After a long weekend due to Sacred Heart day (observed ten weeks and a day after Easter Sunday) made even longer by Survivor Corps country director Jairo and I feeling under the weather, I have arrived at my first day working at the Survivor Corps Office. Though not much to do yet because Jairo is still sick, I’m getting to know the partner organizations through their websites and working on the Advocacy Project work plan. I have now been in Bogotá for a week and getting to know the city. I met some friends from my hostel and have been touring the city with them. I have also been able to secure a rustic one story apartment in a mini-fortress of apartments. I chose to live in the old colonial center of the city, La Candelaria, which is known for the Museo Botero, the Plaza de Bolívar (where the seat of the Congress and Supreme Court are located), the Centro Cultural de Gabriel Garcia Márquez, great Colombian restaurants, the boho scene, and theatres. The Presidential residence called Casa de Nariño is also nearby. When I tell bogotanos (residents of Bogotá) where I live, though, they raise an eyebrow and say “that’s an area rich in culture, but be careful.” Therefore, I do not go out at night at all. I have a lovely place to live, though, so I don’t mind too much.
The Survivor Corps office is a shared space with a law firm in the business area of Bogotá. The lawyers and paralegals in the office are so friendly. Here’s a (boring) video of the traffic outside of this building. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv2kO4YN4CQ The street that is parallel to the right side of the video is where the Survivor Corps office is located. Jairo works as a consultant for the World Bank in the building where this video is being shot. Today, the lawyers and I had lunch in the conference room together and chatted about the recent DC metro disaster, touched briefly on the Colombian conflict, talked about my experience living and volunteering in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro last year, and the different types of crime you’ll find in the favelas, DC, and Bogotá. They were pretty surprised of the contrast between crime in the favelas and in Bogotá. Petty crime is under strict control in the favelas to avoid police intervention which leads to violent gunfights at the very least. Here in Bogotá, petty crime is rampant, but heavily armed drug traffickers do not control the city like they do in some favela communities. Even so, I like Bogotá more everyday!
Posted By Lindsey Crifasi
Posted Jun 25th, 2009