Guest Roaster Aliza Amlani shares her experiences from Colombia.
A few weeks ago I began reading “Writing on the edge”, a book about Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF) missions Worldwide. One reporter was in Phnom Penh in Cambodia, an area rife with malaria and unexploded landmines planted by the Khmer Rouge. As I sat sipping on a cup of tea in the comfort of my own home, I wondered what it must be like to put yourself in such a dangerous situation. Three weeks later that is exactly what I did.
I have been living in Bogotá for 3 months now, working at an NGO. One evening a call from a colleague informed me that we were going to carry out monitoring and evaluation of projects in the department of Meta, only a few hours by car from Bogota but a place that feels like a world away. It is well known as the “home” of the FARC, the left wing guerillas that have terrorized citizens for decades. Cocaine plantations and a close proximity to the capital make Meta a hotspot for guerilla activity. Like where there is smoke there is fire, where there are guerillas there are paramilitaries, the deadly opposition right wingers. These two groups fiercely battle for land and cocaine plantations, destroying anything and anyone that stands in their way. Read More »