Love is in hispanic air!
Yesterday was the equivalent of Valentines day in Colombia and it made me realise how much I love this country and it´s people.
It was really nice to see that here in Colombia, it isn´t just an excuse for a commercial holiday but also to show how you feel about someome special in your life.
Now I am slightly bias, as I seem to have fallen in love with the hispanic cultures, the Spanish language and it´s people and this has only been extended now to South America.
However, as my hunt continues to investigate teenage pregnancy and female issues surrounding gender inequality in the country I can´t help thinking how hard it must be to be a single mother on your own on this day.
This evening I met, Julia 19 and her two year old Vanessa on the side of the road, in La Calera (a mountainside cafe lookout point)) over looking the city of Bogota. Sipping canelaso to keep us warm (a local alcoholic herbal drink served hot, which smells a bit funky but tastes great!), we met Julia when her friend offered us some more canelaso (at 5 pesos a cup, just under 2 pounds) to keep us even warmer.
Julia told us she was a single mother who didn´t know her babies father and was quite happy being single. Whilst she was quite happily surrounded by half a dozen female friends, her quietness on this topic when probed further as to whether she had a boyfriend or partner, struck me and her eyes seemed to tell a different story.
Julia is but one of a large number of teenage mothers in Bogota and she was certainly a strong young women and one of the warriors of my documentary but life was clearly still a struggle.
What I am still trying to work out is are these women worse off or better off without men in their lives? Julia seemed to think that the macho culture of Colombia seems to dominate most male social circles and she reassured me that she was quite happy with just herself, her friends, her family and her gorgeous baby daughter Vanessa.
Her love for her daughter seemed inspiring and despite the lack of a father, husband or partner, Julia reminded me of the love you can have for yourself and your spouse.
Here are some more photos from Colombian Valentines 2012: