Tuesday, August 1, 2006
Silvia is a little town about 3 hours away from Cali in the departamento (state) of Cauca. Silvia is home to an indigenous people (Indians) called Guambianos. There are many communities of indigenous folk throughout Colombia with different customs and traditions.
I got pulled over today for the 1st time ever in Colombia. We were on our way back from the town of Silvia. It was a little scary being searched by soldiers with machine guns, after all, it’s something we’re not used to in the US. We had to wait while they searched us and the car thoroughly and then ran our IDs to make sure they were legit. The soldiers were really cool and let me take pictures of them while we waited. I asked them how often they caught someone with something illegal and they said, “All the time. Mostly people with an illegal firearm or false IDs.” In the recent past, Rebels often kidnapped people on roads like these and many Colombians stopped traveling. Current president Alvaro Uribe helped change that by taking a hard line on Rebels and Paramilitary groups, making it safer to travel. There are still incursions by Rebels from time to time but mostly way up in the mountains or in other remote parts of Colombia.