• What happens when the “official” and the “popular” stories about your hometown do not match what you archive in your family album? ... This project is an alternative narrative force that complicates the archival landscape of the City of Medellin.

    Wait...Am I Back in the U.S.?


    About eight days ago, we students went to with a few of our compañeros to El Tesoro, which is a mall in the wealthiest part of Medellín. I was amazed when we arrived. Everything was somodern. It was the nicest mall I had ever seen, and clearly most people there were at least relatively well off. It seemed as if every other person had an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt or other American attire written in English. Everybody was well dressed, and I recognized almost every single store. Besides the fact that almost everyone there was probably Hispanic, I felt like I was in a different part of the U.S. I felt the most comfortable than I had felt in that entire trip. Although I knew something was wrong, I could not put my finger on it at first.

    Today, five of us went back to El Tesoro to watch a movie and have dinner. That same feeling from before returned, and this time I could label it as guilt. It was a guilty pleasure to be having a great time at the mall. I felt that I was betraying my civic engagement duties.



    After touring all of Medellín, of course I would feel the most comfortable in the most “American” place. Days before I had seen extreme poverty. Now I was at a pizzeria chatting away. How am I so privileged to be able to enjoy these luxuries?

    First, I need to acknowledge my privilege in this world. I do not know how or why, but either way I was born into a very healthy life—mentally, physically, and geographically. Furthermore, it astounds me the way the United States has such a large presence everywhere. The wealthiest part of Medellín was…the most American? During dinner yesterday, a Beyonce song was playing on the radio. American music is also prevalent here? These things started to blow my mind. It makes me sad that even in another country American culture has at least some level of dominance. After all, I came to Medellín to learn about an entire different culture, not be reminded of what I am used to. Why do the bestrestaurants have to be so Americanized? Why do the best clubs have to have American music? I still do not understand.

    I have fallen in love with Medellín: the food, the people, and the culture as a whole. There are many things that I wish I could bring back to my country from Colombia. Although American culture does exist in Medellín (mostly wealthier places), There still exists a rich and unique Colombian culture that amazes me. So far this experience has taught me to appreciate stepping out of your comfort zone, yet at the same time to not take for granted the place that you live. I miss my home in the the states, but there are many new things I will learn here that I hope to apply for the rest of my life. These daily reminders that have bits and pieces of American culture make me miss my home yet fall even more in love with Medellín all at the same time.


     

    Who we are, what we do

    Who we are Funded by grants from Duke University and donations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, DukeEngage,we are six Duke students, who are collaborating on an 8-week Community Literacy Project, in Medellin, Colombia. This is the third consecutive year in working on this project, and we are building on the work of countless people that includes 300 Colombian youth and elders, 57 students from Emerson College in Boston who created a multi-media catalog & a short film "108 things you might not know about medellín", community members, and more than a dozen Duke students. what we do We are collaborating with youth, women & men in Medellín to create 325 five-minute video stories about displacement, violence, & everyday life as a peace force. We want you to know that in Medellin, la violencia is not the whole story.DukeEngage

    What we do

    We are collaborating with youth, women & men in Medellín to create 325 five-minute video stories about displacement, violence, & everyday life as a peace force. We want you to know that in Medellin, la violencia is not the whole story.