Stories from loCombia

06/08/2018, Bogotà, Colombia, Lara writes:

Welcome to loCombia

Bogotá seen from above

Bogotá is a skein that unravels on the surface. It consists of real threads, in the many electric and Internet cables that overlook many streets of the city and in the dense bus network with a fast lane that connects the various areas of this great metropolis. And of imaginary threads, which are those that, if we pull to the end, tell us the origins of the people who live in the Colombian capital.

The city is immense and hosts people who come from all parts of the State, the continent and the world. Culturally it is very lively, from museums, such as the Gold museum or the Botero museum, to indipendent cinemas and theaters. Excellent musicians give soul to the streets with their Latin rhythms. Street actors catalyze the attention of pedestrians with their performances. Urban art transforms a wall into a forest. The streets are identified with numbers and, to avoid getting lost, the best point of reference are los Cerros Orientales, the mountain range that watches over the city.

Los Cerros Orientales seen from la Candelaria, Bogotá

Bogotá is complex. The constant sense of insecurity that it transmits is expressed in the distrustful attitude of its inhabitants: backpacks and bags always in front, cell phones always in your pocket. Few smiles.
The flag of Colombia gives us an interesting starting point to better understand this city and, maybe, this country. The yellow, which occupies two thirds of the flag, stands out on red and blue. They are all primary colors, a metaphor for a highly stratified society.The capital is divided into six estratos: from the first one (low-low) to the sixth (high). The estrato six looks like another city. Even people are different. In Europe we are not used to such obvious social disparity that hits you in the face like a slap, without apologizing.

Bogotá is a city of contrasts. The immobility and the silence of the mountains collide with the chaotic life, the traffic, the noise. Skyscrapers, which host a myriad of offices and luxury hotels, rise in front of those who, as a bed, have the asphalt. Heaven and hell, there is no purgatory here. On every corner there is a fast-food and in every trash can there is someone looking for the scraps of people whose stomachs are full. Bogotá is not kind to its guests.

Chapinero, Bogotá

Fortunately, the reception that I received within the Red ADELCO has softened the impact of this new reality. Immediately, colleagues did their best to make me feel comfortable. I was fully involved in the activities and, after just five days, I felt like I had been here from a month thanks to the great amount of information I absorbed. Red ADELCO is an institution that deals with sustainable local economic development, both socially and environmentally. It is a network that associates 10 local economic development agencies (ADEL), located in different departments, with the aim of contributing to the strengthening of economic competitiveness through the enhancement of the specificities of each territory. The Network has different projects: some are part of the peace process, others are in collaboration with the Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. The common thread is always the same: a sustainable social and economic development.
The project that is occupying most of my work within the organization is the CET - Fortalecimiento de la Competitividad Territorial desde el Desarrollo Económico Local. Funded by the European Union and in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the main objective of the CET is to stimulate regional competitiveness through the implementation of local economic development processes. My job is to build a system to monitor activities in order to make the implementation of the project as efficient as possible. Colleagues patiently answer all my questions and doubts and don’t hesitate to give me advice to better realize my goal. The working environment is very stimulating, both professionally and personally, and every day I acquire new knowledge for which it is worthwhile to be here.
From my point of view, Bogotá is a city that you choose only if you have a valid reason: in the work within the Red ADELCO I found mine.


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