bocachica (small mouth)
A small island off of Cartagena, it used to be the first port of entry for the slave ships ocming from West Africa, heavy with their human cargo.
To get there, you have to go to Boca Grande and pay about 4,000 colombian pesos (1,910 pesos = 1 usd) for a lancha (motorboat) to take you to Bocachica. A few meters from the shore, the lancha picks up speed to the point where even the guide sitting on the tip moves back from the edge, you know, just to be cautious. Step off into Bocachica.
Welcome to Africa. The people here are ALL descendants from the slaves from the West African nations, kept on the island before being brought over to the port in Cartagena. Nearly abject poverty remains even though slavery is long gone. Two YWAM mssionaries heard the call to minister to the people of Bocachica and in some 17 or 18 years of being on the island have served the community of Bocachica as best they can. We came as guests of the YWAM base to see what life is like on the island and to see what type of work is being done there. We were amazed at the things that people needed and how gracious the base has been in providing for their needs. Putting in floors, thereby reducing the amount of rashes small children and babies had. Building latrines to take care of the sewage problem. Even setting up a free clinic to provide some health care for the residents. There is such a special relationship between the people of the base and the people on the island. One of the special people we met? Mary! (yeah, i know. that name is following us.)
Mary volunteered to take us around the small island, and we walked with her, meeting her parents and friends from all around. She spent the whole day with us, patient with our questions, bringing us to see the houses, churches, schools, people who had been really special to a Canadian couple who had visited before and were eager to meet up with friends. We got to hear her life story and how much she has been blessed and how she is in turn giving so much to her community of Bocachica.
A song we learned as we were on the shores of a beach in solitude and deep in conversation:
El mundo no me lo dió (The world did not give me)
Como no me lo dió, no me lo puedo quitar! (Because the world hasn’t given it to me, The world can’t take it away from me)
A graduation party finished off the evening, lots of food, friends and great company. =)
Brandon from Bogota dreams of taking his skills at the viola and bringing his gift to Japan.
Carlos from Bocachica dreams of going to Asia as well, following his talent in karate and hoping to embrace the people as well as the martial arts.
Rebecca and Anais from Germany are continuing on serving the people of Bocachica whether through teaching or just serving as they can. Just a spattering of some of the great people we were able to share such an amazing time with. Its people who make the place. And the people were WONDERFUL.