By John Fredy Arango, Unbound staff member in Medellin, Colombia
The Colombian government has been in conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest guerrilla movement, since the 1960s, as well as other armed groups. More than 50 years of violence has had an impact on people from all parts of the country. Unbound staff member John Fredy Arango reflects on the recent evolution of the conflict.
I was barely in my mother’s womb when the echoes of war were already shaking my body. I was born and grew up, I became a young man and I heard those sounds of war again, but this time they were stronger. I saw how they were numbing the hopes and neutralizing the dreams of those around me.
Sometime later I escaped from my youth and became an adult. I have the hope for peace imprinted in my mind. I am fortunate to be part of the Unbound Antioquia program team in Colombia. My coworkers and I, inspired by the strength of the Unbound sponsors, fight for peace from a different front — one that wishes to eradicate the enemies of poverty and exclusion, results of the war. We use the weapons of solidarity and friendship and the value of trust given to us by sponsors.
In Cuba on June 23, a bilateral ceasefire and laying down of weapons agreement was signed between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla movement, representing the beginning of the end of the oldest armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere, lasting more than 50 years.
I was able to see the smiles on the faces of so many of our sponsored families who, in spite of adversity, never lost hope. I immediately asked myself — why they never lost hope. It was then I understood that, for them, Unbound and the sponsors have been a shelter of hope in times of war.
For this, and so much more, thank you, sponsors, for breaking down the barriers of indifference, and for courageously fostering hope among our families.