Mampujan is a small community in the Montes De Maria in the Department of Bolivar in the north of Colombia. Its economy is based in the growing of corn, cassava, rice and vegetables and the breeding of turkeys, chickens and goats.
Because of its geographical location and the presence of hills and valleys, the zone was strategically used by armed illegal groups.
Mamupjan is one of the most affected communities in Colombia by the armed conflict. On March 10th 2000, the paramilitaries invaded the community of Mampujan and displaced 620 people, thus 245 families. This community was 7 kilometers away from their land. They suffered violence, humiliation, hatred and pain; they carried nothing when they left their homes except the clothes they wore on the day of displacement.
However, after many years of suffering, hope for peace was not lost when they heard that the government started negotiating the peace deals with the FARC which is one of the leading and powerful guerrilla groups in Colombia.
On Sunday, the 2nd of October 2016, people went to vote. Despite the bad weather conditions, rain and mud the community took an opportunity to say yes to peace; they had hope that the Yes vote would win. Sadly, terrifying news broke that night with the announcement that the No vote won in the plebiscite.
There was sadness, sorrow and pain in people’s eyes the next morning. Most of them couldn’t believe it because they hoped it was a chance for a new Colombia, a country without war and guns, a country free from violence and a country free from pain. This was shocking, but see the responses from some of the community members despite the No vote win.
“I am sad and disappointed,” says Lopez, 52. “I had hope that the yes vote would win, but I am sure there is a reason why God allowed it. I am tired of living a life full of fear and pain. I want this to end but I still have hope that the next time we vote, the yes vote will win.”
“I voted yes because I do not want my children or grandchildren to live a life without peace in the future,” says Mrs. Maza, 36. “I want them to enjoy and go to school and help others; I don’t want them to be displaced from one place to the other. I just want peace but I still have faith that one day change will come in this country, but I am deeply disappointment with the winning of the No vote.”
“I think that most people that voted for No did not suffer violence; most of them were not affected as much as we were. No matter how long the deal is going to take, I will still vote for Yes because I know how it feels to be a victim of violence and will continue hoping for a better Colombia.”
In conclusion, the people of Mampujan still want peace despite what they have gone through in the past. They say forgiveness is better than spilt blood, and we all wish for a good and better Colombia free from violence and full of peace.