Nohelia – Fight against drug barons, guerrilla and lawlessness in Colombia


A long time ago, before
there was anything in the world, God wanted to create Man. He didn’t know how,
so first he made a tree and gave it the name Oquendo, which means “hard wood”. He took a piece of Oquendo, carved
the Indio and breathed life into him. This is why the Indio’s skin
and the Oquendo’s bark are so alike. While he was carving the Indio
a piece of Oquendo fell in the mud. God went about creating other things:
animals, forests…. One day he came back and
found the piece of Oquendo. It had become black
because of the mud. God carved it and breathed life into it.
Thus God created the Blacks. Fishing is the basis
of life for Juribidá. It is also a cultural practice. Traditionally, men in Juridibá
have always been fishermen. Because we live by the sea. My life was like any girl’s in a village. We had to suffer a lot of hunger. We left the school
at 5.30, came home and had nothing to eat. Then we went out to search for food. We call this “velar”, looking for
someone to give us something to eat. So passed the time in my life. One day in school I became faint. I was so hungry
that I lost consciousness. The director noticed,
I don’t know how, perhaps through female intuition? When I awoke
I was given a glass of milk. I had never drunk a glass
of milk before, it was warm milk. I drank it,
and I started to sweat. My body couldn’t assimilate
the milk because I was so weak. So I sweated and sweated. I’ve known Nohelia a long time. We come from the same area. She wanted me to
teach at her school. Even though she is our director, she behaves like a friend,
a colleague, to us. She supports us like
we support her in her work. It is her great wish
that the school acts as a strong basis for the community. -Today there’s nothing wrong, today you’re all well turned out, clean shoes, combed,
a bit badly combed. And why are you so elegant today? Wasn’t there a comb? I doubt it.. Go home and comb yourself. -The ceiling is full of holes,
the rain comes through. The floor is bad,
there’s no chairs, no tables, it’s difficult to teach
under these conditions. It’s difficult to concentrate. We write with our fingernails,
because there are no teaching materials. There’s often no blackboard,
yet alone chalk. Then there’s the shortage of teachers. The pupils have never
heard a word of English, there’s no language teacher. There’s also five
other teachers too few. The children are missing
out on everything. -I had a teacher
who was an example for me. She was called Amalia Lemus
and came from El Valle. This woman dressed very prettily. She was always
well-groomed and very feminine. This created a healthy envy in me. One day, I had
to be just like my teacher. Without knowing it, she was the target
I had to reach one day. Do you think you can
change anything as a soldier? What do you want to be
when you grow up, Carina? -I would love to be a teacher. -Why? -I’d like to educate children. -And you, Soleni? What do you
want to be when you grow up? -A teacher. -Why do you want
to become a teacher? -I like education. -You want to educate children, too. -Fabián, what do you want
to do, when you grow up? -Soldier. -You want to be a soldier too. Another soldier in Colombia. There are lots of boys who go
to the guerrillas, or the paramilitaries, or even the military, because they
haven’t got any other opportunities. That’s why I have sympathy for
the guerrillas and the paramilitaries. Because, in my eyes, they’re victims of the social injustice in Colombia. And you? -A soldier. -Now we’ve got a whole army. And you? -I want to be a narco. –You want to be a drug baron? -I don’t believe in the army. They never come to the
right place at the right time. -They’re a part of a system. It’s not their fault, they only
carry out other people’s orders. Nider. You haven’t told me what you want to be,
when you grow up. -A footballer. You want to be a footballer, too. Ubernei? -A footballer. -Another one. Now we’ve got a
football team and an army. -I’m the boss of the army. -You’re the boss? Then you’re the troop commandant. What I like the most as a teacher is the process of educating a child. A child of five is trusted to me, you take a part in the
development of this person and eventually they
become another person. -She’s always dedicated
herself to her community. She’s often said that she doesn’t
want to leave the community, even though she’s had
offers to work in other schools. She’s always turned them down. The people believe in her. She’s a leader.
She spreads the word. And the people follow her. Colombia didn’t recognise
the ethnicity of blacks until the constitution of 1991. They’ve never recognised
us as a people with our own characteristics. They’ve recognised
the indigenous peoples, but not the blacks. With article 55 Colombia recognises
that there are other ethnic groups and that, since their appearance, they have made a large contribution
to the development to this land. To the detriment of many lives. The children deny
their own culture and are influenced
by other cultures. For example by the whites,
the tourists. A boy would rather take on
the habits of the whites, rather than those
of his own community. -AfroColombianism teaches the
child to treasure its own culture, to recognise the ethnic differences, and above all to like themselves
and to look ahead in life, towards equality and fairness. -And the light-skinned
boy back there? -Look, Dubán has darker
skin than all of you, but look at Nider and Dubáns’ hair, do you think it’s the same? -No! -I think so. So what does this afro mean? Just that we’re black? -That we’re Africans! -Because our ancestors
came from Africa. And how did our ancestors get here? Do you know? The Spanish brought them here. In what capacity? They brought them here as slaves. -As what, Soleni? -As slaves. -To carry out which work? Who were the first to live
on the American continent before the Spanish came? The Indios were the first to live on the American continent. So do you think that
Columbus discovered America? No!
And why not? Because there were Indios here.
