First days in Colombia

 

Chow and I left the others to organize the work, while we went to scout out the beach scene.

It was March- the windy season.  Our new friend from the beach who brought the beers from the bungalow to the table told us so.  Who would know better than the guy slanging to tourists on the beach in Cartagena’s renowned district, Boca Grande?   He continued to teach us the climate patterns: the rainy season just passed and the warm winds alway blow in from the East.   He measures the humidity by the feel of the cash to his fingers. H U S T L E R.

The conversation quickly dove into his deportation from the United States, some sob story of prejudices and misunderstandings.   Somehow, in the end he still had his principles.  For the sake of friendliness, we expressed lots of respect for whatever it was he stood for.  He brought us more beers and we asked more about Cartagena.

536505_10151479657790183_209743825_n
A small boy came to the table to sell us colorful string knotted together.  He succeeded.   I’m happy to support youngin’s grind- fearlessly approaching strangers asking to do business.   I’m sure he’s saving up for something important, like a meal or shoes.  At the same time, I’m trying to leave with some recollection of what happens down here.   It’s a win-win because now me, el nino and Chow are bracelet buddies.
The next morning we woke up at 7 am, my roommate, Kane, blasted some Christina Aguliera- I didn’t feel like listening- not really a fan of hers.  I splashed water on my face to at least loosen up the stank caked on from the sin’s of the night before… 2 hours ago.  We dragged our haggard selves out to the breakfast buffet.   I shuffled towards the dizzy mess of Colombian food: cheese fried in some white flour (araypas?), a mush pile of rice mixed with vegetables and other non-sense I was too disconnected from the world to recognize.   I smashed on some fruit, gushing juice explosions in my mouth putting energy back into me.   Chomping into pineapples, cantaloupe, grapes, orange- fruit has always been my revitalizer.

We loaded onto the bus to listen to lecture on our way to….  Not sure where we were headed, nor did I care.  We were on our way to saving Colombia, one child at time.  That notion was enough for me.  I rested my eyes into a slumber and awoke when we were at the garbage dump.  Totally joking, it was a neighborhood of shacks where real people lived.    There were little kids running around with no shoes, unhealthy looking adults standing and staring at us and uncomfortably young-to-imagine parents standing and staring into nothing.  The blank or bewildered expressions didn’t ease the awkward feelings being felt.

553059_10151479658410183_1942452301_n

Well, I suppose anything less could have been found in The South- we came here for a reason, and that was to help those who needed it.   So, let’s do it, how do we save these souls from the depths of hell’s eternal torture and pain?   The answer was hardly as adventurous as I had hoped.  No rebuilding/ construction (or any form of manual labor), no herding the people into a secret water vessel destined for a new beginning, no diagnosis + medicine, no workforce assemblage, NOTHING.

426929_10151394907440183_651158399_n

We walked around smiling and waving, like a celebrity on tour- ‘DON’T GET TOO CLOSE NOW, tell them how proud you are of their accomplishments!’ said the charity-tour leader.  I suppose they used to live in houses of hay, rather than sticks- otherwise, I I don’t know why we were  commending them.  All I knew was the pungent reek from this motionless death-infested water is creeping into my own soul and feeding my inner-world a painful nausea.

423060_10151394934440183_94029783_n

When we left, they were all still poor and sick, and quite possibly dying- but for whatever reason, they felt better.    And I’m told me did a great job.

AY Colombia!

Saving Colombia- One Child at a Time.

It was March- The windy season.  Our new friend from the beach who brought beers to the table told us so.  Who would know better than the guy slanging to tourists on the beach?   He continued to teach us the climatepatterns: the rainy season just passed and the warm winds always blow in from the East.   He measures the humidity by the feel of the cash to hisfingers. H U S T L E R.

 A small boy came to the table to sell us colorful string knotted together.  He succeeded.   I’m happy to support youngin’s grind- fearless approaching strangers asking to do business.   I’m sure he’s saving up for something important, like a meal or shoes.  All the while, I’m trying to leave with some recollection of what happens down here.   It’s a win-win because now me, el nino and Chow are bracelet buddies.
The next morning we woke up at 7 am, Kane blasted some Christina Aguliera- I didn’t feel like listening.  We dragged our haggard selves out to breakfast buffet after splashing water on our faces to at least loosen up the stank caked upon us from the sin’s of the night before…. 2 hours ago.   I shuffled towards the dizzy mess of Colombian food: cheese fried in some white flour (araypas?), and other non-sense I was too disconnected from the world to remember.   I smashed on some fruit, gushing juice explosions in my mouth putting energy back into my system.   Chomping into pineapples, cantaloupe, grapes, orange- fruit has always been my “next morning” friend.    When we got back to the room Christina was still pumping.  “Didn’t I tell you to keep that shit in the safe?!”  I was a bit paranoid that our valuables would disappear if we left them unattended.
We loaded onto the bus to listen to lecture on our way to….  Not sure where we were headed, nor did I care.  We were on our way to saving Colombia, one child at time,  That notion was enough for me.  I rested my eyes into a slumber and a woke when we were at the garbage dump.  Totally joking, it was a neighborhood of shacks where real people lived.    There were little kids running around with no shoes, unhealthy looking adults standing and staring and uncomfortably young-to-imagine parents.   Well, I suppose anything less could have been found in The South.   So, let’s do it, how do we save these souls from the depths of hell’s eternal torture and pain?   Hardly, we walked around smiling and waving, like a celebrity on tour- ‘DON’T GET TOO CLOSE NOW, tell them how proud you are of their accomplishments!’ said the charity-tour leader.  I suppose they used to live in houses of hay, rather than sticks- otherwise, I could not figure out what we are commending them for- all I know is the pungent reek from this motionless death-infested water is creeping into me and feeding my stomach a painful nausea.
When we left, they were all still poor and sick- but for whatever reason, they felt better.

 

Hola Colombia

We arrived at the Rafael Nunez airport early in the afternoon.   22/24 missed the flight to Miami the first day.  That’s 88%.  The leader of the group, Dr. Snuggs, was one of the two.  Second in command, Dr. Nicely, appointed me leader, Heffe, if you will, of 12 other students that would take a 4pm transfer through Atlanta International to Miami International.

I assigned everyone a number and had them sound off upon command.  We’d arrive in Miami before the other group, lead by Dr. Nicely.   Instead of funneling everyone into a van directed to a luxury hotel Hollis (#2) had employee pricing with, we waited for Dr. Nicely and her group.    This proved to be a mistake as Miami was crawling with Spring Break, yet we spent 19 hours in an unexplainably cold “Save Darfor” exhibit on the 3rd floor.

Sometimes you just need to tell your leader what to do.

The Avianca flight floated in and rolled to a halt marking our arrival at the Rafel Nunez airport that early afternoon.   The sun was bright, the heat was sticky and we had FINALLY arrived.   Stepping into the sun was like that first splash of water on your face after several days without showering.  The air tingled with the peaceful sounds of being far away from home.   Big smile at he rooster who strolled along with our group.

Chow (#4) and I walked 4 blocks away to the beach in Boca Grande where we rejoiced and soaked in the sensation of relief as our toes sank into the sand.   Beer.   We were there, sat down in the plastic chairs at the plastic tables with Club Colombias plopped in front of us.  Next, we were offered prostitutes and cocaine.

“Senior, for now, we must pass” politely, and with the suggestion of ‘maybe later’ as my father once taught me.   The breeze blew in fresh salty smells from The Gulf.  Colombia is gonna be SICK.