This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Settling into Barrancabermeja

posted by Tim Nafziger on 01/13/08 at 05:38 PM

It’s been a week since I arrived here at the CPT house here in Barrancabermeja. In some ways it hasn’t changed much since I was here three years ago. The plants on the patio transplanted from the river banks of the Opon have aged a bit. But there’s still a rota on the fridge for cooking and a chart in the front room for morning prayers. And the temperature still hangs around 95 degrees with a few exceptions.

A generation of full timers has come and gone. A number of those who were new when I was on the team in early 2005 finished up their terms in December. But there are some familiar faces as well along side new and very capable ECAPeros who have joined the team.

In Barrancabermeja, the team has strengthened their accompaniment of Colombian civil society organizations like the Organización Femenina Popular, whose president recently had her home ransacked. Other organizations received anonymous threats by emails and letters along with a verbal accusation from a paramilitary leader for their human rights work. In response, CPT published urgent actions and showed their support locally in a variety of ways.

In the first week, Charletta and I have focused on orientation, reading up on what the team has been doing in the last three months and learning team procedures. I also helped to publish the teams Human Rights Report for 2007 on the CPT Web site. It is a compilation of the human rights abuses that the team documented in their various accompaniment areas in 2007. Reading through it is a good way to familiarize yourself with the situation here in Colombia and the work of the team here in the Magdalena Medio Region.

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