Here we have a trail, made by the community. Do you want to walk the trail with us? It’s exactly what our ancestors did, and what humanity has done through history: to live in community. Community means “Common”, for everyone, and “unity”, united. So, it’s all about that. Here in Colombia it’s called “minga” or “convite” and that’s the way territories have been created.
It’s an ancient tradition. The “Dablitos” rhythms are really accelerated. If you try to write sheet music with it it will be very difficult. The real goal is to make noise so people will listen and give them money. That sound isn’t nice, what is really good is to see it all together: the dance, the rhythm, the noise. We are trying to make it easier for outsiders to understand and enjoy it. How can we make a successful fusion, like they did in Brazil?
The cable car will be a way of transport for the community, and for the whole city. It will attract tourism, foreigners like you too, they won’t need to walk all the way up here but come on the cable car. This will bring more investment in the community and in the territory, it will be a positive thing. Today’s Siloé will change and today’s Cali will change, when the cable car starts operation.
The truth is that the situation has not been easy, the police claim to own these lands but they aren’t, the real owner died a long time ago. We have managed to say no and no, to make them know this is ours, this land belongs to the community. We have being fighting for this for the past 16 or 17 years.
People must not ask for things for themselves, do you understand me? First, for everybody else. You are asking me, not directly but I can tell: “what do I live from?” When I can tell people have that question I say: “ask me the question!” So people offer me dollars or Colombian pesos, and I tell them:
“Thank you, but we are not going to make money in the name of Siloé.” We are not going to make money in the name of the misery, violence and other problems of Siloé.
This was a blessing for us. A really nice project by the SIDOC Foundation. Really nice beacause before this was like a forest, and there was a tragedy. Some houses fell and people died. A woman called Armitage came here to paint the houses white and she had the idea of doing a park. We told her that was impossible because the government had said this land was unstable, but she took us to Medellín to show us how there was a park in every corner even though it is more hilly and unstable than here.
We brought the electricity here. We payed to have the connections made, and we brought the posts and all. This is great work for youth to get organized. There have been problems but we were able to build and it is good. There are also some youth who do drugs, others cause trouble, but overall they all respect this space for the children, they help to build with the community, with the elders. Because Siloé only has 11 square cm per inhabitant of public space.
I came here when I was 9 years old, when Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was killed. There was a special police force called “Chulavitas”, a kind of community police. The major of Restrepo took my dad out of there. Then Don Pedro Antonio Ospina, someone who had a farm in front of ours and worked as a miner here in Siloé, asked my father to let me come here and make food for him
while he mined for coal, so that is when I first came here.
In our case, we became experts in sociology, social work, museums, history. If we work with some anthropologist or sociologist, we can work better than them here in Siloé because we know our people and our community but it doesn’t mean that we have the professional skills that the university gives you. There is communitarian knowledge but the academic part is really important.