I have seen, learned, and experienced more than I could have ever imagined in these last few days in Colombia. It feels like so much time has passed, but I am in love with the place that is called the second happiest place on earth, the place of magical realism, and a place that is misrepresented, misunderstood, and that I must return to. My time in Colombia has illuminated the beauty and blessings of my life. GRACIAS A LA VIDA!
On January 12, our first day in Colombia, we traveled from our base in Cota to Bogotá. In south Bogotá I did a handstand on a small hill with a cross, similar to Saint Mary's cross and hill. This hill is the crossroads of the major social and ecological issues: urbanization, garbage, poverty, pollution, U.S. intervention and globalization. All these issues are interconnected. On one side of this hill we see a prison built by the U.S. in accordance with the U.S. War on Drugs and the U.S. Drug War policy and intervention in Colombia, a Mexican mine and pools of polluted water created by the Mexican company and skyline housing projects that are being built on important agricultural and indigenous land in an attempt to house the millions of Colombians who have been displaced by violence in Colombia. On the other side of the hill we see a landfill that has polluted the rivers and the air.
But there is so much beauty in Colombia. IT continues to change and our Colombian professors are a part of social change in Colombia and are introducing us to other people who are creating a new Colombia.Our Colombian Professors, Javier and Julian are showing, teaching and revealing a Colombia that is not often advertised by the popular but unreliable media in the US. In the south of Bogotá, we see a densely populated community created by the people for the people in response to their displacement by the violence of Colombia's past and the grassroots movements for the development of social consciousness and social change in Colombia is beautiful. In south Bogotá, next door to the US prison, the urban community, the mine, and the garbage are many many organic farms that feed Colombians and protect the land from urbanization, pollution, and destruction.
We continue to see threats of globalization, capitalism, and US intervention in Colombia throughout our travels, but at the same time we are also being introduced to the grassroots, indigenous, women's and social justice movements in Colombia that continue to address the threats to the second happiest place on earth. Julian and Javier continue to remind us that Colombia is a safe place with a violent past that is always in conflict, but where is there not? Colombia is the place to be and I'm glad to have made it here.