Monday, November 12, 2007

Update from Nils

Michele and I are spending a few weeks apart as I take part in an accompaniment in Nariño, in the far southwestern corner of Colombia, 30 hours from Barrancabermeja by bus. Nariño is beautiful, it’s very mountainous and also has a lot of rainforests. Right now I’m in Pasto, the capitol of Nariño, but we’ll mostly be working in the town of Ricaurte, about four hours from here. The newspaper ‘Diario del Sur’ has a bunch of photos of Ricuarte on their website (click here).

The photos do a pretty good job of telling the story of Ricaurte: beautiful mountainous rainforests, and lots of soldiers.

We’ll be in Ricaurte to accompany a community of Awá indigenous people that have been suffering in the armed conflict recently. Hundreds of families have had to flee their homes due to ongoing battles between the army and the FARC guerrilla, and many civilians have been killed, either caught in the crossfire or killed by landmines, which are prevalent in the rural areas. My teammate and I are not going to be visiting the rural areas for our own safety, but our accompaniment from Ricaurte can be helpful to the community leadership as they go about their work. We’re also hoping to write some articles to make the struggles of the Awá people more visible. I was here in Nariño last year in November, and it feels good to be back doing this valuable work.

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