Barranquilla has been a great host so far, with sumptuous food and amazingly warm people. The impression with which we came, has transformed into a delightful experience. The rich culture and the amazingly aromatic coffee makes this place THE place to be.
But wait, there is a catch. All is not awesome when it rains in Barranquilla! Arroyos (intermittently dry creeks) can become dangerous. We were advised by our security officer to be alert and careful with arroyos when it rains and we all wondered if the warning held any merit. Everything looked so calm and peaceful.
But, things do change in a heartbeat. We were out last night for dinner and it started drizzling. When we came out after an hour, the streets had formidable water streams (reminds me of Bangalore lol), although it did not really rain at all! I wonder what happens when it really rains. And today I found this sign on the road.
Going back to what we came here for, on Monday we met our clients, the Agencia Colombiana para la Reintegración (ACR) team, and spent a day at their office in Barranquilla. This government agency office was different and all the employees greeted us with a bright smile. Of course learning ‘mi nombre es Khalid’ really helped. In the coming days I will pick up some more Spanish as Dani has been super kind to teach me some of it already.
The Colombian Agency for Reintegration (ACR) is a subordinate entity of the Presidency of the Republic of Colombia. It is in charge of coordinating, advising, and executing, in partnership with other public and private entities, the social and economic reintegration of the demobilized people from the Organized Illegal Armed Groups (OIAG).
It is really painful to hear the stories of how OIAGs have tormented the canvas of the society and comforting to see that agencies like ACR are relentlessly working on a solution despite all odds. We (Dani, Jordan and I) are fortunate and honored to be working with the ACR team and helping not just local society but entire Colombia change for the better.
After two days of unlimited experience-rich moments, I am looking forward to the rest of my assignment. Keep reading and Hasta Mañana!