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Jose's reality

Jose is a thin man with long hands. He is 47 years old and has a gray beard. He speaks very little, but the people of the town know that he is not mute because they have heard him sing.

Jose has always lived where he was born.

In October 2021, Jose lost his right leg when he stepped on an antipersonnel mine that the armed groups planted near the school. It shocked the whole community." 

Days earlier, fighting had broken out around the village and most of the residents had to leave their homes. They went down the river to seek shelter in a nearby town.

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They moved to

avoid being caught

in the crossfire.

When the fighting stopped and they were able to return, they found that the surrounding territories had been mined. “Walking outside the village can even lead you to death, the mines are hidden and any person or animal can activate them”, said a villager.

Jose grew up with his father and brother. When he was seven years old, he had meningitis, which left him mute for several months. He did not receive adequate assistance and the consequences are permanent.

A neighbour affirms that he enjoys eating, he likes mainly rice, chicken, yams, cassava and plantain. Food makes him happy.

Unlike the other people who decided to move, Jose stayed during the fighting and walked up and down in search of food.

The day of the mine accident, some people saw how he took the path near the school, heading to the mountain. Shots were heard in the air to warn him to stop as he was heading towards a mined area.

He didn't react and continued.

Several people heard an explosion from their homes, just as they had heard the shootings a few months ago and when they went out to look, they were already carrying Jose to the town. The explosion left him dazed.

“It is difficult to have to run while carrying a neighbour who has stepped on a landmine. I had to live it. I took the gentleman to the municipal seat. They were able to take care of him, but his leg had to be amputated,” said one of the residents who helped during the accident.

There is no hospital in Jose’s community, so his brother and the villagers took him to the nearest urban area. Five days later he was able to return to the village.

 

After this, the community avoided certain places for fear of landmines. Young people stopped playing soccer and several farm labourers stopped going to work on their crops so as not to suffer the same fate as Jose.

The local

girls and boys

have already learned that they can no longer go to the village’s hill to play.

When the people of the village see a strange item buried in the ground, they fear it might be an explosive. "I'm not afraid of gunshots, I'm afraid of explosives", said one young man.

A man close to Jose told us: "for us, it is very sad because in the scourge of the conflict, innocent people always end up paying for it."

"I'm not afraid of shots, I'm afraid of explosives"

Today, Jose lives alone in a rustic wooden house, where the community assists him with care and food. He hopes for more help from the government, including a wheelchair. He spends his days in uncertainty just like the rest of his community.

Thanks to the generosity of the European Union, Jose and his neighbours received food and health support. The community participated in activities to prevent accidents with anti-personnel mines and also received advice on good hygiene practices.

You can continue helping people like Jose and others affected by the armed conflict in Colombia. Share and make this story visible.

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