This past weekend in the campo, we continued to work on our survey and spent Saturday night in one of our case study villages – Santa Ana, Granada.
Santa Ana was considered the epicenter of the conflict in Eastern Antioquia between 2000 and about 2006. It was strategically located, leading guerrilla and paramilitary groups to fight over the small town center and the surrounding rural areas. By 2006, of the nearly 1,000 people who had lived in the town center, four people remained – three old women with no where else to go and the priest. Now over 100 families have returned. Although the town square continues to be a bit shabby (and is of course often covered in horse shit and cow piss) it is lively on the weekend, with children playing, music blasting, and empanadas sizzling.
There are no hotels in Santa Ana so Jake and I stayed at the “Casa Cural” or “The Priest’s House,” which is attached to the church. When we walked into our room, a plaster, oversized baby Jesus (with an impressive head of hair for his young age) was keeping the bed warm for us. I cringed when Jake asked the priest, “Where is Baby Jesus going to sleep?” Fortunately, the priest got the joke and laughed.
While in Santa Ana we conducted five interviews and also got to peruse the church archives which hold the registry of all baptisms, marriages, and burials in the village since 1967. We found some interesting trends that revealed the extent to which Santa Ana suffered from the conflict. The records of burials actually stops in 2004 with a note from a visiting bishop that says:
“Numbers 584-641 are missing because of the situation of public order in Santa Ana and because the great majority are violent deaths and frequently there is no one here to record adequate information for this record.”
Don’t worry, dear blog readers, things are fine in Santa Ana now, and our case study is nearly finished so we won’t be spending any more nights there. Also, before leaving we bought a few rosaries and donated some pesos to the church, so we left in good standing with Baby Jesus.