Africans were first brought to Colombia to work as slaves during the colonial period of the 1500s. Many of their descendants still live in communities around Colombia. Although slavery was abolished in 1851, the Afro-Colombian community still faces much discrimination.
Jailer is a descendent of those slaves. He’s from Buenaventura, a port city on the coast of Colombia where most of the population is of African descent.
Buenaventura is a dangerous place for children to grow up. Many children experience abuse and violence within their families, which eventually leads them to lock their heart into an unbreakable shell to protect themselves. Many spend more and more time in the streets in an attempt to escape from reality, learning that only the tough survive.
As a child Jailer watched as this environment destroyed the dreams of his companions, who were seduced by the easy path and ended up robbing or killing at a young age, trapped in a lifestyle that’s not easy to leave.Continue Reading ›
People often ask me what my favorite part of my job is. For me, the answer is easy: the people I get to meet and know around the world. There are people working for Compassion with such heart and passion and such incredible stories of their own. Henry Guarin is one of those people.
Henry’s fun and funny, he sings in a rock band, he has a passion for his job. And he used to be a sponsored child.
Here’s a little more about Henry, in his own words.
It’s 7:15 a.m. in Bogotá, Colombia, it’s cold, as usual, and I am waiting for the school bus to pick up Juan Felipe, my 5-year-old son.
As we stand at the door of the apartment building we live in we are talking about his favorite TV shows, dinner, games with his friends at school, and other things, just like every day.
The school bus finally arrives, so I give him a big hug and a big kiss and I tell him,
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him; and he delivers them.”
I come back to my apartment and Xiomara, my wife, is finishing feeding our little son Lucas. He is only 5 months old and he is happily kicking in his cradle, and he smiles at me as he sees me coming in.
Xiomara and I sit and start talking about how different things were for us when we were children.Continue Reading ›
Luz is going to the farmers market today. She is taking her 3-year-old daughter, Vanesa, with her, to search for food. Thousands of mothers for many years have come here daily to find food for their families.
- Join Luz and Vanesa as they look for food by clicking on the image below to a view a slideshow of their search.
- Select “Show Info” in the upper right hand corner of the slideshow to read each photo’s caption.
to our Flickr group. Show us how you see poverty.
I recently had the privilege of visiting my three correspondence children, a few children that I helped find sponsors for, and the sponsored child of my pastor in Colombia. It was a trip I will never forget (unless I get a serious bout of amnesia).
I am walking down the streets of Soacha, a town of 500,000 that surrounds Bogotá. The neighborhood is called “San Nicolas,” a poor sector with two-story houses made from brick. Above the rooftops hang electric cables.
Shoes are draped over the cables, hanging from their laces. They seem to me to be part of the decoration. But later someone explains to me that gangs put them there to mark their territory.
This is a typical day in October, with sun in the morning and rain in the afternoon.
I keep walking under the sun through the streets searching for the student center, and I find all kinds of small businesses along the way, such as small stores where women can buy food to make their daily meals and a few Internet cafes with video games.
Children are visiting the stores. A few minutes later, I cross by a street seller of fresh fish, as a couple of street dogs search around him for food.
Behind the moving people and buses, I spot the student center. I arrive at the same time that Michael and Jeferson do.