Moving on to Medellin – February 24

After arriving late yesterday evening in Medellin, the class boarded the bus bright and early for an hour-and-a-half ride to the small town of Santa Fe de Antioquia. The views from the bus windows were gorgeous. (Photos coming soon…Internet is a bit slow tonight.)

Once we arrived, it was quite apparent that it was much warmer outside of the valley in Medellin. However, we just applied more “solar block” (Colombian for sunscreen) and walked through town to one of the houses of the Hogares Juveniles Campesinos Foundation.

We met with Father Jaime Alonso Quiceno Guzman, director for the foundation, who gave us an introduction to the organization and its mission.

The foundation is a not-for-profit that started in 1963 for the comprehensive education of the family and promotion of rural youth and farmer communities of the country, under a concept of sustainable rural education. While most of their 85 homes in 12 different communities around Colombia have small plots of land to allow for food production, the house we visited did not have one so they concentrate on two other activities – fruit pulp production and a textile operation.

Sister Lia runs the home in Santa Fe de Antioquia where 25 girls from 17 different rural communities live for 10 months each year while they attend the local public school. The girls range in age from 10 to 18.

While most of the girls were at school, we did have the opportunity to learn about both the fruit pulp production and the textile operation from some of the young ladies who demonstrated the processes for us.

Some interesting facts from the visit:

  • By 2015, the foundation reached 6,432  children and youngsters of low economic resources from 3,332 rural families.
  • The families that send their children to the program pay a small portion (to be invested) either in money, work or in-kind.
  • The rest of the funding comes from public sector, donors and income from the farms and other production (fruit pulp and textiles).
  • The foundation worked with Goodwill Community Foundation to set up computer labs in their homes for the students to use.
  • The agricultural education centers around organic farming practices and the foundation has published its own videos and books for the students to use.

You can learn more about the foundation at their website: www.hogaresjuvenilescampesinos.org.

After our visit, we walked back through the town square to the Hotel Mariscal Robledo to have lunch in yet another wonderful setting. The hotel featured decor from the old Hollywood era complete with movie posters, antique cameras and much more.

Once we arrived back in Medellin, we had a free evening to explore the city. Many joined our local guide, Danny, for a bus tour of the city, while others took a run and others relaxed at the hotel.

Tomorrow morning we are off to Bogota on the last leg of our international experience (and hopefully faster Internet so photos can be added to this post).