Ramirez experiences – Umi, 21

Ramirez is a place where you meet real people. Their living condition is extremely tough, yet they were one of the most alive people I have ever met. So if you are going, be ready to meet people who will take a space in your heart forever after!

In the center of Ramirez, there are a big el barco pirata (the pirates ship) “William” made out of “garbage” by people there and people from La Redada. Children, and even adults (maybe!) can play on it and on top of the ship you can look out to the city of Bogota. I got to experience few of the activities out of many that are happening in Ramirez. We had a soccer game where everyone could join. One after the other, many young people from the community came to join the game. It was the best way to meet people. You can even live comment for the game in your own language. And then I got to see the community garden they are developing. Some of us cooked lunch for everyone at the community. It was cooked in the open fire, and it was one of the best pasta I ever had.

I learned so much within such a short day from the people I met especially from the young people. I really wanted to talk with them, but I speak almost no Spanish, so they had to be very very patient with me. They spoke really slow for me and repeated so many times until I could understand (or someone could help us). I was maybe the first Japanese they met, and for sure the first Asian in a wheelchair they’ve ever met. But really, what I learned was that the difference between us does not create any distance between us.  The best thing you can do when you want to know about other people is, to let other people know about you.

Some of the houses in the community is build on a slope, and they may be washed away when a heavy rain comes next time. The situation is something that I have never experienced in my life. I can learn about the situation, but it will not make me understand about how they feel. However, even what I have experienced in my life is very different, and I will not be able to completely understand how it is for them, I think they and I share one thing. By being in a wheelchair, people have felt sorry for me, and some people felt pity for me. But those feelings will not change anything for me, and make me feel unhappy. I think what connects people are genuine curiosity and desire to learn about each other. And those sorry and pity feelings just get in the way of making connection. I love activities in Ramirez by La Redada crew because they are fun and allows you to really be with people. I hope you have a great time and make great connection with people!


Umi, 21


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