Vaiba Kebeh Flomo was in San Diego on Tuesday, far from her home country of Liberia, but still her feelings summed up what most people, regardless of where they reside, thought.
“We have this mission in my home country that we celebrate on this day,” Flomo said.
Her words are tied to the possibility of peace, not just in her native land, but worldwide. On this particular day, Sept. 21, Flomo joined University of San Diego students, staff, faculty and administrators and local organizations to properly observe the United Nations’ International Day of Peace in front of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice’s Garden of the Sky.
Flomo, one of four 2010 IPJ Women PeaceMakers who began an eight-week campus residency with international female peacekeepers last week, was asked how she and others in Liberia traditionally mark this day.
“We dress in white, wear white gloves and we have a white flag to wave while we are thanking God, praying for peace in our land and we sing native peace songs,” she said.
The USD celebration began Tuesday in front of The Immaculata. Members of the university community followed the lead of Linda Vista-based San Diego Cooperative Charter School students serving as flag bearers for a peaceful march down to the IPJ. Once the marchers, numbering around 100, arrived, participants were greeted by the music of Raven’s Grace. Later, a moment of silence was observed and attendees had opportunities to learn about various USD, local, regional and international organizations that promote peace.
Fr. William Headley (pictured, right), dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, welcomed those gathered and spoke about the importance of the U.N. International Day of Peace and the need for this message to grow worldwide.
Flomo and her fellow peacemakers, Sarah Akoru Lochodo (Kenya), Merlie B. Mendoza (Philippines) and Nora Chengeto Tapiwa (Zimbabwe), were introduced at the event and greeted warmly.
—Ryan T. Blystone
Photo courtesy of Nick Abadilla