Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia

The New Face of Colombia- La cara nueva de Colombia, is an exhibition whose theme is change. Today as never before Colombia, is going through an extraordinary period of change social, political and cultural. The aim of this exhibition is to highlight those changes, one might say to look at the new faces and visions of the country and its people through the variety of stories told by the participating artists using their own particular mediums of expression.

And for this reason, we get to talk to Colombian artist Omar Castañeda (known for hsi work with panela) and art curator Sandra Higgins (interviewed here on Ep117) on the line from London about this new collective.

The exhibition will be held over the three floors of the Art Bermondsey Project Space Gallery, a new not-for-profit creative platform promoting the fusion of art, photography and culture located in the vibrant area of Bermondsey in London.

Each artist in his or her own way provides a different take on that story of change and the New Face of Colombia will include works by Omar Castañeda, Piers Calvert, Gwen Burnyeat, Claudia Fischer, Maria Cárdenas, Lorena Cervera Ferrer and selected guest artists to be announced.

Tune in, or better yet if you are in London - be sure to go to the event!

Direct download: RCC_160-2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm EDT

In Episode 159 we take a short breather from the political upheavals taking place in Colombia and get South African journalist Jacqui de Klerk on the line from her adopted home in Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast.

Wiith Jacqui, we talk about the environmental issues affecting Colombia's Caribbean and focus in particular on the Cienaga Grande. The Ciénaga Grande is one of Colombia’s most surreal places as the inhabitants of this large inland wetland live in a town built on stilts – Nueva Venecia. But ‘New Venice’ is not palatial, rather a menagerie of palafitic wooden huts where the only way locals can reach the most essential of services is by canoe

But all is not well in this coastal setting. Two of the biggest environmental catastrophes of the Ciénaga Grande are the massive mortality of the mangrove forest and the significant decline in fishery resources. The major factor responsible for these is the disruption of the natural movements of water between the Magdalena River, Ciénaga Grande, and the Caribbean.

The disruption began more than a century ago when farmers needing water to irrigate their crops, began to re-direct and block the natural flow of small tributaries, and the Magdalena entering the Ciénaga Grande – unintentionally modifying the rivers’ original shape and reducing the flow of fresh water into the lagoons.

Tune in to hear about this issue firsthand.

Direct download: RCC_159.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09pm EDT

In an intensely personal and powerful interview, Marcia Engel shares with us the story of the discovery of her adoption, her long and heart-wrenching search for her biological family and her quest now to reunite adoptees with their families.

As a two-year-old girl Marcia was brought to the Netherlands where she grew up with her adoptive parents and this was not always easy, to say the least. And the story behind her adoption will shock you to the core.

"When I was a little girl I was often sad, I felt different, misunderstood. At that time I didn’t even know that I was adopted. Only at the age of 11 my adoptive mother told me. It was as if the ground beneath my feet disappeared. I began even more to struggle with my identity and questions like 'Who am I?’ and ‘What is my existence for?’ kept running in my head.

To get some answers about my roots, I started searching for my biological parents, so I could continue with my life. What followed was a difficult search for many years in which all doors remained closed until I went to pay. Then suddenly I found my parents within four months...

So much effort and so much money to find my own parents! The right to have contact with his parents is a right that every child should be given! At that moment I thought to myself: this should be different, I am going to help people. And this should go beyond searching for birth relatives. I want to make people aware of their rights and opportunities.

Now, Marcia runs Plan Angel which has helped more than 40 adoptees find their biological parents in Colombia. She is also trying to raise funds in order to register the DNA of as many as 300 Colombian couples whose children were taken for adoption.

Check out her website and donate some money to help

Direct download: RCC_158.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:04am EDT