Monday, November 19, 2007

A little background on Colombia

We are in ColOmbia. With an O. Not Columbia, SD. Although Columbia really is a nice little town! :)

Colombia is about the size of France and Spain combined. Colombia itself has about 45.6 million people, and Bogota, where we are staying, has 6.3 million people. Colombia is surrounded by Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Panama. The Andes Mountains are to the south of Colombia (think of the movie Alive!) The temperature varies depending on where you are. In Bogota the average temp is 14 degrees Celsius which is 57 degrees Fahrenheit. But we're so high up that it feels warmer. We wear short sleeved shirts every day (and anyone who knows me knows I'd have on my light winter coat by now at home!)

Colombia was inhabited by various groups of Indians before the Spaniards conquered the area. One of these tribes was the Muisca (which also happens to be the name of our room!). Around 1500, Rodrigo de Bastidas sailed along the Carribean coast to Panama and made the first permanent settlement. He returned to Spain to report as to what he had found and returned to the area and founded Santa Marta in 1525. Other Spaniards followed. Bogota was founded by Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada in 1538. He named the territory he had conquered Nuevo Reino de Granada, because it reminded him of Granada in Spain. Santa Fe de Bogota was named after the city of Santa Fe in Granada. After 1793 many people in the area made moves toward independence. On July 20, 1810 a governing body was established and the area was independent from Spain. The Spaniards left quite a legacy. Their language and religion being the main two things. La Republica de Gran Colombia was established by the governing Congress at present day Venezuela on December 17, 1819. Due to opposing view amongst the congressmen, the 1821 constitution was drawn up dividng Gran Colombia in 12 departments and 26 provinces. This constitution lasted until 1830 when Venezuela and Ecuador broke away and a new constitution was drawn up. Thus...Colombia!

Agriculture is the major employer in Colombia. The traditional crops are coffee, flowers, sugar cane, bananas, rice, maize, and cotton. The two largest exports are oil and coffee. Flowers are exported mainly to the US, about 73% of total sales, or $500 million per year. Colombia is the second largest exporter of flowers after the Netherlands.

Some of the most rare and most expensive emeralds in the world come from Colombia. (I did not purchase one of these expensive ones, although we did see some for $20,000 and up!)

Colombian ancestry varies greatly depending on the region. Some regions are largely of European descent, others have more Indian in the mix, while other regions have more African ancestry. About 90% of Colombians are Roman Catholic.

So there is your lesson on Colombia. Mine too as most of that was new to me.

We went to the market yesterday. We started off with the Americans and a French lady. Patty ended up going ahead with the French lady as she had to come home early and the rest of us wandered most of the day. We ate at the mall by the Santa Barbara market and then got ice cream. We stopped at Carulla and picked up some groceries. By this time, I was really feeling "icky". My cold never really went away and now it's back with a vengeance. I asked the front desk to get me some antibiotics last night. The funny thing about antibiotics don't need a prescription. They just give them to you. AND they deliver! So I had Zithromax in 15 minutes! I'm still not feeling great, but daytimes are usually better. We'll see if it kicks in before this evening whene I usually feel worse.

Murphy hasn't slept well the last few days but she slept a lot this afternoon. (Hidden meaning...we didn't sleep well either.) I think Rob should have night duty this week since he won't get to for a while! We're going to start packing his stuff up any time. Rob and Megan are going to visit two schools tomorrow...a private and a public one (public meaning poor in this case). They preferred that we not bring the babies so Juel and I will stay home. Rob and Megan are the educators so it's more important for them to go.

I think we're going to the Hard Rock Cafe on Wednesday. We're also working on a trip to the Harley Davidson store (and I know some people who will be very jealous!) We have a busy week planned so the Harley store will be after Rob leaves.

Have a great day!!! I'll post some pictures later today after I take some! :)


Anonymous said...

Very interesting!!! Thanks for taking the time to write all of that. I love the picture of Murphy with the pink hat. The clothes and blanket are beautiful! They will all be so amazing to her when she gets to be in her teens and looks at them then. I hope that your antibiotics have kicked in and you are feeling better by now. What a "trooper" you are to feel so crappy and still keep going. That is what it takes to be such a good mommy. (And you will be a great one!)
Sending all our love,
Grandma Lewis.

cara said...

We had our home visit yesterday. I guess I can check one more thing off the list. We decided to have the homestudy read "we are seeking to adopt Matthew's two brothers age 14 and 11 and a girl under 4" It will be a miracle if they give us the girl too, but it doesn't hurt to try.
I hope you start feeling better soon. We are praying that things get going so you can get back here to SD. Cara

Starfish said...

That Colombia with a U thing drives me nuts.

Hope you're feeling better soon!