Showing posts from September, 2009

Fiesta de San Pacho -- Quibdó

In 1648, a group of Franciscan missionaries arrived to the area of what is now Quibdó , Chocó . With them they brought a large statue of San Francisco de Asís . Their mission was to 'civilize' the natives of the region and build new routes for the Gold from Chocó to get to the capitals of the Nuevo Reino de Granada. Shortly after their arrival, they organized a floating parade. A long line of canoes was headed by a canoe bearing the statue of San Francisco de Asís . By 1684, the natives had become restless with the new religion and killed off the missionaries. This might have been the end of the encroachment on the natives for a while, had it not been for the Spanish conquistadors that had moved into the area in 1670, bringing with them a large groups of African slaves who worked to take gold out of the rivers and hills in Chocó . The African slaves in the area took San Francisco de Asís as their patron saint, and he was eventually named the patron saint of Qui


The Currulao is the main dance of the Afrocolombians on the Pacific Coast of Colombia. Its rhythm and music clearly have African roots. The music consists of a 6/8 rhythm played by up to 10 percussion instruments. These include the marimba de chonta , two cununos (which are 2 drums: one is considered male, and the other female), the tambora or bombo (a big round drum), the redoblante (a small portable drum), and 5 guasás (kind of maraca like instrument made from the stem of the Guadas plant). The vocals are usually sung by a woman who narrates stories in a rhythmic rhyming way. See a video of a currulao musicians here: You can buy a video that will teach you (and your little ones) how to dance the Currulao . Here is the link: shopwiki -us-20& linkCode =as2&camp=1789&creative=9325 * Foto by

The Pacific Coast -- La Costa Pacífica

The Pacific Coast of Colombia is considered to be one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. In fact, the area contains one fifth of the diverse plant species known in Colombia. There are also many different kinds of animal species, including mammals, birds, fish, and amphibians. The major departments located on the Pacific coast are : Chocó (capital Quibdó ), Valle de Cauca (main Coastal city = Buenaventura ), Cauca (main Coastal City = Guapí ), and Nariño (main Coastal city = Tumaco ). The city of Lloro (which happens to mean 'cries'), Colombia, is the wettest zones on the planet, receiving 542 about inches or 13,300 millimeters of rain each year. In spite of being rich in natural resources (water, minerals, forests, and plants and animals), it is typically considered to be the poorest part of Colombia. The majority of the population are the descendants of African slaves who had been brought to the region to work as miners. This brings me to an interesting

My Cuñada's Recipe for PATACONES

The author of our Monday post on Ibagué mentioned to me in an e-mail that she had eaten a plethora of plantains. Here is a recipe for one plantain recipe: Patacones. Patacones are popular in most of Colombia and are commonly made in Tolima. INGREDIENTS: Green Plantains Oil Step #1 Cut green bananas in pieces about 1 inch in length. Step #2 Fry in hot oil -- but remove before they start to brown. Step #3 Mash the fried banana. Step #4 Place the half cooked mashed banana back in the hot oil and cook until golden and crispy. Here is a You Tube video of the process. *Photo by:

Souvenir Ideas -- Tolima

Lest you think that fine ceramics come only from Boyacá , there are many fine potters in the department of Tolima . As in Boyacá , in Tolima the tradition of pottery comes from the original indigenous inhabitants of the area. While in Boyacá the ceramics are orangish -red in color, in Tolima they are blackish with red undertones. This type of pottery comes principally from a town in Tolima by the name of La Chamba , near Guamba . The life of every villager in La Chamba revolves around the making of these ceramics, just as it has done for centuries. It is the job of the children to collect the clay and allow it to dry in sacks. Once the clay has dried, they beat the chunks into dirt using sticks. Then, the women use the dirt to make a clay and then they model it into pots and other pieces. The items are then left to dry for 30 days. When they are sufficiently dry, the men of the village build the fires where the pots will be baked. The pots get their unique black color from a sm

Lechona Tolimense -- Not to Miss Cuisine

When talking about the food of Tolima , there is probably nothing more Tolimense than their signature dish -- LECHONA . In fact, the production of Lechona for fiestas in Tolima dates back several centuries. It really IS what's for dinner in Tolima at just about any big celebration -- weddings, baptisms, Christmas, New Year's etc. What is Lechona ? In a few words, stuffed roasted pig. How is it made? First, you take the 50 pound pig and debone it and clean it out --making sure to leave the skin intact. Next, you take all of the ribs and meat and chop them up with an axe and add them to about 10 pounds of pork meat (cut in small chunks) and marinate ( adobar ) it all in a mixture of garlic, green onions, cumin, salt and pepper. Then, you cook the meat in lard. You also prepare rice, peas, and potatoes to add to the mixture. When all the stuffing ingredients are mixed together, you stuff the pig and then sew it up. You cover the skin with bitter orange juice and cook it all

