The Adventures of the Little Peacekeeper: An Interview
The Little Peacekeeper believes that we live in a world that needs a lot of small and big peacekeepers. We caught up with the little guy to ask him a few questions about what motivates him to travel the world and work on behalf of peacekeeping. The Little Peacekeeper is a photo project of Sebastian Rottmair.
What made you decide to become a Little Peacekeeper?
That’s a long story. I have been traveling to different places for quite some time and I noticed that there are so many great people all over the world. Then, in January 2010 the Haiti Earthquake happened. I was shocked. Many people in Haiti were affected and I was worried that a country that already didn’t have it easy in the past would now have to cope with a natural disaster of this magnitude. I was also sad since many of my friends and colleagues were affected by this catastrophe, and I felt that we all need a little peacekeeper from time to time. Since there was nobody to do that job, I decided to become the Little Peacekeeper.
Where do you live and how can I learn more about you?
I travel a lot and I feel at home in many places on this great earth! You can follow my adventures on the web here.
When did you become the Little Peacekeeper?
Not that long ago; I started my training on February 6th 2010. Here is the very first report of my journey.
Can you describe what training was like? Was it difficult?
Well, almost everything seems challenging at first but once you start, things work out fine. To be the best at my work I could be, I did a lot of physical training. You can see me work out here. But I had to learn a lot of other things, too and as I travel the world I keep discovering new things.
How often do you travel?
Well, I end-up traveling quite a bit. It’s exhausting and very nice, at the same time. If you follow my adventures online you will see that I have been to many different places. The great thing is that I’m the Little Peacekeeper, so I’m quite easy to carry for my colleagues. I feel honored that I have so many great friends that take me along on their travels!
Where did you just return from?
What are some of your favorite places you’ve visited and why?
I had wonderful experiences in all the places I have traveled to. So it is really hard to choose. Haiti is a country I feel very much connected to, as that’s where the idea of me was born. To see me at work in this very special place go here.
Another very special place for me is Banda Aceh, Indonesia. This is also a place that has seen horrible natural disasters and much destruction and suffering. Have a look at this boat crashed into the roof of the house some 4km away from the coast to get a sense of the devastation caused by the 2004 tsunami.
Describe an interesting and inspiring person you’ve met recently while being on mission.
This is a hard question as there are so many inspiring people around the world! And people are always so happy to meet me and tell me about their lives and work. But to stay in Banda Aceh for a moment, I met many very optimistic and forward looking people there – you can see some friends of mine on the picture. The picture was taken in the Banda Aceh Tsunami museum – a place dedicated to the memory of the many lives lost in the tsunami catastrophe.
What are the biggest challenges you face as the Little Peacekeeper?
I think the biggest challenge for me is to remind people to never let go of their aspirations and ambitions for the greater good in this world. Many of the people I meet and work with struggle with the fact that sometimes, the changes they’d like to see result from their work do just not come quick enough. And sometimes that leads to discouragement and even cynicism. We all have these moments and those are the moments I’m there for: the times when we need a Little Peacekeeper, who encourages us not to give up, to pat us on the back gives and helps us see the light at the end of the tunnel.
What do you hope to achieve as the Little Peacekeeper?
I would like to get some smiles on people’s faces, especially those of my colleagues working in the development / aid / humanitarian / peacekeeping community. If I manage that, I achieved a lot. If every now and then I succeed in highlighting a good or interesting piece of work and get people interested in a foreign culture or place I’m all happy.
What place would you like to visit that you haven’t yet? And why?
I’m very grateful to have travelled to all the places I have seen so far! But I’m really curious to see more, and one place I would love to see is Antarctica. I’m concerned that we as humans, through our actions around the globe, will have a negative impact on even the remotest of all places; I’m talking about climate change! Seeing the magnificent white voids of Antarctica must be deeply impressive, but at the same time an urgent wake-up call to act.
Who is your hero?
That’s an easy question – former Secretary-General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjold is a true hero to me! And if you want to get to know more about him, read his diary called “Markings.”
* All photos are attributable to Sebastian Rottmair