Colombia Tierra Querida

By Maritzelena C.

When many people think of Colombia, they automatically think of drugs and war. "When people ask me about Colombia they have it in their heads that its just drugs and war and like really bad stuff but they are just kind of blinded by that and they don't take it in count that like its a really beautiful culture, the music, the food, the gotta get to know it before you just like put on a stamp on it." But there is another side to Colombia, one that is ignored because so many people focus on the negative.

Allyson A., a 15-year-old sophomore , remembers her homeland of Barranquilla, Colombia, fondly. She remembers, the carnivals, the delicious food, and most of all her family. She emigrated to the United States when she was just 8 years old. It was hard for her in school because she wasn’t used to the culture and the English language. She took ESL for awhile and that helped her a lot. Back at her old school, she was used to wearing uniforms and walking to school since there aren’t any school buses.
Stereotypes are also an issue for her. “...There are some people that just because I’m Latin they automatically think I’m Mexican...but I’m Colombian and there are different races than just Mexico..” She’s very proud to be Colombian and wants to teach others about the culture.
Unfortunately it’s very hard to attain a visa in Colombia so none of her relatives can visit, except for her grandmother. She’s first generation and although she loves Colombia, she would prefer to live in the United States because of all the opportunities that are offered here. She enjoys listening to Shakira and admires her for giving back to her country and wants to hopefully one day find a way to change Colombia for the better by helping children who aren’t as fortunate as her.
“I love Shakira!....Because she’s been so famous and she has really given back to where she came from and I hope I can do that one day, I mean I don’t think I’ll be famous but somehow I’ll help.”

When I asked her about her objects she responded with a smile. She was wearing a cool hat and a pretty bracelet that reminded her of Colombia. The hat was called a “Sombrero Voltiado” and many people in Colombia own one. She was also wearing a bracelet that she got at a street market in Barranquilla. It reminded her of how lucky she is to live in America.