So I escaped the boat for 36 hours in Panama to fly back to the US. Lucky for me my mom and dad had just returned as well from Brrrrr Boston, and we had a really nice express visit. I can’t say it enough, that there is no better place than home when it comes to internet and obviously pork tacos with fried eggs and salsa verde…but I digress. It’s been a bit of a challengs to get a decent connection to post properly…so back to the deets of our visit in Columbia….
Upon our arrival into the port of Santa Marta, we were greeted by the Columbian Maritime Police. We weren’t in any trouble, come on now…just the local officials giving the World ARC Fleet a friendly welcome. I really don’t have much memory of the passage from St. Lucia, as I was just a bit seasick and slowly recovering from the flu. (Let’s hear it for flying over the holidays and breathing in the recycled air!! Whoop Whoop!)
WARC had a fantastic program in Columbia sponsored heavily by Marina Santa Marta. Bus tours of the city, a full day beach party and luncheon in their national park, visit to the local school we helped to sponsor, and much more. WIDAGO took the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the city, into the mountains, and along the beach as we whipped along in the helicopter, sometimes only 20-30 off of the deck. If you didn’t catch the movie, here’s the link: HELI-TOUR
Highlights from the beach party included a classic tug-o-war, local food fare of grilled meats and rice, and a rowdy cricket match with homemade paddles? Bats? I’m not sure what they are called, but I now know you are supposed to take it with after you hit the ball, rather than flinging it across the beach, possibly endangering the lives of others.
We visited a small local school in Santa Marta. Whoa. They have been operating with private funding for the past 15 years or so, graduating just over a hundred students with an emphasis on the arts and the peace movement in Columbia. The walls were cinderblock, floors poured concrete, and the ceiling just some corrugated metal with gaps letting in the rain. Just last year were they finally able to finish construction so the children could have a toilet. Even though it may have seemed dire to me, the students, staff, and teachers were fabulously positive and encouraged by the progress, albeit slow, they are making in the lives of these kids. The smallest things can make the biggest difference.
Finally, we took the chance to head up river into the jungle and visit an indigenous indian village. Living in the circular huts, the men chew coco leaves & sleep in hammocks, while the women soak up positive energy from Mother Earth sleeping on their floor mats. No coco leaves for the ladies. We had lunch and found ourselves transported back to Buckingham, VA living as we grabbed a cold beer, an inner tube, and floated back down the river. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.