These are two very good friends, joining us during the visit to Medellin, to the right Esperanza from Toronto YMCA and to the right legendary Chuck from San Fransisco. We had a lot of deeply interesting and fascinating experiences together, and a lot of fun! Thank you, friends!
Our local friends took us for a ride on the new cable car system, working like an integral part of the Metro system. It took us over Comuna 13 a rainy day, and we could study the local community where Medellin YMCA is working from above. A guy who coincidentally joined us, living in Comuna 13, told us stories from his neighborhood. Stories about how one competing criminal gang had burnt a part of the community to demonstrate power and to beat a competitive gang.
Chuck and Romulo smiling like the good Scouts they are, or maybe planning for another joke?
This is a brilliant example on how civil society impacted on the local problems in Comuna 13. The need for safe public spaces was identified as essential to stabilize the local community, and therefore the concept of Library Parks was introduced. A public library in the middle of a park, where everything from studies, school homework and football could be practiced.
The sign over the door to Medellin YMCA. The name is so right – because it is all about very relevant services to Young People. Seldom have I visited a local YMCA so courageous and so innovative and so deeply rooted in its own realities. Wow! And for their birth day party they asked me to have a 15 minutes devotion and gave me the name of a local girl they wanted me to pray for, she had almost lost her leg in a traffic accident. During my prayer the girl in fact walked into the room and shared her stories with us all. No eyes were dry at that moment!
Nest day took us more than an hour into the mountainous countryside where Medellin YMCA had its ecological farm. Amazing! They had owned this farm for more than 20 years, but because of the violence in the area, the farm could not be used for anything. Now that the violence and tension was lower and more stabilized, the farm had been opened and they had started an educational centre for youth and children, to teach them ecological farming, skills and knowledge that could be used at home in their own gardens if they so decided. A very future oriented project! And extremely relevant to us, being on our way to COP 20 in Lima, Peru!
This poster from the garden gave me the headline for this blog post – Revolution without deaths. I believe that would be a right translation. But then I am a bit on thin ice when it comes to Espagnol!
Alveiro comes from a coffee producing family and has a lot of interesting knowledge about how to make good quality coffee. Here he explains how the coffee beans are being peeled in the right way to produce gourmet coffee – exactly the kind of coffee Alveiro is selling as Y – Coffee as fundraising for Colombia YMCA. I believe him, Alveiro is a trustworthy man and a good friend, so I deliver an order for 20 Pounds of his coffee and a bag to transport them in.
And here Romulo popping up behind the sign with the name of the farm. He claims to be ecologically produced himself, a statement I have problems to just accept. But all the agricultural products at the farm were really ecological, and tasted like it. We enjoyed the typical Colombian hospitality in the form of a lunch with locally produced raw material!