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Colombia, Healing and Living Spirituality

Colombia has lived an open and structural violence for the past fifty years. Colombia remains immersed in a long-term complex internal conflict; with widespread human rights abuses, threats and assassinations directed at the civilian population by reconstituted paramilitary groups, two guerilla organizations, extensive drug trafficking networks and increasingly by State actors who have been cited for a steep increase in extrajudicial killings. Colombia continues to have one of the highest rates of internal displacement in the world, with 3-4 million IDPs facing ongoing threats and long term impoverishment. From 1982 to 2007 there have been 2,505 massacres with 14,660 victims documented (according to the Historical Memory Group (GMH) established under the “Justice and Peace” law).

When I was girl, I remember my father all the time protesting against injustice, and hosting poor people in our home, composed by my dear mother, my father and ten brothers and sisters. From my Parish, in the seventies, we used to go, with the Priest, Alfredo, and my older sisters and brothers, every Saturday to a poor neighborhood –La Despensa- in Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia. Because I was the youngest, all my day was spent dancing, singing, and playing with children of this neighborhood, and it was really fun!

When I was adult, I choose to work in the social arena, to put my cents in supporting people to change their lives. I believe that we change the injustice and exclusion, by changing the way teachers work with their students, in a new and innovative way to access to the knowledge. Working from international NGOs, promoting development projects, assisting people affected by the conflict –displaced, amongst others, and advocating for their rights, I found that apart of the very important big and national peace processes, Colombia has a huge movement of invisible people, working without high profile, accompany (physically and spiritually) people that suffer the rigors of the violence. This is the case of human rights workers, catholic and protestant religious people, social workers, and democrat officials that try to build a nation for everywhere. There is a miracle in there, invisible but working in strengthening a vibrant social fabric that overcomes our history of violence, intolerance, exclusion and injustice.


Frances Faulkner's picture


Martha --

You have captured something in your story. I do think miracle workers show up in the most difficult situations, driven by a need to do something other than sit by and let bad things happen. In this way, places filled with difficulties may well be filled with the greatest potential for hope and can inspire people everywhere. Knowing how to draw inspiration from small things is a great gift to take into the world with you every day. Thanks for sharing.


akaneko's picture

Dear Martha, I think it's

Dear Martha,

I think it's wonderful that your story sheds light on the work of people who focus on the most disadvantaged and underrepresented populations. It is so true that NGO workers, religious leaders, social workers and people who just want to help others often do so without fanfare. People, such as yourself, care more about helping others than drawing attention to themselves and their accomplishments. That is truly a miracle. Thank you for posting this entry and for giving us all hope in these silent heros.


pheebsabroad's picture

Thank you...

For sharing your story. The influence our parents have over our future passions and perhaps destiny can be amazing...and for your family to have shaped you into a woman who empowered to fight for a change not only for herself, but for her people is a miracle in and of itself! Best of luck in your work supporting those who are invisible...but steadily working to make life a better place.


ruth_terry's picture

Hi Martha, I really

Hi Martha,

I really appreciated the context that you brought to this story. Against the backdrop of the country's troubled history, the miracle does start to emerge. Your story is an excellent reminder that if we do not educate ourselves about history, politics, and social issues of a particular situation, we may not be able to see the miracle.


"A writer’s job is to tell stories that connect readers to all the people on earth... Passionate and well-articulated ideas can and do change the world." ~~Mary Pipher

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