During Easter week 2001, more than 100 people were killed in Alto Naya, in northern Cauca, at the hands of the Calima Block of the United Self-Defense Force of Colombia. For several days, they murdered peasants, indigenous people and Afro-Colombians.
Many families were forced to leave their lands. 40 of these families decided to start a new life: an indigenous Nasa settlement in Timbío, Cauca. Their community is called Kitek Kiwe, or “blossoming land.” This is explained by Licinia, one of the community’s leaders, as she shows a mural painted by Nasa children –the same children who run around its streets but have no memory of Naya, the massacre or the green mountains.
Rubiela is a peasant woman from Cali who had lived in Alto Sereno. After she and her family witnessed a paramilitary soldier cut her husband’s throat eleven years ago, she fled with her daughter and six-year-old granddaughter. She now lives with her granddaughter in a house with enough space for a bed, a little stove and a closet in which she keeps some photos of her family. Faith and illness are the only things that have never deserted her.
For the inhabitants of Kitek Kiwe, memory has a special place. Each year that passes after the massacre, they commemorate its victims by planting a palm tree at the top of a mountain. And every year, during the windy months, the children fly their kites to test the strength of the wind which, they say, is not as strong as on the mountains of Naya.
Mateo Jaramillo Ortega
Universidad de la Sabana