A train comes and goes. It gets loaded and unloaded. A loud sound announces the moment it arrives, it resounds and vibrates as if drilling into the memory of a promise. Its roar is a symbol of a promise of progress that the residents of Medialuna are still waiting for.
The Pushaina family is from the indigenous community Wayuu, in the far reaches of northern Colombia. It 's one of the 15 families in the Medialuna territory affected by the company Cerrejón.
Yoluja in their native language means devil, shadows, demon, and malice, but also means Cerrejón, train, coal.
"The train that transports coal in its cargo also carries spirits, they get off and torment us. They steal our sleep. A Wayuu who does not dream is dead. It still hurts us, it is a general thought, what will happen when he leaves, we will be much better off without his contamination, the trees will grow again, even if it is bare for some time, the cactus will bloom again."
THE CURE - AMAZONIAN MEDICINE
Last month Fernando sat surrounded by her family as the sun dipped below the trees and plants she uses to make teas and medicines.
The woman leaned on the wooden wall of the small house she built at the beginning of the pandemic with her husband. Now, though, she’s alone.
She said she hopes that what has come out of this is a newfound conversation between rural communities and health authorities.
“What this pandemic taught us is to trust people, to listen to others, especially the ones who care for us,” she said. “To share knowledge. We hope that someday the system will work better for us.”
The territory of Catatumbo has been recognized for being one of the areas with the greatest presence of drug trafficking and for a context of massive and systematic violation of human rights. In Catatumbo, violence and state absence have concentrated and deepened the situation of marginalization and social exclusion.
Numerous human rights violations were the consequence of violence based on prejudice related to the sexual orientations, gender identities, and diverse gender expressions of the victims that are characterized by having a different impact on LGBTI people, including psychosocial, socioeconomic, and physical impacts.
“Some say that I am the first trans woman in Catatumbo. I decided to make my transit in a pandemic. I began to go out with my wigs, with my dresses and people told me that I looked very good and in the midst of the looks of some, they began to accept me... the problem was when they told me that the armed groups that rule here were going to kill for being trans I went there to talk to them, group by group with the leaders, the tough ones, and they told me no, that I wasn't on any list, that he just won't go around dressing like a whore and that's it. Now I live more peacefully, taking care of my only (trans) daughter, Kimberly, who started her transit a week ago and her family rejected her. We are now two"