Category: colombia

Waiting for Everything

Going to jail is harrowingly boring. The evening before my friend Larisa goes to visit Jorge, I accompany her as she checks off the visiting requirements. Everything must be perfectly contained to get inside. We buy toilet paper, laundry soap, and fried chicken to pack into a transparent plastic container no bigger than four litres.

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May Day in Bogota

International Worker’s Day, or May Day, is a national holiday in Colombia. Across the country, workers and unions march to celebrate workers’ rights, and the long struggle of workers all over the world for dignified working conditions, especially in the late 19th century: “Eight hours to work, eight hours to sleep, eight hours for what

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Variations on a Vocabulary

There are still moments, as I pass families and small groups of friends in the park, that I catch my breath over snatches of conversation. It is all normal chatter: dinner plans, boy problems, family news. The miracle is in my effortless understanding of everyday Spanish: la cena, el tipo, la tía. A new language

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Convergence

The eye doctor told me I have a convergence problem at my last checkup. I couldn’t help myself: I burst into laughter. He looked at me sideways and spoke slowly, “Are you sure you understand me?” How do you explain to a doctor that convergence is a lifelong struggle that goes far beyond bringing eye

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Dear Youth of the Cities

The most powerful words published on this blog have never been mine. Rather, they belong to Colombians and express their desire for peace and justice in the midst of uncertainty and violence. From jail or in the midst of an armed shut-down, Colombian voices speak in defence of love, hope, solidarity, justice, unity and peace.

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Peace in the Street and the Time of Yellow Butterflies

The Justapaz office is adorned with yellow butterflies. On cubicle dividers, windows, walls and doors, they were the first thing I noticed when I walked inside this week, along with quote from the ever famous Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Tell Mauricio Babilonia to let loose the yellow butterflies in Macondo; the war is over.” My heart

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Hospitality, Boyasence Style

I have never felt so welcomed in a place as I did in Turmeque over the last MCC retreat. I have been been welcomed before all over the country, from Choco to Putumayo, but that welcome always seemed to include a sense of expectation, a reserve dependent upon my actions. Here, the only expectation was

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