COLOMBIA: “Butterflies, Babies, Birds, Bananas, and Bombs”



December 9, 2002

COLOMBIA: “Butterflies, Babies, Birds, Bananas, and


The following is a letter written by Lena Siegers to

her family and friends. It has been shortened for


Dear Family and Friends,

My days here in Colombia are coming to an end. These

last few months have moved along quickly with much joy

and sadness. As I leave here, there is no one to

replace me. Not because there are no volunteers but

because this war-torn country is not granting visas to

CPTers. We have folks in Canada and the U.S. waiting

for visas. It is with mixed feelings that I leave


If no more human rights workers are allowed into this

country, there will be thousands more displaced

people. The team says “no” many times to requests for

accompanying folks who are on death lists.

Amidst so much uncertainty, the butterflies, bananas,

and birds are prolific, and babies are born to enjoy

the colors and flavors. I have never seen so many

different kinds of butterflies and birds, and always

the tiny ones have the most intricate colors and

designs. The smaller bananas are sweeter and more

flavorful. The babies too, come in many shades of

chocolate, milk chocolate, and creamy complexions. . .

. All absolutely adorable. All born into the horrible

setting of a stinking war.

I wonder about these as I listen to the bombs, and as

I listen to the planes, and then the helicopters. Who

is being bombed now? They say they are ridding the

land of rebels and violators. Innocent civilians are

the necessary casualties in this flushing. Fear is

turned to laughter in order to cope. How soon will

those bombs come closer? Have they killed my brother

and sister who live over there?

. . . Young people in fear accept the available job of

carrying a huge assault rifle, with lots of shells

plus a pistol in their belt. Some have grenades and

launchers, some even rockets. Schools are not an

option since many are closed and cost money. Innocence

is lost at the murder of a fellow citizen they were

ordered to kill. They would die if they disobeyed.

Parents keep planting, harvesting, and worrying about

children and grandparents.

War stinks. War sucks. War destroys. We must protect

the innocence, the intricacies, the intensities of the

smallness of butterflies, babies, birds, and bananas.

Bigness destroys the flavor of being. When smallness

is protected, bigness benefits from realization. May

God help us attain realization. . . .


Read More Stories

Dozens of people crowd toward the entrance of a checkpoint, waiting for Israeli military to open the gate.

Privilege of movement

Basic freedom of movement in Palestine—walking to the grocery store, driving to visit family, or flying internationally—depends on your nationality, race, and religion. As a Palestinian, you are denied these rights as others in your country move freely.

A person wearing a red CPT vest walks along a road with the apartheid wall to their right, covered in graffiti and towering over them.

Dear White Supremacist

CPT Palestine team members engaged in a friendly and introductory conversation with a white person, but it took an unexpected turn.

a graphic image with large bold text reading FREE MORIA 6

After the 2020 fire in Moria

Six young migrants are made scapegoats of a failed EU migration policy – Call for fair and transparent trial for the Moria 6 on 6 March 2023 in Lesvos! 

Skip to content