a big way and going to work to raise funds to help others. If I wasn’t in Emmaus I wouldn’t be able to that and it’s amazing for me on a personal level.”

To find out more about Emmaus Dover please visit https://emmaus.org.uk/dover/