Posted by: thebluemusicblog | November 19, 2014


Yesterday the whole group was divided in smaller groups of around 12 people and we were given the choices of different style restaurants. I decided that I did not have to go to neither Italian nor French restaurants in Bogota, rather when in Bogota, do as the Romans and have a real Colombian meal. Together with National General Secretary Alveiro and WUN President Gary Schlansker that was actually also what happened. Below you can observe the happy group in expectation of coming joys and pleasures!


And below here a snapshot of the Ribs with Yellow Potatoes, a real hit in Colombia!IMG_4905

After a starter with a Colombian sausage, this portion was exactly right! But no desert, Gary, no desert!IMG_4910

I was having a long conversation with a young person about living a balanced life, and I tried to convey that it is not as difficult as it looks on the photo above. You can find many a motive when you are exercising more or less alone at 05.30 in the morning, trying to compensate for jet lag!IMG_4911

Not the least a perfect sunrise over a mountainside with several perfect triangles. What a pleasure!IMG_4914

I was testing this bridge construction, which I found very interesting.


It became a nice motive, made me think of the breathtaking moment of an open door, open to the future.IMG_4919

But also open to the busy street below. As I took this photo, an armed soldier passed underneath, absolutely not planned, but his helmet just walked into my c camera lens!IMG_4928

I am taken by the strong and colorful plants and flowers in Bogota, and wanted to share with you a couple of good finds this morning. This cactus was amazing,IMG_4931

…and so was this beautiful blue miracle. I do not have a clue what it may be called, but I am sure that one of my readers will know!IMG_5431

Grafitti on the sides of the canals running through  the city to take care of the rainy seasons.IMG_5432

And at long last another traffic sign, after a long walk in the desert. To be done or to be avoided?IMG_5433

The visit to the social impact programme for young offenders became a visit to a real POWER SPACE of the Bogota YMCA!IMG_5434

Student and volunteer Louis translating for the leader of the programme for Development of Young People, especially for young offenders. They follow a very conscious and well thought through model of working with young offenders, who very often are also drug abusers. It is all about relationships. First of all relationships with the young people, then with their families, and lastly with the society. In addition YMCA Bogota is working with a number of important partners from the legal system and other NGOs in their implementation of this programme. This impressive and very effective programme for Youth Empowerment is working with 500 young offenders each year.IMG_5438

The first thing that happened during our visit, was that we were taken to a nearby park where a group of young offenders were picking garbage. We were all given rubber gloves to protect us, and then in groups of 2 and 3 we went together and picked garbage and talked together. I must admit that it is a good time since I had a very friendly conversation only circling around girls, soccer, drugs and because of my T-shirt that day, painting and art. Jonathan to the left and  Camillo to the right, included me very friendly in their work team, and before long I had also learnt that in Colombia humbleness comes first and is a value high up on the ranking list. They were also very focused on foreigners’ images of Colombian youth, and wanted to convey to me that friendliness, hospitality and inclusion are all very typical for Colombian youth. I agree!IMG_5454

The pyramid focuses at the top level on the individual herself, then assisting the young person to focus on the damage that he has done. Then they move on to focus on reflection and analysis as a tool to change attitudes and ways of understanding themselves. Following that comes the level called restoration, which is the changed mindset in action, changed self esteem, changed attitudes towards other people and what they have worked hard to obtain, and that should not be stolen away from them.

The last level is called reparation and is restoring the relationships to family and society.


In the face called reflection and analysis, there are several elements of artistic activities, and we were sitting together with a group of young offenders to make each one decorative figure for Christmas out of clay. It was amazing to observe the culture of helpfulness and sharing that dominated around the table.

IMG_4940In the declaration of the responsible YMCA workers, they promise, and we did it as well together with them, to:

“Recognize the young people and adolescents  for their qualities rather than their errors, with the aim of incentivizing change.

Establish a relationship with the young people and adolescents on the principle of equality between all human beings.

Stay responsible in the use of authority without abusing it or being too permissive.

To avoid any form of stigmatization and/or exclusion of the young people and adolescents.

Act in an empathetic manner towards the young people with the aim of detecting their real needs and offer them useful advice.

Use all the tools available to develop crucial formation processes for the young people.

Reestablish the relationship between the young person and society so as to include them in it.

Act in a positive manner in regards to the progress of the young people.

Reflect constantly on my role in the process of the young people.

Restore fundamentally the delinquent young person without missing out any areas of themselves.”




  1. Loving your blog Johan! Tell Gary hello from me.

    Cheryl Anthony, St. Louis Y

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