Friday, November 18, 2011

Faces of Colombia

ABOVE: Los Hermanas (The Sisters) take care of the elderly
and is also where I was painting a mural with Shayo, left.
BELOW: My friend, El Doctora Isabel, looking quite
glamorous  even in the rain with her colorful 'sombrilla',
walks up the main street toward Santa Barbara church.
It's hard to believe so much time has raced on by and we are in the middle of November. It's the rainy season here and today is a wonderful example of that. The expression, "Make hay while the sun shines," truly applies here. Most people do not have dryers so when we have several days of rain, the laundry either has to wait to be done, or one hangs it out under the rafters. I have developed a system where I do the wash and then hang it on the line and cover the line with some clear plastic so whatever sun might peek through can help to dry things.

But today is a true full-on rainy day, as you see it in the photo. No point in draping the plastic and hoping for sun. Maybe later in the day the clouds will lift, but for now we are wet, wet, wet.

But of a more serious concerns is the sliding of the land down onto the roads (and from under the roads) making trips from place to place even more uncertain than it was last month. Today we were told on the radio that no one should take any unnecessary trips as the route between Bogota and Bucaramanga is littered with 'derumbas'. A friend said it took twice as long to get back from Buca as it normally does.

These fellows are a member of the elite Colombian 'cavalry'
and as big as their horses are, they are well trained for crowd
events like our Feria earlier this month.
It's also incredible for me to realize that I've essentially been in Colombia for a year now. While I speak the language better than I did a year ago, I have to admit it has been a slow process of learning. In recognition of this milestone, I wanted to share some faces of people, some known and some not, that I have discovered here.

Trading stamps is still popular for these children
It has been a year since I made the decision to rent a house here and soon I will have to renew that contract. Faces that were just part of the crowd a year ago are now people that I recognize and greet when I am in town. And likewise, the Gringa/Americana is less of a stranger to all of them, although my Spanish-speaking skills are still less than I expected them to be by this time.

What is still a delight for this grandmother is seeing young children playing with non-techie toys, still interacting with each other, laughing and running around.

It is worrisome that young boys and girls in other countries are bypassing all that physical activity and exchanges with their peers in order to play with X-Box, and other technical tools of the 'modern' world.

"The guys" (muchachos) break for lunch at noon everyday
and stores are closed until 2 p.m. almost everywhere.
When I first arrived in Colombia, there was an innocence that was pretty appealing to me. During the past two years I have seen more and more advertisements, more and more of a push to make Colombia 'just like the rest of the world,' with the consequence that the crime rate has gone up because there is growing dissatisfaction among the 15-25 age group with the way things are for them. A small village is fine for the very young and the very old, but pretty much stinks as far as entertainment and job opportunity goes for those with ambition.

I guess with the plans to improve the roads it would serve the government well to transcript some of these 'bored young men AND women' and put them to work in various jobs appropriate to their age and skills and give them a chance to take some pride in their country instead of looking of ways to rip off tourists or people who are here trying to help create a better future for everyone. I think I'll suggest that to someone who might be able to take that idea and run with it.

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