Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm

How does health care justice influence peace?

Teamwork! Everybody helps bury Mario!

Today we talked about the right to medical care and what it looks like when people do and do not have that right protected. We started the morning with a discussion of health disparities. A few campers volunteered to tell a story of a time they needed health care. A counselor wrote down many of the advantages present in the story on index cards (a hospital nearby, transportation, medical supplies, people who spoke your language, etc.) and the group removed several cards at random. Campers then had to try to retell the story without using the advantages on those cards. We are all vulnerable when we’re sick or injured, but those who most need their human rights held up are those who are most vulnerable (who have fewer cards).

We continued the conversation with an introduction to mental health care as one example of the right to medical care. We talked about how people with mental illness should not be dismissed as less than people or less than equal and how important it is to be open, raise awareness, and throw away stereotypes so that people who need medical care for mental illness are more likely to get it. To learn more about today’s focus topic, we got in the van and went up the road to Perry Wellness Center, home of Happy Patch flower and produce market and a center with many services for people with mental illness.

Perry is a place full of life, plants, flowers, colorful decorations, healing, and activity. Campers helped out by weeding tomato plants and shelling peas, hung out playing pool and volleyball, ate lunch provided by Perry Wellness Center, and participated in arts and crafts hour. We came away from the day with a sense of the equality of different people and the enormous need for wonderful places like Perry that provide needed care.

For the rest of the day our focus was on another article from the UDHR–the right to rest and leisure. We spent the late afternoon swimming and playing at Lake Blackshear. It was a beautiful, relaxing day, and we can’t believe how quickly the week is flying by!

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