This weeks post is brought to you by PP-NI International Fellow, Leif Frymire.
It was approximately 11.30pm Monday night. We had left the airport 15 minutes earlier. In the group chat with all the coaches and coordinators they were taking bets on when we would arrive to the hotel. At that same moment our van driver, using only hand gestures because he doesn’t speak english, hails Andrew and I out of the van to show us why we have stopped on the side of the highway. The trailer carrying all our luggage that was being towed behind the van has lost a tire. This was my response in the group chat…
Some context. From 18th to 25th June, PeacePlayers international sites came together for a week long basketball camp at the Rodon Hotel in Agros, Cyprus. Of Cyprus, Middle East and South Africa, Northern Ireland was the last group to arrive on Monday night. Well actually, Tuesday morning…
Our bus from Belfast left the Europa Centre at 5.30am (Belfast time) Monday morning. We flew from Dublin to Bucharest, Romania. 3 hours later we flew from Bucharest to Larnaka, Cyprus. We arrived at the Rodon Hotel approximately 1.30am Cyprus time, or 11.30pm Belfast time. Now back to the side of the highway….
Thankfully, our phone plans gives us coverage anywhere in the EU. Quickly we were on the phone with Steph, programme coordinator for PP-CY, and organiser of trip. Gave her an update. After it was clear what the van driver wanted us to do, we quickly moved all the suitcases into the van with us. Luckily there was enough room, just barely.
The van is on the move again with the trailer still being towed behind us. Another phone call with Steph, I hand the phone to the driver. A quick conversation, the phone is back to me. We have the trailer until we can find an exit to leave it off somewhere. 40mins later we’re at the base of the mountains. I see signs that show to expect 10 to 15 degree inclines. We’re basically crawling up the road at this point. The van is working real hard, or at least it sounds like it is. The journey up the mountain was probably just as long as the journey from the airport to the base, if not longer. It was approximately 12.30am when I had the thought for this blog post.
Our journey from Belfast was long. It was exhausting. It was complicated. Not everything went according to plan. There may have been more direct options, but they weren’t suitable. Despite all the challenges we experienced along the way, we eventually made it to our destination. I’ll argue it made the destination so much sweeter as well. The sense of relief having finally, truly arrived in Agros made the journey well worth it.
In many ways, one could say the same for the peace process.
To build peace takes time. There may be a clear direct route, but often that’s not an option nor is it sustainable. Sometimes you have to make concessions along the way. Other times you think you’ve finally arrived and nothing else can go wrong, but then you end up on the side of the highway with a flat tire. However, despite all the complications, despite the time it took, despite the frustration and stress it caused, you’ve arrived to your destination. In fact, during the time it took, the bonds formed may just have built stronger relationships. I believe this is to be true for all our PeacePlayers sites, both international and national.
During the week, a leader asked a group of kids at the dinner table, “what’s more important, the journey or the destination?” I leave that question to you…
Stay tuned for more details on an exciting week in Agros, Cyprus!