As you may know, the Vive Foundation has two offices, one in Medellín and the other on the Atlantic Coast. This week, our colleagues from the Coast have been with us in Medellín, bringing with them a nice, Caribbean vibe.

Last night, we went out to eat pizza in the best pizzeria in Medellín, which is called Bigotes (= Moustaches), and is run by a German with a spectacular handlebar moustache.

Anyway, on the way there, we saw a family (mum, dad and baby) begging at some traffic lights. They held up a sign and all I managed to read as we drove by was desplazados (displaced).

I felt a terrible weariness. Twelve years after I first visited Colombia, after I first had displacement explained to me, and first met displaced people, there were still people, almost certainly very recently displaced, desperately trying to survive in the city.

At the restaurant as we waited for our salami and cream cheese pizza to arrive, a young woman with a baby on her hip approached us, offering a chocolate bar for sale. One of my colleagues bought the product and we asked the baby’s name. He was called Steven (pronounced Esteven). The baby was pale and solemn, and the woman, very thin.

“Was she Venezuelan?” I asked, once she moved on.

“Yes, you could tell from her accent.”

Just when Colombia might be thought to be making some progress to a more peaceful society, a wave of hungry, desperate people is arriving, often with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and the willingness to work hard.

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What would you ask for?

Today and tomorrow I’m going to tell you two stories about Venezuelans in Colombia.

The first I heard in a sermon preached by a friend of mine who lives in Cucutá, near the border with Venezuela.

He and his wife had welcomed a Venezuelan couple into their home. One day, they offered to buy the Venezuelan couple a gift, anything they liked.

The husband chose a serving of McDonalds fries.

The wife asked for a bottle of shampoo.

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