Francisco

37 Years Old. 
From Magdalena

Demobilized in 2006 from the AUC

Deciding to delay his childhood dream of becoming a chef, Francisco became a raspachin at the age of 10 to help his single mother and sisters survive. The drug underworld would eventually put Francisco on a path to drop out of school and become a fully-fledged AUC child soldier at 13. It was a time when Francisco says “a devil” would take over him, and give him the courage needed to pull a trigger.

Francisco demobilized in 2006 and returned to his hometown of Santa Marta after 10 years in the jungle. ACR’s reintegration program gave Francisco what he calls some of the most beautiful experiences of his life. He was given the opportunity to become a role model for the men he once fought beside, and even for his former commander, by giving them cooking classes in prison. Despite this, Francisco has kept his past secret, fearing that Colombian society will not accept him and prevent him from fulfilling his dream of becoming a chef at a five star hotel.

My only fear right now is that society closes its doors on me. You know what it feels like to have your kids crying for breakfast at 11 in the morning when you don’t even have a single Peso for aguapanela? That is what pains me.