Colombia is huge and as travelling via busses, it will take me several days to make it from Medellin to Bogota, moreover, because I will stop in various little towns. I like being on the road, especially, because those bus trips sometimes bring the most interesting stories.
One of the busses will take me from Salento to Rio Sucio, because of the bus if completely sold out, I’ll end up next to the bus driver, where the conversation starts.
Off we go for a three-hour drive on a non-pathed road, which turns out to be undrivable just a couple of years ago, not because of the road condition, which still makes you feel like being riding on a boat rather than on a bus, but because of the violence.
Before the peace act, between the Colombian government and the FARC, this road was the play garden of the guerrillas, according to the bus driver, the anxious glance in his eyes, makes me believe him.
He must be in the end of his 40s, born and raised in Rio Sucio. Sometimes the bus doesn’t even seem to fit the road, as it gets narrow and surrounded by threes and greenery. The bus climbs up the hills, like a worm against the flank of the mountain, with at one side the rocky and muddy hill and at the other side the longing valley with the outstanding view on the infinite greenery of the other mountains, row by row, by row.
I assume he must be the best bus driver in the world, the way he guides the bus over the bumpy muddy and rocky line that is supposed to be the road. His sight is limited to a few meters as the path turns and turns around its obstacles. Even more when the fog comes in and even the few available meters become covered up with a white curtain.
He continues the road, driving his bus as a horse, holding the steering wheel firmly and directing the vehicle from stone to stone, from hill to pit, avoiding too much mud or water that make it drift away.
Peace and War
Approaching Rio Sucio he makes a cross with his hands and mumbles a sound of gratitude to the lord. Another ride, he made it safe, not only in terms of rocks and mud, but also in terms of peace and violence.
I cannot imagine how only a couple of years ago this road would be a no go zone. For people as him, the peace agreement with the FARC must be a good thing, however the ones I talked to in Medellin were all very cynical. Eventually, fifty percent of the Colombians voted pro and fifty percent against the agreement.
Maybe it depends on the geographical position, on how affected one was by the FARC-members. Being affected on a daily basis by violence, might make you choose for peace, no matter what. It might be similar the the opinion of a man in Medellin about Pablo Escobar; and he was definitely against the agreement with the FARC.
He judged Escobar severely and considered him as a real criminal, because he grew up in Comuna 13, one of the main effected neighbourhoods in Medellin. He grew up with car explosions around the corner, and the fear of unpredictable violence of the drug cartels. He definitely does not understand why youngsters adore Escobar, unless because they haven’t experienced his violence. Maybe the same opinion can be formed on the crimes of the FARC; If you’ve been there, in the epicentre of violence, you just want it to stop.
But, I don’t know, I haven’t been there, and I have had a lot of luck of in live, never to had live in such a neighbourhood and never to have been confronted with this kind of dilemmas. I know I am lucky, and I don’t judge anyone taking this or another side in these discussions, because I don’t know at all. I only try to understand.