After Walk2gether entered Colombia, Henry Flores, director of the CFCA Communication Center in El Salvador, contacted Judith Bautista, project coordinator for Bogota, Colombia, to see how the walk is going.
How was the experience of Walk2gether entering Colombia?
It was very exciting. It was Saturday, and I was in company of Isabel, another CFCA-Colombia staff member. We did not expect the walk to arrive until the next day. We were at the border, reviewing some plans and, suddenly, we turned toward the Venezuelan side of the border and saw a group of people with traffic vests and flags, and Bob was leading them. I got really excited, they were singing and we started singing back. It was incredible, emotional. All of us from the CFCA team in Colombia, about 60 people, walked to meet them. We laughed, hugged each other. There was joy, smiles and tears, this was an unbelievable moment for me.
Did the Walk2gether group have any problem crossing the border?
They did not have any problem entering Colombia. One thing we were told by the border authorities is that they needed us to keep informing them of the location of the walk every other week so they could be alert.
How was it for you to work with the CFCA Venezuela team to organize the walk?
It has been great! They are a great team: hard-working women and very close to their communities. The project coordinator in Venezuela, Sunilde, and I have an excellent relationship, when we saw each other at the border we both cried, and it was hard to say goodbye.
Sunilde and I have a lot in common. We both share the same spirit for CFCA, the same values, and we both enjoy working with the sponsored members of CFCA. Our dream of finding options for our communities is something that unites us. She is a woman who has done much for the communities in Venezuela.
Sunilde shared with me the rough moments they experienced in Venezuela while walking. In some places, people, in general, understood about the walk, but some who didnít understand were rude to them.
So, working with the Venezuelan team gives me a sense of admiration because in spite of all their challenges, they are doing so much good for the students, families, communities, etc. Their sponsored children and elderly are people with brave hearts.
What is the feeling of the CFCA Colombian team of welcoming the walk?
Looking at the walkers crossing into Colombia is something that we were dreaming about for a long time. In Colombia, we are excited and happy, hearing our voices united in song with the voices of the Venezuelan team was beautiful.
Ending one section of the walk and beginning a new phase is admirable. The feeling is something hard to describe, it is something that you feel in your heart and soul.
Seeing both flags, Colombian and Venezuelan, waving in the middle of the border between both countries, was like being in limbo, where nothing else mattered. I remembered that borders can be drawn by the men but, in spite of them, CFCA reaches across, like a big family, and words are inadequate to describe this feeling.
The flag of unity of CFCA tells us that something very special is happening in the world and in all of the countries where Walk2gether visits.