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Colombia 2020



At day’s end, as the chill of the high mountains starts to settle over Salento, old friends meet to share their day. Warmed by the heat still radiating from the buildings’ walls, some relax outside. Others gather in the bars to play billiards, drink coffee or beer, and sing songs that were popular when they were young. If you enter the bar, you’re invited to join in. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the words; by your presence and by joining in song, you too become a friend.
Jo Thomson © 2014

República de Colombia
Northern South America

Area 440K mi2; 1.1M km2

Arable 1%

Population 48.2M (110/mi²; 44/km²)

Gov’t Presidential republic

Capital Bogotá (10.6M metro)

GCP/capita $14,400

Unemployment 9.3%

In poverty 28%


Life expectancy 76 yrs

Infant Mortality 13/1K live births

Literacy 95%

Languages Spanish (official)

Religions Roman Catholic 79%, Protestant 14%, other 2%, unspecified 5%

Education 7% of GDP (76th)

Education 5% of GDP (92nd)

Military 4% of GDP (20th)

Labor Force Agriculture 17%, industry 21%, services 62%

PCVs 1961–1981, 2010–present CURRENT: 98, Education, Community Economic Development; TTD: 4,954

Adult Books

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa

Paperback: 417 pages
Published: June 24th 2003 by Harper (first published June 5th 1967)
Original Title: Cien años de soledadLanguage: English
ISBN-10: 0060531045
ISBN-13: 9780060531041
Literary Awards: Premio Internacional de Novela Rómulo Gallegos (1972), Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger for Roman (1969)

The brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as "magical realism."


One of the world’s most famous novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, blends the natural with the supernatural in on one of the most magical reading experiences on earth.

"What is your favourite book, mum?" How many times have my children asked me that, growing up with a mother who spends most of her time reading - to them, alone, for work, for pleasure - or looking for new books in bookstores wherever we happen to be.
"I can't answer that, there are so many books I love, and in different ways!"
"Just name one that comes to mind!"
And I said, without really knowing why, and without thinking, "One Hundred Years Of Solitude!"

This novel taught me that chaos and order are two sides of the same medal - called family life. It taught me that sadness and love go hand in hand, and that life is easy and complicated at the same time. It taught me that many wishes actually come true, but never in the way we expect, and most often with a catch. It taught me that sun and rain follow each other, even though we might have to wait for four years, eleven months and two days for rain to stop falling sometimes. It taught me that there are as many recipes for love as there are lovers in the world, and that human beings are lazy and energetic, good and bad, young and old, ugly and beautiful, honest and dishonest, happy and sad, all at the same time, - together and lonely.
It taught me that we are forever longing for what we do not have, until we get what we long for. Then we start longing for what we lost when our dreams came true.
This novel opened up the world of absurdities to me, and dragged me in like no other. In each member of the Buendía family, I recognise some relation, or myself, or both. Macondo is the world in miniature, and wherever I go, it follows me like a shadow. It is not rich, peaceful, or beautiful. It is just Macondo. No more, no less.
My favourite book? I don't know. There are so many. But I don't think any other could claim to be more loved than this one.


Kids' Books

Why Chibchacum Carries the World (based on a Chibcha myth)
Retold by Sandy Sepehri. Illustrated by Brian Demeter

Format: 32 pp.; col. ill.
ISBN: 978-1600442155
Age Range: 9-14 years
Publisher: Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Publishers, 2007

Relates the story of a struggle between the gods Bochica and Chibchacum and the creation, fall, and repentance of the Chibcha people.


Film: Ciro y Yo (Ciro and Me)
Genre: Documentary
Director: Miguel Salazar
Date of Release: January 2018
Country: Colombia
Language: Spanish
Run Time: 11 minutes
Filming Locations: La Macarena, Meta, Colombia, and Bogota, Colombia

Summary:Ciro Galinda was born on August 29th, 1952, in Colombia, and wherever he’s gone, war has found him. Ciro’s life sums up Colombia’s history: like so many Colombians, Ciro is a survivor. He has run away from war for more than 60 years and now dreams of living in peace.
Ciro y Yo is a journey to memory, seeking to give words to sorrow; a journey similar to that of Colombia in times of peace: in a search to recover its dignity. It won first prize as Best Documentary at the 2018 Havana International Film Festival.

Reviews: As a university student ,documentary filmmaker Miguel Salazar met Ciro Galindo, a peasant from Natagaima, a town in the region of Tolima, Colombia. Salazar met him during an exploratory tour. Ciro assigned him one of his sons to be his guide in the zone, but soon after Salazar had to inform Ciro how his son had disappeared when falling into a high dark waterfall. Thus began a deep friendship and a story that Salazar followed step by step, until finally he found a way to show the life of Ciro Galindo, who for 65 years had lived a life affected by poverty and violence from landowners, emerald miners, the guerrillas, and finally the lethal alliance between the State and the paramilitaries. Ciro found himself displaced and homeless, his family decimated, surrounded by misery and desolation. But he never gave up. To this day, Ciro is still active in helping his people live with dignity. After a decades-long war, this is the drama of thousands of families in Colombia today, represented by a brave survivor whose motor was always the hope of finding peace and happiness.
—EdgarST, 25 December 2018


Oye Manita by Toto La Momposina


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