Festival Folclorico Colombiano

In 1959, the first Festival Folclorico Colombiano was organized and held in Ibagué, Tolima. The festival is always held in Ibagué in June. This year it celebrated its 50th anniversary. The festival highlights folkloric music, dance, and food from almost every department in Colombia. In adddition, there is a beauty contest. During the week long celebration, there is the Festival de Festivales where a number of folkloric groups display their talents the field of music and dance. The groups invited to present in this mini-festival are typically the most well-known and successful groups in Colombia. Another important feature of the festival is the Desfile de San Juan (Saint John Parade). In the parade there are floats, bands, beauty queens, and the dancing folkloric groups. In addition, there are people dressed as mythical and legendary characters in Colombian history. There is also a Tamal Day (Día del Tamal) where people can try Tamales Tolimenses and any number of native Colombian food

Ibague, Tolima

I want to thank Carrie Trotter for making this post. She is currently in Colombia for the adoption of Johan, a child that she and her husband met through Kidsave. Ibague is one of the few areas my Colombian family hasn't been to, so I asked Carrie to put together a post about the area based on her experience. Here goes: Ibagué, a city of approximately 500,000 people, is located in the Colombian Andean region in central Tolima. It is surrounded by mountains on all sides except for one plateau on the East and is nestled on the slopes of the Cordillera Central. Ibagué is on the road from Bogota to Cali and is consequently an important commercial center and road transport hub. The fertile countryside produces coffee, cacao, tobacco, sugarcane and rice. Ibagué is known as the music capital of Colombia due to its famous conservatory and long tradition of offering advanced musical education. Today, the conservatory, founded in 1906, comprises an old, d

Dia del Amor y Amistad -- Colombian Valentine's Day

Tomorrow is Colombia's Valentine's Day. Actually, it is called the " El Dia del Amor y la Amistad " the "Day of Love and Friendship". It is a traditional celebration in which friends, lovers, couples, etc. express their love for each other. In Colombia, the Dia del Amor y la Amistad, is celebrated on the third Saturday of September. It was establish by law in 1969. There is an interesting reason why September was chosen over February 14. Traditionally, Valentine's is celebrated around the world on the day that Saint Valentine was decapitated. So, in order to better reflect a day of LOVE rather than a day on which a tragedy occurrred, Colombia chose to celebrate on a day other than February 14. As in most places, this day of Love is celebrated with cards, music, flowers and if you are lucky a serenade. Below is a link to a song that my husband dedicated to me on our first Día del Amor y la Amistad. It was chosen as the most beautiful song in Colombia duri

Try This Reading Technique -- for all language groups

While I am working with a Speech Therapist and a member of a University's ESL Faculty to put together more suggestions that can help with the teaching of ESL to your newly adopted child, I wanted to make 1 suggestion now that can help you as you read aloud to your child. Here is the technique: (TO MY EUROPEAN READERS: I found research that shows Dutch speaking children have similar issues to those learning ESL. We might assume, therefore, that children learning other languages -- particualrly those very different from Spanish -- Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, Finnish, Danish, German, etc. would suffer from similar language proficiency problems. So, you can try using this technique as well). Step #1: Read the title and look at the pictures. Label pictures that your child cannot name. The talk about or predict what the story is about. Step #2: Read 1 page or 1 paragraph, then stop and ask a question about the content. Once child answers, model the correct answer in a short


If you have a child adopted at 5, 6, or older, it is clear that they will need English as a Second Language classes at school, and most districts will help you. But what about the adopted toddler or preschooler? Most people -- and teachers -- assume that the child will adequately learn English by the time the child goes to school simply because they only hear English spoken in the home. Ah, but is that true?!?! I became aware that my own son (now 4 1/2) may be having difficulty with English acquisition when I started teaching him to read. He was/is doing great sounding out words. We started with the words that end in AT -- CAT, RAT, BAT, etc. He would look at the picture of a RAT, sound out R-A-T and then say MOUSE. I would correct him and say RAT. Then, finally one day he said, "Mommy, what is a rat?" OOPS! In addition to simple vocabulary issues, there are other issues that he has with language, so I reached back to my Master's degree in TESOL and started researching ab

