Lindsey Crifasi

Lindsey Crifasi (Survivor Corps in Colombia): Lindsey received her BA in Spanish and International Studies at the University of Kansas. After graduation she was able to spend a year working with children with disabilities at a local elementary school. In the summer of 2008, Lindsey worked as a language teacher in the shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2009, she interned at Amnesty International. Lindsey graduated from American University with her Masters in International Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Surviving and rising above forced displacement

17 Aug

Marina and Sebastian DavidMarina was half an hour away from being forcefully recruited to the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrilla group.  Female guerrillas had told her their commander wanted Marina to “work” with him.  “Work” in this regard meant helping plan operations and serving as his personal escort. Marina fled to Medellín, just minutes before the female guerrillas returned to take her away, and found herself taken in by nuns in a convent. With help from the nuns, she found work at a daycare and went to school at night and on the weekends, eventually receiving her high school diploma.

The nuns sent her to the little town of San Francisco where a priest was to take on missionary work around Colombia. Marina joined him and upon return settled into life in San Francisco. At just 25 years old, she has worked her way up to Vice President of Renacer con Fe, the organization with which Survivor Corps collaborates on reconciliation projects. She is in charge of programs regarding the forcefully displaced in her area, of which group Marina herself is a member.

Marina has a lot on her hands; raising a 17 month old son by herself, maintaining a relationship with her family who is too afraid of violence recurring around San Francisco to visit her, dealing with the trauma of forced displacement, of almost having been forcefully recruited into the FARC, and worrying about the father of her son who is gone serving the obligatory military requirement.

Marina is a candid person, and that’s what I like about her.  She’s not afraid to breastfeed in public, wake me up from naps, ask me personal questions, or be on her own (or at least she hides it well).

Meeting Marina and seeing her rise above the stresses and dangers in her life is amazing to me.  One tries to imagine oneself in these situations and think, “What would I do in her shoes.”  I hope that I would be as determined as Marina to make life work and give back.

Posted By Lindsey Crifasi

Posted Aug 17th, 2009

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