Leidy Tatiana and her little brother Ferney, 16. He was shot in the arm during the armed attack, but he managed to escape.
Leidy Tatiana, a 20 years old girl and her family had to flee after an armed attack in her village which is situated along one of many rivers in the region of Chocó, Colombia. Her oldest brother got killed in this attack as well as as three cousins and an uncle. All male youth. Her life was changed when she, her family and and her community had to flee.
It was an ordinary day in March 2017 when Leidy Tatiana and other women where celebrating women’s day. The remaining village, mostly males, continued their normal activities when all of a sudden an armed group attacked. The women couldn’t go back home that night.
In addition to her brother and uncle that got killed her youngest brother, Ferney, a 14-year old boy, was shot but fortunately survived. He was standing on a pier when an armed man asked him for his phone. He was shot in his arm and fell off the pier and into the water. He was forced to swim for his life while the armed man continued to fire bullet on him. Ferney even witnessed his own brother and his cousin being killed while saving his own.
Today, the village is abandon and appears more like a ghost town. Leidy Tatiana and her family are now too afraid to return to their village because of the uncertainty that follows and if another armed attack will happen again.
Sometimes “I feel as if I'm missing something: my land, my town, my home. Sometimes I want to go back, but I have very painful memories and that is the reason I avoid it. I feel very afraid. Just seeing the place where my brother and my uncle died, I just can't do it”, Leidy Tatiana explains.
Sometimes she feels positive and at times not at all. Sometimes she goes out and do what she feels like doing, other times not. She feels scared and the armed attack prohibit her from fulfilling her dreams. Nevertheless, she will try her best to continues her studies because her “biggest dream is to become a psychologist, in order to help my mother, my family and those in need”. She would also love to become a mum one day.
Message to the youth
Leidy Tatiana thinks it is important in life to make good decision, resist temptations which as a youth, might have consequence on their families too. She also highlights the importance of following your dreams and visions.
Photo: Beate Simarud/NRC