Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia

On episode 391 of the Colombia Calling podcast, we talk to the director and producer of a new and incredibly insightful and moving documentary entitled: La Casa de Mama Icha.

Decades earlier, Mama Icha moved to Philadelphia in the United States to help her daughter with the care of her grandchildren. However, she never lost sight of her hometown of Mompox, spending years sending money to build her dream house there. Now, at the end of her life, Mama Icha boards a plane and flies back to Colombia where she finds joy and heartbreak in her return to the place her heart never left.

On Episode 391 of the Colombia Calling podcast, we sit down and chat with the documentary's director Oscar Molina and producer Brenda Steinecke to explore the themes of identity, belonging and returning home from Philadephia to Mompox after 33 years away.

La Casa de Mama Icha gets its cinematic release in Colombia in selected CineColombia theatres on 2 September 2021 and will be shown on PBS in the US on 18 October, mark your diaries!

Direct download: RCC_391.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

A great deal is made of the urban regeneration of Medellin's infamous Comuna 13, and for good reason, but now that there's a "been there, seen this, done that," attitude towards this success story, with tourists arriving in their droves to view the graffiti, ride on the escalators and marvel at the strength of a community in the face of such adversity, is it time to extend this policy of regeneration and hope beyond the frontiers of but one nighbourhood?

Exploring the issues which arise around such a concentrated focus has led to an intrepid group of Colombians and Europeans resident in Medellin to explore this imbalance. After 130 interviews, six months of investigation and consultations, the result is a new exhibition entitled: ContraMiradas - Narrativas de la Periferia Urbana.

Austrian urbanist, Manuel Oberlader, resident in Medellin, put together a team to address this contextual issue which may define the city and started exploring outer-lying and lesser know districts of Medellin and nearby Bello, Antioquia. What resulted has been an empowerment of said districts and their populations, such as those of La Cruz, Santo Domingo and Granizal. Locals from these barrios were taught photography, filmmaking and more and their stories are those which are now on display in the EPM Biblioteca in Medellin.

Our newscast journalist Emily Hart was also involved in the setup of this exhibition and therefore she joins myself and Oberlader in discussing the essence of the displays and what the team behind Contra Miradas was trying to achieve.

Come and visit as the exhbition runs from 17 August -30 October 2021.

Many of you are resident in Medellin or often passing through the city, please stop in and visit the exhibition to support this initiative.

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Direct download: RCC_390.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

There's a humanitarian crisis taking place at Panama's southern border and in northern Colombia where thousands of migrants ranging from countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti and as far-flung as Congo, Syria and Nepal are lining up to cross the Darien Gap in the hope of some day reaching the United States of America.

On this week's Colombia Calling podcast, we have the honour of talking to Raul Lopez, project coordinator and Doctor Fabiola Pintado, both of Doctors Without Borders (Medicos sin Fronteras, Medecins sans Frontieres) at their location on the frontline in the town of Bajo Chiquito in Panama.

Lopez and Pintado speak to us about the awful state of the migrants emerging from the jungle after the 7-10 day trek of 60 miles through one of the world's most dangerous jungles. Women are raped, people are murdered, robbed, children washed away in turbulent rivers, people collapse from exhaustion are forced into being drugs mules and more. This is harrowing story of human suffering and is one which deserves to be widely heard.

Tune in and hear about an underreported tragedy at the Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama and the work of the MSF.

Direct download: RCC_389.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

It's no stretch of the imagination to agree with Glen Galindo's description of himself as a problem solver and educator as he has carved out quite the life for himself in serving Colombia from his home base in Colombian coffee zone's town of Chinchina, Caldas.

With Galindo's set up, you can launch your Colombia Experience by immersing yourself within the public school system as an assistant teacher where you can brush-up your Spanish and gain insight on what's it like to work as a teacher in Colombia; In the meantime, our team finds you long-term teaching contracts for your consideration,

In an upbeat conversation with Galindo, one cannot help but feel positive for the future in Colombia. Check out his websites:

Direct download: RCC_388.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

On episode 387, we pick up where we left off in Episode 386 and continue to talk to our anonymous sources from La Primera Linea (front line) of protests in Colombia. Speaking to us from Cali and Popayan, these youths speak about the importance of education and voting, how police reform should occur and how the Colombian government could better spend aid money from international governments which all too often goes towards the purchase of lethal weaponry for the Colombian police.

We hear from Colombian Monica Hurtado in the US speaking on the importance of helping Colombia and Colombians from overseas and that the 5 to 10 million colombians resident outside of Colombia must register to vote in the 2022 presidential elections. MCI also discusses the difficulty of registering to vote.

With MCI and Michael we also hear both in English and in Spanish the letter to Colombia, written by German tourist turned activist Rebecca Sprößer, who was deported last week being accused of participating in acts of terrorism and vandalism during the protests in Cali.

Tune in!

Direct download: RCC_387.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT