August 2002 Images page one
Estimates range from one to two million internally displaced persons currently living in Colombia. They are driven from their rural lands to the urban centers. One person described Colombia as a geographical region only and not a country. The government, for the most part, controls only the cities. The rest of the nation is constantly being battled over by the paramilitaries and guerillas. Who is in charge of these rural areas can change from day to day, normally through fierce fighting.

Soacha is now a community on the outskirts of Bogota. Offically it is the next city away by several miles, but in the past ten years the gap between the two has grown into a sea of displaced persons. All clustered on the sides of mountains.

The section we visited was an area filled with Afro-Colombians who had been forced from their lands in the Pacific region of Colombia. This is the site of the "new" canal between the gulf and Pacific Ocean currently being proposed. There was some speculation among the group that perhaps this is the reason for all the fighting in the region.

The displaced arrive in Soacha with little or nothing and are welcomed in by people who give all they can but have so little themselves.

After we listened to reports on local organizing going on in the community and toured several homes, they served us lunch.

The people were warm and giving. It was an incredible day.

Our group makes its way down the road to where we will meet with community organizers and share lunch with the community.

These water tanks were donated by Doctors Without Borders. Fresh water is delivered once a week in the community, if you have the money to pay for it. Plastic tubes run all over the hills from the roads to individual tanks.

It rained on and off continually that day. Here delegation members and former POCs John Honeck and Ed Kinane take shelter waiting for the meetings to begin.

Community organizers brief us on local social initiatives.

A dirt floor with half the tin roof missing, this elder and her four grandchildren shared the partially completed house. When asked about the nightly violence occurring in the community, she replied that at night she gets into bed with her grandchildren and pulls the covers over their heads. She prays it will keep them safe. But, this grandmother made sure she shook every person's hand in the delegation and was very proud of her communities achievements.

Next page - click here >>

Additional images in this series: go to - [ 1 ]x[ 2 ]
| Colombia Index Home |

| TOP of page | CircleVision Home |

delegation report
now posted
- click above -