Latest Wait List Statistics

As of July 1, 2009, there were 3,768 potential adoptive families that have been approved by ICBF to adopt. These are the families -- in Colombia and abroad that are currently on the WAIT LIST. Of the 3,768 families on the wait list, 242 are Colombian and receive PRIORITY and PREFERENTIAL treatment and 3,526 are foreign families . That means that the Colombian family will be considered for any available child BEFORE any foreign family. If the Adoptions Committee considers that the Colombian family makes the best match, then the available child is assigned to the Colombian family. If the Adoptions Committee does not think that the available child makes a good match with the Colombian family, other families are then considered. Some Colombian families (those living in Colombia) will remain in the Region where they processed they paperwork -- no matter how many children are available. This means that some Colombian families wait many months, others get referrals in a few weeks. Usually

Latest Adoption Statistics

ICBF recently updated their adoption statistics. Below is a summary of those statistics which were current as of July 1, 2009 . In 2008, there were 2,542 children of all ages placed for adoption. Of which, 1,019 were placed with Colombian families and 1,523 were placed with Foreign families. It would be important to note that COLOMBIAN families are families in Colombia or families with at least 1 Colombian parent living abroad. Between January 1, 2009 and July 1, 2009 , there have been 1,227 children placed for adoption in Colombia -- 524 to Colombian families and 703 to foreign families. Of these, 174 were placed by Casas Privadas and 1,053 were placed by ICBF . ICBF would like to point out that as of July 1, 2009, there were 8,127 children and adolescents that have official declarations of adoptability and belong to the category SPECIAL NEEDS. Special Needs in Colombia is defined as children with disabilities, children over 8 years of age, and sibling groups of 3 or more. Thes

A Book??

I have been approached by some adoptive parents with the suggestion of making the Raising Colombian Kids Blog into a book, with the profits going to help fund the charity Friends of Colombian Orphans. Before I spend the hours required to make this a reality, I wanted to know the level of interest in purchasing the book. I plan to use and the price will vary depending on how many pages I decide to put in the book and the quality of book you'd be interested in purchasing. The costs of self publishing are kind of high -- though there is a 10% discount if you purchase 10 copies or more. How much would people be willing to pay? Which topics would you want in the book? Which things should I leave out? What other things would you want included before publishing? Here are the prices as quoted on Blurb: Pages-----Softcover, Hardcover, ImageWrap 20-40 ----US $19.95 US $29.95 US $31.95 41-80 ----US $24.95 US $35.95 US $37.95 81-120 ---US $29.95 US $41.95 US $44.95 121-160 --US $3

Expectations -- Older Child Adoption

Typically parents want to offer their child every opportunity to discover and develop their talents. But when is enough enough for an older adopted teen, and how do you avoid the self-esteem issues that come from giving up. Jane has prepared another thought provoking message for those adopting older children: When do you reach the “enough already” with your adopted teen? Our daughter had flute lessons in Bogotá when we were awaiting sentencia, and then continued with flute in junior high school. Since she had no musical knowledge, she had to start from the beginning, learn how to read music, how to count, etc. She didn’t mind practicing, but her progress was slow. Compared to the other kids in band who had taken instrument lessons since 6th grade, she was far behind. Even with weekly private lessons, we knew that she would never catch up in this particular instance. By the end of 8th grade, she decided that she didn’t want to continue playing the flute, so she dropped it and moved

Bogotá For Beginners: Salto de Tequendama

A great Saturday or Sunday afternoon excursion while staying in Bogotá is to visit the Salto de Tequendama -- mentioned on Monday. The waterfall itself is about 137 meters high and is located just 30 kilometers from Bogotá. I recommend seeing it on a weekend as the traffic in Bogotá is lighter and you will be able to get through the city's traffic easier. There are some ASADEROS at the falls where you can enjoy traditional Colombian food. We visited this place the weekend after we picked up our son. At almost 2, he loved to wander around the grounds eating arepas. Our 5 year old enjoyed the story and taking pictures. Just a cool place to say you've visited. (Update March 2010) Just got an e-mail from an adoptive family in Bogota and need to say that visiting the Falls From December - March during a drought is not a good idea. Not much of a falls. The picture is from an October visit after a rain storm.

