Monday, June 11, 2007

The Reason for a the family reunion in Bogotá…

...Is easy to answer. Almost 33 years ago this Dutch couple (here seen standing on a granite rock somewhere in Surinam), was in Jerusalem, standing in front of the Wall, the Holy Wall that is, of which people fill up its cracks with little pieces of paper with a wish or a prayer written on it. The wishes are stuck into the cracks as deep as possible so they won’t fall out and thus be granted.
And so, being true to this tradition, the woman of this couple (lady on the right named Lidie, short for Alide) stuck a little itsy tiny bit of paper firmly into the Holy Wall, with the wish they wanted to adopt a child. They had already placed many requests at Adoption homes but hadn’t had any answer what so ever.
But on return from their journey to the Holy City with its Holy Wall, where many Holy Wars had been fought, of which the people of the Holy Land can’t seem to get enough of, this couple found a letter in the mailbox, origin: Colombia, sent by: Inez, head of La Casa de la Madre y el Niño. This was unexpected, and everything they had hoped for. And hopefully the letter brought good news.
Surely Alide and her husband Conrad must have anxiously opened it, ecstatic to read there was a 7 months old baby waiting for them in Bogotá and they were asked to come to take it away and bring it home to Holland.
They flew to Colombia as soon as possible where they met with Inez who handed over a baby called Fernando Antonio Zea, seen here 32 years later, 70 kilo’s heavier, together with the same Inez, seen here unpacking his gift, who had last seen him 32 years ago in the arms of Lidie and Conrad walking out the front door of La Casa de la Madre y el Niño, as newly parents and their wish granted. All thanks to that little piece of paper that probably still is somewhere in that wall pressed against and surrounded by many millions of other wishes and prayers written on little pieces of paper.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Other Reason for the family reunion in Bogotá…

…Is more or less a repetition of the first reason, for it is again thanks to Alide and Conrad, who after 4 years after having adopted their first son again went to Bogotá, again met with Inez and again walked out the front door of La Casa with a second child.
This baby called Jeronimo Pico (seen here 28 years later, in front of La Casa de la Madre y el Niño, standing next to his parents; expression shows he’s a little hungry) was about 3 weeks old, very round, very good-looking and very sweet; only when it became hungry was his dark side revealed. With rage and brute force he would kick at anything around him, usually ending up having kicked off all his clothes. His new mother would then calm down this round naked little roaring baby by simply feeding him the bottle. That always did the trick.

So for the oldest son Fernando, now known as Marius, it was after 32 years to have returned to the place where he had spent the first 7 months of his life. For his parents Alide and Conrad it was 28 years since they last visited La Casa, and for the youngest son Jeronimo, also known as Boudewijn, it was seven year ago.
What an experience it was: emotional for the mother, revealing for the father, comforting and refreshing for the sons and eye opening for all.
The Casa has been in business for over 60 years, founded by Inez’s family. They’ve seen thousands of thousands of children come and go. Some stayed for a few weeks others for more then ten years. One could say the younger the luckier, the less complicated for a child. These remarks are based on speculations mostly.
More important then age is the parent’s ability of parenting and the sincerity of their love they feel and give. Every family with children, adopted or not, have their complications. Every child gets scared, some from wounds obtained earlier in life than others. But it is with care of the parents, blood related or not, how these wounds heal and affect the rest of the children’s lifes. If it is done careless, i.e. with a lack of love thus understanding, the wounds heal badly, if at all.
The effect of such parenting can take many different forms, but generally speaking the child doesn’t recognise love, or flees for it and rather lets anger take the upper hand, just like they’ve unconsciously learned from the parents. But life itself is a school for everybody no matter what age. And that is what the reunion in Bogotá taught this family of four. And the lesson learned in Bogotá was that they all knew the only thing they could do, was to be happy with each other and with what they got. For they hadn’t lived a bad live so far, for god sake, they where still alive, able to go on a trip to a special place, all together: a place where the family is deeply connected, that is like a womb, a place where they jointed together for the first time. There was no other choice then be thankful for it all. There had never been another choice. There had never been a choice.

