Mike often writes wonderful descriptions to start out his posts. They capture my attention and encourage me to start reading. I keep thinking about the flowery decsriptions that I could start with of things we have seen since leaving Bogota, but instead here is a list of what we have seen:
-A dead cow being eaten by ravens
-People without shoes
-A boy come up to our table and eat the dead fish heads from off our plates
-That same boy kick a cat and later a dog because it was competition for food
-Men walking for miles in the hot sun selling food to make 50 cents
-The boy´s older counterpart on the beach asking for money for picking up trash
-Miles of beach with cheap tents for the rich people to sit under
-Miles of beach where you can´t walk alone because someone is walking with you saying ¨my friend, you want (insert item you don´t need or want)¨
-Myself as a bag of money
-A country that does not or cannot take care of its people
-A people that do not or cannot take care of themselves
-Myself become frustrated
I guess my expectations of Colombia were really off, as most of my expectations are before I go to a place. I didn´t expect this and I don´t know why I am here. I don´t have a reason for being here. And I don´t like how I feel when I am here. I know this place will change me, but not in a way that I want it to. I don´t like who I am becoming and what I have been thinking. I am classist for sure. I am racist. I don´t trust people who are not white right now. I don´t want to help people. I don´t care if they succeed or fail.
It has been hard to understand this place and I know that if I went to some places in th USA it would be just as bad or worse, but here is what I see. Colonialization has so horribly messed up the lives of all of the peoples it has affected. There is a value on money without the knowledge of how to earn and sustain it. And money is directly corrolated to the most disgustingly elaborate possesions and often times skips over the true needs of people. Coming from Cartegena, the oldest gold trading port in South America, I can´t help but think about the way those traders have changed this area. If the European settlers came mainly to exploit the resources and use the people, how can the people learn another way of life? I don´t know if you can start from greedy rulers and create a people who are looking out for the general good of other people. At this point they lack education at a very basic level, seemingly the knowledge to grow enough food, human rights, animal rights and most importantly the understanding of how to go from poor to rich within this system–perhaps becasue there is no way.
I have never felt the void of a middle class to be so apparent and when we say in the USA that the middle class is disappearing, we have no idea what we are talking about. The middle class is clearly a group of people who have the ability to acheive what they work for, which in reality is almost everyone in the USA. That doesn´t seem to exist here because there doesn´t seem to be a knowledge of what it means to advance one´s position and there certainly is a lack of people who understand how to be creative in the ways that they do it.
Before we left Bogota, I met a girl from Quebec who was traveling by herself. We talked about the fact that we were both women traveling, that we had the knowledge of how to get the money to travel, the freedom to do it and the understanding that everyone had the opportunity to do whatever they wanted. The understanding that you control your own life. Under both of our governments these are truths. This is the meaning of Freedom. The hardest thing to see is so many people who are not free and who may never be free. It makes me angry that there is nothing I can do about this.