This was the most incredible eye opener for me. Three of us from Nova Scotia were part of the delegation. Bogota is elevated so high that we had to ensure we drank lots of water to prevent severe headaches. The city was so awesome, but the army with their machine guns and oozes were so scary, especially along the street, at bus stops and the shopping centres.
The funny thing for me was I had wanted toast and regular eggs for the 12 days we were there and the finally the day I found them was in my own hotel! Boy it was a great breakfast before I left for the airport to come back home.
The people we met, the NGOs we visited told almost incomprehensible stories of abuse, disappearances and killings. The treatment of people in communities that the Mine wanted for expansion was horrible. We visited Soacha, on the out shirts of Bogota. It wasn't the poorest place, but a close last for poverty. No running water, sewer running down the hills, houses or make shift houses built up steeps hills, no schools except for the volunteers who would open a small place but the people were so awesome!
|Young girl in Soacha, Bogota, Colombia|
|Beautiful girls in Soacha!|
|These concrete steps led up to the UN Building in Soacha|
|Steep hills with sewer running down in Soacha|
I knew when we got back to our home cities, we had to do something for the many people who needed international support. My own province of Nova Scotia used the coal from the world's largest open coal pit mine, so there began my quest. I was also fortunate that many supporters against the coal industry were working to get our government and the users of coal to put pressure on the Mine for humanitarian needs, relocations for the forced closures of whole communities and for the workers who were negotiation their first Collective Agreement.
We met the community of Tabaco and others to hear 1st hand what they experienced and how they were treated by the Mine and the military. US gives approximately 2 Billion to Colombia for the military against the war on drugs.
|Our Hotel in La Rocha. No air conditioning and only a ceiling fan.|
|La Rocha Wharf|
|What it is now, abandoned villages.|
|Place where Town of Tabaco want to relocate|
|We slept in home made hammocks at La Cruz. These are handmade hammocks.|
|The massive Cerrejon Mine|
|La Cruz - What communities looked like before the Mine took over them|
Check out Witness for Peace and sign on to a Peace Tour with them. You would never regret it. I am hoping to make another tour with them next year. This year, I have too much other travel to do. But I made friends to these incredible people and I will go back.