In a previous blogpost I wrote about the most famous Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, Gabriel Garcia Marquez  or Gabo as people call him. In this post I want to talk a little bit more about him. His stories and tales are so popular around the world, for many people outside Colombia and even for some Colombians. Many of those who live in big cities are not very aware about the state of the country they live in. His stories are therefor a mystery – where did his imagination come from? In one interview that a journalist did on him, Gabo was asked about that; where do you get the imagination for your stories from? His answer was very interesting, he said that he did not need to be imaginative or very creative, all he did was to tell the truth, stories that actually happened in Colombia, country where as he affirmed, reality overcome the fiction.


That is easily the case of La Merced, Caldas a little town in the top of a mountain in the middle of Colombia, apart from the rest of the country, this little place suffered the cruelty of the violence in the country, its inhabitants dropped down from 13000 people to 6000. There were three main reasons for this: massacres, forced displacement and lack of opportunities, this last one is still the biggest issue that people from La Merced faces.

By definition an opportunity is: “a situation or condition favourable for attainment of a goal”, and this is literally what many people around the world and specially in this place do not have, and if you do not count with this situations or favourable condition, it also means that there is no goals – there is no hope.


Because of this reason, this little town was the aim of some master’s degree students from the U.S., who wanted to do some community work with the locals, trying to build opportunities for the people. One of this students is a brilliant and fantastic person called Daniela Talero. She decided to go further on her university project, creating what nowadays is known as Junt@s (together) . With Colombian parents she was raised and born in the U.S., her love for this town and courage for helping people who needs it is not a very easy thing to explain, not many people here in Colombia understand all the sacrifice and all the hard work, that she has to do everyday in order to bring opportunities to people that at some point of their lives, was hopeless for a bright future.



The Jirafa Project wanted to get closer to such a beautiful example of conflict transformation, and what we found was a huge opportunity for CISV’ers to cooperated and work together with them,we believe that in order to have a local impact and actually reach the statement of purpose of CISV of having a more just and peaceful work, we need to find this kind of projects and join them. Junt@s is a foundation that nowadays is growing and getting stronger. It is a foundation that work with many of those females that at some point in the history of Colombia where very harmed by it.

Soon we will release a short documentary about the work and the commitment of those amazing woman who hosted and received us with a huge smile and one of the warmer hugs we have ever gotten.