Life Full of Bad Surprises

Sucre, Cali. One of the well-known "ollas" in Colombia, an area in the city where any type of drug can be found, where people get high in groups in the street, where prostitution is openly present. We organized a community lunch for the homeless and addicts of the streets, and in the meantime, I had the chance to discover their life stories.

Sonia has had a life that was more than challenging, a story that is more than shocking, but after every problem, she always gets back up.

"I am from Armero, the village that was swept away by a huge volcano eruption in 1985. I was only 8 when it happened, and I lost family and friends. I went to live with my uncle and aunt, but they were really bad to me and my sister. One day, my sister put the meat into the fridge without my aunt's permission: angry, my aunt sent her to an institution. I never saw her again. At the age of 17, I was forced into a marriage. I was basically my husband's slave, working from 4 am, and he abused me mentally and physically. We had two daughters but social services accused me of drug addiction and prostitution and took them away. But I wasn't doing anything. They were adopted by a rich family in Bogotá... Now I have 3 children, but I haven't seen my 13-year-old boy for several months. He got addicted to crack because his father used to get high together with him... My only motivation right now is my two kids who live with me. I want them to have a different childhood. I'd never let them beg for money on the street, steal or get pregnant early. I do everything so that they can study. But it's really though in this neighborhood where drugs are everywhere."

Cali, Colombia


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