Because people lived here. Indios lived here,
people before Columbus came. What does this mean? That this theory that we’re always told, that Columbus discovered America,
is false. When Columbus went to America,
there were already people there, the Indios. Very advanced cultures
existed when he arrived. Nearly all were destroyed. -My name’s Soleni Mosquera
and I’m 12 years old. I’m in the sixth class
in the Juribidá school. Natural science is my favourite subject. I like it because I
learn about the rainforest and the surroundings of my village. I love fishing in the river, catching mussels and crabs. When I’m a teacher,
I’ll do lots for the school. I’ll make the classrooms bigger,
install a computer, and sort out toys
for the pre-school children. If the walls were painted the children would be
happier to go to school. I dream about being a teacher, I would teach the children
traditional songs and poems, like Nohelia. -What’s an eclipse of the sun? We’ll draw a picture,
give me the pen please, see: An eclipse is nothing more than… Who gives us daylight? -The sun. -The sun shines for us. Let’s say, this is the sun. We’re here. This is the earth. But who lights
the earth at night? -The moon. -The moon here is very small. You know that the earth
moves around the sun, don’t you? The earth turns. We’re giants in the universe. The moon moves in front of the earth and blocks the light
that the sun gives the earth. And where the shadow of the
moon falls on the earth, it goes dark… and this is called an eclipse of the sun. In the written history of Colombia you cannot read about the blacks fighting. The blacks fought in
the time of independence, just like the Mestizos. Bolivar had many black fighters. This is how men and
women from all our communities contributed to this country. The black woman is the
leader in many communities. The woman has always,
as we say, called the tune, the commander in
Afrocolombian communities. They don’t look at us, we work quietly in our communities. But from here we
are changing Colombia, above all when we are confronted
with the problem of violence. Many female leaders had to
give their lives for the country, but Colombia doesn’t know this. Many had to see their sons die,
their husbands and neighbours. And fight on, because when
the black woman takes something on, nothing can stop her. -Comrades:
swear before God loyalty to our flag and our fatherland Colombia,
whose symbol this is, a sovereign and inseperable nation,
governed through the principles of freedom, order and justice for all. -Yes, we swear. -Congratulations, today we
celebrate the 20th of July. This is the day of
independence for Colombia, on which the independence
of all Colombians began. We should celebrate,
and everyone who has a Colombian flag should fly it in front of the house. -Afterwards the presence of the
subversive groups grew stronger, and now,
what do the boys do? They’re sent out to the guerrillas,
the social structure is very damaging here. You have to keep them busy. In addition there was a
growing number of girls who were already
mothers at twelve or fourteen.. -Then the guerrillas came
more and more to recruit the boys. And the unwitting
and inexperienced boys fell into the trap. They promised good pay
and better prospects. And so many boys
joined the armed groups. Then they realised that it was all a lie. Many tried to get out and
had to leave the community, some died. -So we had to say, okay,
this school has to fulfil the necessities of the people. And today we have a
middle school up to 9th grade. The number of under-age
mothers began to drop from when the boys
and girls started to study. Luckily, since then,
we’ve had no more cases of pupils joining the armed groups, because they’re all
learning and following an aim. -The middle school has helped a lot, because a boy who reaches
the 9th class is competent to think further
than a child in the 5th class. -I would like to get to know a city, but I wouldn’t live there. I’d rather live in the countryside,
surrounded by the forest and sea. And not by cars and cement. I never get bored in Juribidá, the only thing that upsets
me is when the paramilitaries or guerrillas come into the village. All the children are scared,
we can’t play in the street. The last time the guerrillas were here
was the 20th July. I was playing in the
park with some friends, while some foreigners were filming us. -Look over there,
to the school… One of my friends was near
the school, looking towards the sea, and saw two guerrillas, coming nearer. I was very scared. I thought they would kill us,
and the foreigners too. -Yes, over here. -I’ve already told Juancho
that he should prepare the boat, we have to get out of
here right now. At eight o’clock in the evening
on the 20th July we heard that the military, I mean guerrilla,
is present in this sector.. As if out of thin air. Because on this day
we had no boat. The boat was being repaired, because the engine had
used up its 500 hours. -The military arrives 24 hours
after it had been informed. -Have you put yourself in
danger because of this film? -no… definitely not… These are two different things. Your presence isn’t the reason,
the same has happened to me before. I’ve already had incidents
with the guerrillas, and you weren’t here. -That’s everyday life in this country… -In this country people
with or without money are kidnapped. -Isn’t that so, Fausto?
She draws the guerrilla like a magnet. Fausto too,
you have to watch out with him. You can escape the guerilla in Coquí, only to cross their path again in Juribidá. What’s more, the guerrillas
haven’t shown themselves in Juribidá for more than four years. I didn’t have any worries about this.
I thought it was over. I’m worried, I have to go
back to Juribidá anyway. I have to go back to Juribidá
because I work, because I’m a teacher. The authorities come, the military
stay for three hours then go, and what happens to us? -You should think hard
about whether you go back. One has the right to
his land and his things, but another victim
doesn’t achieve anything, just to prove his staunchness. This is already the second time. The first time they threatened your life. This was the third time. -That’s the problem in this country: one day you die, the next day
they’ve already forgotten you. -But it’s about something else, and that concerns the whole
countryside population of Colombia: We don’t fit in the city. I can’t imagine living in the city, and starving, it’s unjust,
what’s done to you. What would I live
from in Medellín? How would my
children grow up in Medellín? Should my daughter
become a prostitute? And earn hardly anything
because there’s already so many? And my son become a thief… -They earn 5000 Pesos a night here. -…my God… -And they’ve lowered the rates. They wouldn’t give that to us.
They give that to the girls. -We have to pay five. -I’m going to start saving. -It would be great, if we weren’t
portrayed as the wicked Colombians, who kill and kidnap. The majority of Colombians
are good people, people who treat
you as the village has. People who give everything,
to help those who need help. But the good aren’t the protagonists, we won’t be shown on the news. The good aren’t shown in Colombia. The news is sensation-hungry, it’s not interested in good. -Here they only show war,
the dead, violence. -Come to class. -I reached the fourth class, when my
first pair of shoes where bought for me. Shoes, which I didn’t know
why had been bought for me. They were rubber shoes. They were a bit too small for me I couldn’t run with these shoes.


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