A Book to Add to Your Collection

Author Stephanie Sepehri has brought the Chibcha legend of Chibchacún to life for young readers. This is a must have for your growing collection of literature for your Colombian child. The book is entitled: WHY CHIBCHACUM CARRIES THE WORLD: BASED ON A CHIBCHA MYTH Purchase the book, new or used: =

The Great Flood of CHIBCHACUM

One of the most common stories associated with BOCHICA (see the previous post) or NEMQUETEVA is the legend surrounding the "Great Flood" and the waterfall located at Tequendama . This is the story of his first visit and was originally most closely associated with the name NEMQUETEVA , though today most use BOCHICA in reference to this story. The legend is as follows: The God CHIBCHACUM (meaning the Head of all DIETY ) had become irritated by the people's inability to keep his commandments. They had become full of iniquity following after the Devil -- HUITACA -- committing all kinds of blasphemies. In his anger, CHIBCHACUM decided to punish the people by sending a great flood. He flooded the plains of Bogotá destroying the crops and homes of the people. Many were killed and some -- those who were less sinful -- escaped into the mountains and began to plead to CHIMINIGAGUA for help. He recognized their humility and sent BOCHICA to rescue them. BOCHICA arrived u


Among the most widely known of the Chibcha myths is the story of BOCHICA -- also called NEMQUETEVA, SADIGUA, or XUÉ (which meant the SUN) . Fray Pedro Simon reported that each one came at a different time and did something different. But, he thought it might have been the same man. Lucas Fernandez de Piedrahita states that they were all the same man. Bochica was a man that appeared on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense riding a strange animal, that by description sounds like a camel. This man was definitely a stranger. He had white skin, white hair, and a long white beard. He carried a Macana (a wooden weapon with sharp flint sides) and he carried a cross. He wore a tunic and had long hair kept in the "style of a Nazarene" as the early Spanish priests identified it. (see footnote #2) He was credited with bringing "civilization" to the Chibchas. He taught them to weave, paint and make ceramics. The blankets, clothing, and pots made by the Indians were considered their grea

Bachué -- The Birth of the Chibcha People

According to Chicbha legend, Humans in general were created by Sugamuxi and Ramiriquí under the direction of Chiminigagua . But where did the Chibchas come from? They also have a creation myth that surrounds their arrival on the Altiplano Cundiboyasense . According to the legend, in the area around Tunja there exists a lake called Iguaque . It is from the waters of this lake that Bachué (bah chewAY ) first appeared. She was surrounded by light and was accompanied by a three year old little boy. She walked down the mountain to the plains and built a hut -- the first Chibcha dwelling -- in the area of what today is the town of Iguaque . When the child grew up, Bachué married him -- the first Chibcha wedding ceremony. The couple was very prolific and Bachué was very fertile. With every pregnancy, she bo re 4 to 6 children. The couple would travel to different areas and in each, they would leave children. This is how they were able to populate the land. When the two were very old,

The Creation of Man, the Sun and the Moon -- Chibcha Legend

Once the earth was created, there was still no sun or moon to illuminate it and no people to enjoy it. All was lonely and as dark as a night without a moon. Something had to be done. With Chiminigagua, were 2 men -- the first caciques, Sugamuxi and his nephew, Ramiriquí . Their first assignment was to create man. In order to populate the earth, they decided to make men and women. In order to create the first man, they used yellow dirt. Then, they used herbs and stems to create women. Yet, all was still dark, so the cacique Sugamuxi ordered his nephew to go up into the sky and become a sun that could illuminate and give life to the earth. This, Ramiriquí did at once and the earth was bathed in heat and light. Once this was done, however, there was still concern that there was no light to rule the night. So, the cacique Sugamuxi went up into the sky and became the moon. When the Spanish arrived they experienced firsthand the Chibcha celebration of the Sun and the Moon. In Sogamoso, ann

August 2009 ICBF Wait List

I have preempted the original post for today -- You can look forward to more myths and legends tomorrow, and now also into next week. The most recent Wait List was published by ICBF on August 27, 2009. The ICBF Wait List applies to adoptions through ICBF only -- not through CASAS PRIVADAS. It also ONLY APPLIES TO NON COLOMBIAN FAMILIES. It DOES NOT reflect special needs children. The definition of special needs are children with disabilities, children over 8 years of age, and sibling groups of 3 or more. There also has been movement in many categories, all dates that have advanced I am putting in BOLD and RED . Also, this list only reflects that there are no more dossiers at the national office prior to the date shown. Dossiers from before Jan 2006 in the 0-23 months category, for example, may still need a referral, but they have already been sent to a region and are no longer at the national office. Age of Child ------- Date of Application Approval by ICBF Child 0-12 months ------ Fe