Leaving footprints

This photo was taken about 3 years ago before I left Colombia. That little house in the background was my parents’ farm. Because of the armed conflict we had to leave everything behind when I was 14 years old. We have never been able to get it back.

Years later I went with my dad and my niece to visit it. I really like going there. I miss my house a lot, as well as the land and being there with my dad. It brings back a lot of memories.

At that time, my dad was paying the coffee bank for the farm, and when we had to leave, the bank auctioned it off and now someone lives there. Now my parents live in Pereira and they have never been able to get used to it.

My dad has been waiting 15 years for compensation as victims of the armed conflict. Nothing has come out, it’s a very long process. There are so many people waiting for the same thing that there is not much help. But you have to have hope and dreams.

The opportunity came up to start a chicken farm with my husband. The day we were going to start, the person who was going to be our business partner, was in trouble with the police and got arrested!

We were left with all these chickens, and I had no idea what we were going to do, but I told my husband “we can quit our jobs to take care of the farm” and I went to live in the countryside. I didn’t understand much about it, but it wasn’t going to be too big for me to raise chickens!

It was a nice and hard experience because it reminded me a lot of my childhood when we were on the farm with my parents, but at the same time very hard because I had to do everything alone. As a result, my relationship ended and a lot of money was lost. 

I am one of those people who when I want something, I set my mind to it and want to see it through to the end. I learned a lot of things. I felt very lonely, but at least other people supported me along the way.

I got that butterfly tattoo two years ago when I decided to go to Chile, with my sister, but I could not settle down there. I let my ex-partner convince me to set up that chicken business and I came back two months later, desperate to leave. I didn’t like Chile but the truth is that I have always had very good luck, I arrived and worked with a lady who had a dressmaking workshop. I returned to Colombia by bus on a six-day trip.

I got the tattoo because when I was a child on the farm, I got a scar on my arm playing with my sister on a wire fence. My brother went up to pick some guavas and when he fell out of the tree, he tore his arm very badly and I tore my arm trying to get him out! I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo to cover myself up but I was scared.

I love butterflies because I like to be free, I don’t want my wings to be clipped and not be able to fly.

When I arrived in Spain, I brought my 17-year-old son with me but with the pandemic and the lockdown, he didn’t want to stay and went back to Colombia to be with his father. The two of us have lived alone together all our lives because I separated when the boy was about a year and a half old.

I would like to go back home, but not for now, I have a goal and dreams, although there are times when I do feel very lonely. I have never been far from home, never, and even less from my son.

It was very hard when he wanted to leave but I can’t force him, he’s a big boy now, I think he knows what he’s doing, and he can take his own decisions. I had to understand that children are not forever.

I got that tattoo when he left. I’ve always considered myself a warrior woman. I’m not afraid of anything and I want to fight for the infinite number of things I want to do. It’s the half-face of a lion with a mane, flowers, and an arrow pointing downwards.

Me now

I love animals and that cat lives at home with us, I took it at the weekend. It inspires me with tenderness and tranquility.

My Grandparents

My dream is to give them everything because they gave everything to me. Despite everything they have been through and that they didn’t give me life, they will always be my parents. They taught me to be who I am, to be a good woman, my principles. If I am here where I am, it is thanks to them that I didn’t take a bad path. I love them with all my heart.

I really like this photo, I love motorbikes and I never thought I would have the opportunity to ride one of these. It belongs to my partner and he lends it to me to go out for rides.

Spain is a very beautiful country and I have met people who are very helpful and make me feel at home. Where I live, most of them are Colombians and they all have their own stories, we are in a situation where we all help each other with everything. It’s difficult but for now we have to put up with it a little while I achieve my dream, which is to be able to give my parents a house. 

After they lost their farm, they go from house to house paying rent, they don’t have a stable life. And I suffer a lot because of that. I want them to sleep peacefully. They have already worked hard, now it’s our children’s turn. There are 6 of us, 3 men and 3 women. I am here in Spain, my brother and sister are in Chile. The three of us want to achieve this dream.

The Lion is like strength, being brave and not letting myself be stopped by anything despite adversity. The arrow is that I want to go on, I don’t know where it ends, it has an infinity. I want to continue with that strength, with that desire to fight and move forward, but with courage.

I’m the smallest, but the strongest (verraca as we say in Colombia). There are moments when I forget that I’m strong, but that happen to all of us, that’s totally human and you have to embrace it. Don’t punish yourself. We are human beings, we are not machines, we have emotions, we have a heart and we have to find the balance, like that pendulum in the tattoo.

Despite all the things that have happened to us, we have the strength to keep fighting for something we want.