Sunday, June 13, 2010

El principio de mi trabajo

Sorry its been a while since my last post, I´ve been trying to get my interviews together. I have decided to interview between 10 and 15 people (heads of families) about their current health conditions in comparison to their health in their respective homelands. My goal is to compile somewhat of a study regarding the health needs of the people of Soacha and surrounding villages. Soacha is a municipality completely distinct from Bogotá, although it barely seems so as the two areas seem to mesh together. Apparently there is a yellow building which distinguishes Bogotá from Soacha. This week I did some traveling into the villages surrounding Soacha. These are not legal towns, but there is a process to make them so. The people living there do not have addresses and must walk miles to get what they need from the city of Soacha. I am excited to start my research and interviews and I pray that they will work out well. I am also considering creating a survey to pass out to the community members to get an overview of the health needs of the many people I will not be able to reach with my interviews. With this information, I will compile a document for SJR and hopefully be able to offer something to the organization. Other than work, Fellowship life is pretty lonely sometimes. I´ve met a bunch of people from here, but its hard to cover up homesickness sometimes. The picture to the left is of a boy who was really interested in my camera. He took a few pictures and then handed it back to me, almost instantly making this face. He lives in El Manzano, a small village of about 50 people on the outskirts of Soacha. The next one is a picture of the view from El Manzano of Soacha. At the bottom is one of the houses. The people have made their home here and built their houses by hand. Yes, they do have electricity but I do believe it is a fairly recent acquisition. I am unsure of how they get their water though. Right now, a member from SJR is helping them create huertas, small farming areas to grow things like beans, potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, and corn. The people have had to learn to grow food native to Bogotá, as many of them are not able to grow the foods they used to due to the change in altitude and temperature.

Of course I had to take another picture of the sunset today. I have fallen in love with my camera and try not to take her everywhere so she does not get stolen. Ill try to take some more pictures this week to give you all a better view of what I am doing.
Yesterday I went downtown to watch the USA-England fútbol game with a bunch of English-speakers. We managed to fill the bar and it was pretty fun. I then walked around downtown for a while and found a beautiful church and some great artisan markets. GO USA!
word of the day: rumbiar--to go out dancing/partying. as in--No quiero trabajar esta noche, vamos a rumbiar!!
I hope all of you are doing well, and if you have questions or comments, please email me at
Que Dios le bendiga

Monday, June 7, 2010

A little background information

I start in Soacha in the morning...I get to navigate my way through public transportation. Its great here though and is called Transmilenio.

If you want to do a little reading on forced displacement, ill post a few things on here, so you have a fuller understanding of this whole thing.
3. I just found this today when I was doing some research. Here, you can learn about the relationship between US aid and the Colombian conflict.

Oh, and i took this picture tonight, right after the sunset. I think I am in love with my camera.

If you have any questions, comments or anything, please do not hesitate to email me. I would love to chat!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Por fin!

Estoy aca! I finally made it to the city and have found quite the place to live. I basically live in a frat--with 20 guys (all jesuits) who are so nice and helpful. I live basically on the campus of the jesuit university here--its about 4 times larger than Xavier. Its a gorgeous place with a heck of a lot more students than Im used to. I think i will really enjoy myself here if I am able to keep up with everyone. Today I went to Soacha where I will be doing my volunteering and, I´m guessing, a lot of my research. I have already been in dialogue with a lot of the people here about the situation of displacement and how to go about giving these people a sustainable life. It was really interesting today, in Soacha, when I accompanied one of my teammates to a regional meeting with other organizations, including UNHCR, OCHA, and WFP. It was a meeting about the neighborhood of Soacha and how they can best work together in order to help the people there. Whats interesting is that they brought leaders from the neighborhood to speak for the people instead of just making decisions. I thought this was really cool, but unfortunately, the displaced in Soacha don´t always get the help they need. These organizations aren´t there to totally help them, but to put pressure on the Colombian government to help with social programming. Its a difficult topic that I hope to have more insight about soon.
Soacha, although a poor neighborhood, has a wonderful view of the city and showcases the mountainous region where it lays. heres a picture of what some of the municipality looks like from below... Think what one good rain storm can do...and does.
Right now I can{t find a good picture of the view online, so i guess its up to me to take one. I´ll post once I have some more pictures to offer.
Word of the day--chévere: cool, like in the sentence ¨que chévere!¨ : ¨how cool!¨

Que Dios le acompañe