Colombia House Building #2: First Day Impressions

Nainika ’24 and Elena ’25 share an impactful first day in Bogota.

Today, May 31, we embarked on a graffiti tour around Bogota and explored an illegal art form that captures the history and culture of Colombia as well as illustrates the struggles that the citizens of Bogota face, including the violence from armed groups, political problems such as limited access to education, and the domestic abuse of women by their partners. One graffiti form that resonated with me depicted a tic-tac-toe board where the “x” was represented by two crossed guns and the “o” was represented by a bullseye. The squares were filled in until neither “x” nor “o” could win, revealing how violence will never win and how the guerilla groups in Colombia have been stuck in a violent conflict for decades and no one seems to have the upper hand.

-Nainika ’24

After the colorful and vibrant graffiti tour, we marched over to a photography exhibit called  El Testigo which displayed numerous photos that depicted the ongoing internal conflict in Colombia. Many of the photos were devastating and horrifying, showing the many hardships that the people experienced during the war. The conflict in Colombia is very complicated in that there are many sides and many aspects that play into why the war started and why it still continues. A photo in particular that stayed with me portrayed a mother and a child, and the child was carrying a chicken. The child and mother had to leave their hometown due to violence and they could only bring a limited amount of belongings with them. The child was carrying the chicken in hopes that they could give it to someone else. This photo was heartbreaking as it displayed the innocence of children and how violence and war takes away their childhood.

-Elena ’25