My favourite sign in the botanical gardens in Bogota is about the potato. “After [insert six countries here], Colombia is the number one producer of potatoes in the world,” the sign proudly proclaims. While in Colombia, I have been to the highest vineyard in the world, the largest coastal desert mountain, the prettiest town in
I tell lies in taxis all the time. Instead of trying to explain that yes, a single Canadian woman is living and working alone, it is simpler to nod along to the assumption that I am happily married I knew things would be different, however, within three minutes of getting in a recent cab. Instead
The mood in the Bogota plaza was more sombre than excited during the ceremony marking the FARC’s final disarmament. There were a few balloons, flags, and the vegetable mandala folks, but everything felt muted in the face of uncertainty. Recent judicial decisions have challenged the government’s ability to rapidly implement the accords. Social leaders continue
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.
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
“For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy- a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what has once been ordinary life, only to discover that that previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated
Saturday was the 17th anniversary of Mampujan’s displacement and the massacre in Las Brisas. I sat in a coffee shop off the main square of Villa de Leyva and very slowly ate dessert, holding Mampujan to the light. Besides birthdays and Christmas, there are a whole new set of dates that now mark my life:
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
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
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.