_At 8.30am we meet Nathalie and Gerald: they are taking us to visit their foundation that helps kids from very poor families in La Boquilla, which is basically a slum/ fishermen village in the outskirts of Cartagena. Robbert is writing an article on them. www.fundacionlavecina.com
They work with about 90 kids, mostly in primary school but they also help older ones with after school programs. Some of the kids are orphans, most are abused but I still saw big smiles on their faces at the foundation. Apparently violence and sexual abuse are very common in these poor areas. The foundation offers psychological support and mediation with the family and the community, which is now respecting them and slowly changing. They opened 5 years ago and now they have a nice clean environment, they offer regular primary school classes but also English and computer. They provide lunch for all the kids, some of which have no food back home. They have minimum overhead costs and they are able to run the foundation with only $120k per year. Donations to them are guaranteed to be well spent.
We went to visit the slum: the kids live in huts surrounded by trash and open air sewers, often there are floods... I leave the rest to your imagination. There's no trash collection here. According to statistics, Cartagena is the number one in the world for underage prostitution: to the point that baby girls sometimes are kept alive as an investment to support the family... It's horrible.
The interesting thing is that this slums are very close to high end resorts - the beach is nice here - and the local government instead of helping them is trying to kick them out of their 'homes' to build more luxury hotels...
We took a local bus back , we missed our stop and went all the way thru the mess of the city. Finally back in Getsemani, after a longed shower, we went out for dinner and found a great place: Ciudad Movil. It's a cultural center that offers art exhibitions, drinks, delicious pizza, and live performances. They promote local and international actors, musicians, and artists giving them a stage for their shows, indoor or in the nice back garden. Tonight there were several shows: mute comedians, colombian drummers and chilenian dancers. Really cool. Long life to the Cirque!
Walking around the center and by the popular touristy clubs I notice all this young girls with high hills and short skirts and they remind me of the sad stories from this morning.