The most interesting place in Colombia

Leer en español When they first told me that I was going to live in Chocó, I cried. All I had heard about Chocó seemed exotic and dangerous – jungle, rain, armed groups, remote communities, mining, mercury contamination. I couldn’t imagine myself living there and thriving. I was wrong. I didn’t know that I was…

Three Moments of Exchange

Leer en español Living in Chocó is a constant exchange. I am continually observing and negotiating new practices, ways of thinking, and cultural norms while sharing myself with those around me. Here are three snapshots of these exchanges in my daily life. Juice Class Before arriving in Colombia, I had never really made juice or…

For an Istmina at Peace

Leer en español One Friday morning in October, we held a march with church members, students and teachers from local high schools to promote positive values in the city of Istmina. The plan was to begin at one of the high schools, continue the parade through the center of town, and arrive at the park…

The Two Sides of a Chocoano and Costeño Exchange

Leer en español One opportunity that we have as Seeders is to plan an exchange with the community of another Seeder, traveling with a person from our community. In May, my husband Giles and I traveled to the Caribbean Coast with Jabes, the director of the agriculture program of the Mennonite Brethren of Chocó, and…

Dear Istmina

Leer en español You are never still. Your streets pump with noise: chochos* rev their engines, bars blast beats until all hours, marauding megaphone voices try to sell us blenders, cell phone minutes, pirated DVDs. I fear I will never blend into your streets. Red hair and pale skin is usually the most interesting thing…