Changing the world together
Krista Autio a Finnish Theology MA student at the University of Helsinki. Krista have been the Global Networking Coordinator for WSCF-Europe since October 2015.
In the middle of August I had the chance to travel to the Alps of Northern Italy. My destination was Agape Political camps, which was organized in the historical Ecumenical Centre Agape in Prali. I was surprised that the camp was much more global than I expected. Often I meet merely European participants at ecumenical meetings, but this was something else. I was fascinated how many nations were represented from Latin America to Africa and Asia, and from Northern America to Europe and Middle East. Me as a representative of a Nordic country, had truly the chance to learn about the diverse realities that people were coming from.
The topic of the camp was migration. The most precious thing was to actually meet and listen the true stories of migrants around the world that had come to Europe. Being born in Europe is not a privilege Europeans have deserved or earned. It is a coincidence, but we like to think that Europe is somehow ours and our ownership should be respected by others, the outsiders, while Europeans have never respected the ownership of other continent’s inhabitants to their own land and culture. We talked how Europeans or Americans have experienced “migrant amnesia”, when it comes to critical evaluation of our own social history. Europeans and Americans have contributed heavily to the world disharmony, that is often the cause of migration directly or indirectly. Europe also likes to see itself as a victim of uncontrollable “refugee flux”. Europe fails to see, that actually the conflict countries or their neighbouring countries bear the biggest responsibility of displaced people.
Among lectures and workshops, we also had the chance to build friendships, dance and laugh. The most unbelievable experience for me, was to walk on the top of Lago Verde. I have newer hiked in the Alps and wasn’t expecting how hard it would actually be. After the first pit stop, we started to walk up very steep path. After a while I thought, that maybe I should turn back. Luckily I was walking with two new friends of mine from Pakistan and Uganda and they kept encouraging me to continue. I must have been the most irritating person to walk with, but they never left me behind. I have never experienced such loyalty!
For five and a half hours we were climbing up and waiting to see what’s on the top, and we made it! The route was very difficult for me, so the feeling of reaching the rest of the group at the top was incredible. It was one of the most amazing things I have done so far and it really taught me an important lesson to never give up. This is something I will cherish in my heart.
The friendly and wonderful atmosphere of the whole week was full of agape. People from different ethnicities and religions truly showed the willingness to come together and change the world together.