Cristian Eduardo Martínez
20 years old
Volunteer in FEM and AIESEC
"Cartagena is for me synonymous of dynamism. It can provide you unique experiences. It is a space that looks like small but it is actually gigantic. Taking the bus in the mornings is a real experience. It takes more than two hours and a half to get to my destiny whereas in Puerto Rico, travelling from end to end lasts the same. The best was learning that there are many ways to do things, something as simple as the economy that swirls around the bus rides: the singer who gets in, the 'sparring' that helps the passengers, the driver arguing, people who go to work... at certain point everyone is the same and we all have to get in that bus. In Puerto Rico the collective transport is considered a backwardness but here it is exactly the opposite. It is the possibility that a whole village has to converge.
When I arrived to FEM Ana Maria welcomed me. She is a political scientist like me, who is managing an NGO. For a second I saw myself. I saw what I wanna be in the future reflected in her figure. Realizing that FEM has done so much in such a little time and that it has a bright future is moving.
This opportunity has given me the power to see that everything, yet not easy, is possible as long as we work as we have to. In Puerto Rico people are afraid of breaking the norm but here people are willing to interact and they believe that confrontation of different realities is not wrong. Cartagena surprises you every morning, everyday".
72 years old
Engineer, Former Canadian Diplomatic, Consultant for Social Innovative Companies
Volunteer in FEM
He spent three weeks in Cartagena supporting FEM an its solidary and innovative companies.
“Canadian government gives grants to a company named CESO which operates in 15 countries and has more than 1000 consultants. In Colombia, CESO has a representative in Bogota, and when I saw the possibility of coming, I decided to get involved. I came to advice FEM, Cartagena Insider, Asopradulce and Volunteer Hostel. I felt as at home. Here things are similar to Quebec, the city where I lived during the first 25 years of my life, since Cartagena was the capital of the Americas during the colonial era and Quebec was also the capital when the French had part of Canada and United States under their control. We have a similar wall that surrounds the whole city.
I have been involved in this type of consultancy for the last 38 years. I started supporting Canadian companies that were intending to trade in Venezuela. Since ever, I have worked in a dozen of countries in the five continents. What I most liked of Colombia is the atmosphere in the streets. It is impressive, especially at night. It keeps during the whole year, they live during the day and night. In Canada this happens just in summer. It impresses me, as well, the inequality in Cartagena, and the high prices. There are much more expensive places than in Europe and very very cheap places. It is the human contact what motivates me to do this. I previously worked in Bening (Africa), which was the starting point of the slaves who were transported to America. When I came here, I met the point of arrival of these slaves and I learned what happened with them. It has been a fascinating learning”.