So after the brothers had written a few words of gratitude in the book in which only the adopted children were allowed to write (Conrad has kept secret what he’s writing on that piece of paper, meant for the book aswell) they said Inez goodbye and had a delicious Ajiaco soup, satisfying the soul once more, and, not less important, gratifying Jeronimo’s need to eat and fill his stomach again before kicking off his clothes ending up butt naked. Luckily there are plenty of good restaurants to be found everywhere in Bogotá.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


"The City 2600 meters closer to the stars" is what it is also called. 9 Millions habitants live here, all from diffirent backgrounds: indians, mestisos, blacks, whites, yellows, and the few tourists walking around. One can see if the tourists walking around have been here for a while or have just arrived for the newcomers walk tensed, look around for anything supicious and hardly smile or greet. But if you, as a tourist, take a little time, say a week, to get to know the city and its people, you will feel no threats nor tension, only if you look for it.
It appears to me that Colombians, better said Rolos (people from Bogotá) have had a long period of very bad times behind them with the civil war, corruption, poverty, drugs and its drugwars, (that still continue today althought is seems to have entered a period of tranquility) that they don't want to act bad anymore. They have had enough and they don't want to live that downward spiral no more. That maybe one of the reasons why there are so many students walking around. And also for the policy that now is used in Bogotá: the poor people are not allowed to enter the city and are kept in places citypeople won't show up.
One of the 'barrios' where they live is called Ciudad Bolívar, in the South of Bogotá. Even though French, Canadian and Suisse fundations help to create a wellfare (health, food and education) in that area, it is unwise to enter it, let alone at night. Because like in every big City criminality flourishes at night. But in Bogotá it is more likely to encounter a gun instead of a nife, and if it is a nife it most likely will be part of a group of five to ten, twelf angry men. But don't let this scare you nor believe everything you read or hear; it might as well be a group of twelf foxy women ready to dance with you.
Around Latin-America Colombia is known as Locombia, Bogatá as Drogotá and the people are known for their wild parties and friendliness. They are curious, ask questions and are helpfull. They seem fearless but alegre, warm and willing to share what they can: food, shelter, drinks, knowlegde, anything. The countryside is endlesly versatile: from mountains and vulcanos with white summits to black and white beaches, jungle and desertlike areas. The land incredibly vertile displaying colours of all kinds. But one has to travel through it to get a glimpse of the beauty of the land and its people. Fearless and curious.

Saturday, April 7, 2007


San Pedro

"La Medicina" is what the indiginous people call this haluciganic tea made of the cactus San Pedro, or San Perdrito. It is used to help with whatever problem one has who takes it, with the guidance of a a so called Sabio, or Shaman. The cactus grows only at specific places close to fresh water like rivers or lakes.

One cuts only the green skin of the cactus and one boiles it for two days putting in the skin in the same water, as to create a high concantration of Mescaline.

Normaly the tea is consumed in ceremonies guided by the Sabio. A ceremony normally begins in the evening and lasts till the break of dawn. First all participants smoke tabaco to make contact with the spirit of San Pedro and ask for answers to whatever questions they have. It may be to find clarity in ones actions, or a cure for an illness or prosperity in ones work. Then the medicine is consumed followed by singing. While singing participants have to again focus on their personal questions. Followed by on other consumption of the tea, an other smoke, one last consumption, a "Limpo", a cleaning of the negative energy in the bodies of the participants and then a ceremonial meal.

If used correctly, it is used to obtain personal strenght in order to find answers, conscience or unconscience to the questions one has during such a ceremony.

Most people tend to forget this aspect of the ceremony and rely totally on the words and capacities of the Sabio, who most of the time ends the ceremony with a "Limpio", giving the people the idea that after the cleaning the can live there lives just like before, with the idea that they had a "Limpo", making them feel better without profound changes. Of course there are these who deal different with the effects of San Pedro and use it to learn about their lives and thoughts and starts over with new insights optained during such a ceremony