Last week Case and I spent a night in El Jordan. It’s where a paramilitary group was based years ago, and the population lived completely under their control. Very few people who didn’t live there visited, and even teachers refused to work there. We arrived on Saturday with a group of young journalists, not knowing what to expect. Here is what greeted us:
As the night went on, another group started providing entertainment. This was a group of mostly teenagers from the rough neighborhoods in Medellin who go out to the campo to perform and, in doing so, help people take back the control and comfort of their public spaces. They had a clown on a unicycle, and guys spitting fire.
As the night went on, Casey and I became celebrities. Kids kept asking us to say a few words in English, and when we told one kid we had lived in New York (or really anything trendy we had done) he burst out screaming (unfortunately, right in our faces).
Finally, the night finished with a peace-building ceremony, filled with chants about confidence, and candles and kids. It was beautiful.