María Amparo Garrido is 67 years old, she is originally from Tumaco, Nariño and like many other people from Tumaco, she has suffered the consequences of the conflict in her own flesh. She hasn’t heard anything about 5 close relatives for a long time. The only thing she knows is the date she saw them for the last time.
Due to its strategic location in the southwestern of Colombia and closeness to Ecuador, Tumaco was for many years, a very important point of operation for the Colombian guerrilla and drug trafficking.
Because of this, the drug trafficking and the criminal gangs, took over the territory and civil society was highly affected. The threats, the killings and the installation of mines to prevent the eradication of illicit crops, were a common thing. Thereby, the levels of violence increased to such a point that by 2014, the homicide rate of this town, exceeded three times the national rate.
Due to the conflict, several people from Tumaco migrated to areas near their municipality. Such is the case of María Amparo, who currently lives in a small house in the Guamuez Valley in the department of Putumayo with her children and grandchildren.
She says that the wounds caused by the conflict are indelible and that she bears the pain they left her.
But it is precisely the desire to get ahead, to overcome adversity and shed the weight of her past, which motivated her to attend the workshop in La Hormiga (another Putumayo municipality) on which Mercy Corps with BPRM Integral Humanitarian Assistance project offered a theater retreat offered to heal the wounds of women affected by the armed conflict.
After this experience, María says that her participation in the project was very useful. She was not only happy to see herself in a different space, unfolding in a place where her opinion and presence was important, but she confidently says that she left herself be lightened and relieved by the fact that she could open her heart and share her experience with other people.
It was a break from her routine, which made her aware of how valuable she is and how good the future is when someone decides to take on the past and keep going and not allowing the weight of it will prevent you from living a happy life.