57 Years Old
From Bocas de Aracataca, Magdalena
Displaced to El Oasis by AUC paramilitaries
Violence inflicted by AUC paramilitary forces in his home town, the assassination of his brother and a young nephew, and a constant fear for his family’s safety has forced David to construct his family home on the side of a road in El Oasis on the outskirts of Cienaga city.
A fisherman before he was displaced from Bocas de Aracataca, David now dedicates himself to a series of odd jobs — clearing vegetation with his machete, fixing fishing nets, and anything else that he can find.
Now, he lives under one roof with his wife and seven sons, some of whom have wives and children of their own. The 12 people that share the family home have to deal with the same difficulties that many other families in the impoverished community face— a complete lack of basic services, no running water or sewerage. Out of all the children, only the youngest ones are sent to school, the rest work with David or fish to help sustain the family.
While dedicated to the family home, David’s wife will sometimes wash other people’s clothes for a bit of extra money. On average, the family survives off a combined $150,000 Pesos per month ($48 US). The only thing that occasionally alleviates the financial pressure, he says, are his family’s eight Cedulas, legal identity cards that can be used to obtain canoes and nets in exchange for electoral votes.