Falling In Love With Life

Children's Movement For Peace


Marissa Ott and Miranda Monyak

Beginning his life

Beto lives in La Libertad, a very poor community, in Medellin. Beto's brother was scared that gangs would come and kill him so he left the community. Fredy, Beto's brother got into gangs and drugs at age 27. A lot of families are like Beto's, either you end up in a gang or in the war. Gloria, a friend of Beto's mom, was baby sitting Fred one day while the mom was at work. When Beto's mom came to pick him up one day, Gloria said she was keeping Fredy from her. Gloria's husband came at her with a machete. Everyone piled guilt onto the mom so she started having a drinking problem. At this time of his life, Beto wanted to make a change for himself. Beto's mom brought in a boy named German to live with them. German was beginning to steal from neighbors and Beto's family. Soon after he was arrested and he went to the Bella Vista jail.

Troublemaker at times

Beto began to be a trouble maker in school. He was calling his teachers names like "Crazy Fang" and he was disrupting the class all the time. He would shove cockroaches in kids faces also. He even dropped books on purpose and laughed out for no reason. Beto's mom started to beat him often. Beto was praying to god a lot and he knew that his life would change!

Getting Better

When German was still in prison Beto became an altar boy at the church of San Francisco de Assisi. Church gave him a way out of violence at home. Beto met a girl named Maritza who was also an Altar at the church. She didn't like Beto at first, but eventually they ended up working together in the Church and in the community with kids. When Alberto (the organizer of the Corporation Regional) told Beto about the Children's Movement of Peace had been formed, Beto joined it. After that, groups of seed-beads for peace sprung up all over the community. Beto was able to vote the day of the mandate.

Quotes from Beto

Trying again

Six weeks later, after the Mandate, everything in Medellin seemed to stop. There was no more new and important information about the Children's Movement from other countries. At 13 years old, Beto decided to help others who lived in violent homes. People gave Beto information about the new laws going out protecting and supporting women who got abused. Since Beto was an Altar boy, people were seeking him out and trusting him partly. Beto's family wasn't giving him support, they made fun of him and were rude about what he did. He got criticism from his family but his neighbors where there for him. Since the Movement was not a success they got hundreds even thousands of kids from schools, and youth organizations to join.

Happy Ending

By 2000 a lot more people were involved in some kind of community based peace activity, than probably anywhere else in the country. When German got out of jail he started to beat Beto and his sister again. German would destroy their clothes and threaten them with knifes. Beto's mother finally realized what German was doing to them so she kicked him out of the house. ¨You used to be such a brat but look at you now! You are still a kid, but you think like an adult.” Beto's mother said. At 16 years old, He helped his mother get money to get food for their family. Beto also helped her get through her alcoholic problems.¨I believe that if children grow up knowing and respecting their rights if parents, teachers, and all adults respect and protect the rights of children, then we will transform our communities. We could even end war.¨ said Beto.