This post is part of Blogging Abroad’s 2017 New Years Blog Challenge, week two: The Danger of a Single Story1.
When I was breaking the news to friends, family, and co-workers in the United States that I was going to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, the joke was always, “Are you going to be a drug mule?” The single story of Colombia is the story from Narcos2 – that Colombia is just a country where most of the world’s cocaine comes from, filled with the violence of massive drug gangs. This is a dangerous misconception, one which makes people fearful of traveling to this country, one which makes people distrust people from this country.
Peace Corps’ third goal is to help the people of the United States better understand other countries of the world. To break the single story for other countries. With this blog, I am trying to show you more of Colombia. The Colombia that is insanely hospitable and generous. The Colombia that loves to throw a good party and cheer on their athletes. The Colombia that is fiercely proud and always trying to move pa’ adelante, or forward. While I focus on the cultural differences much of the time, the truth is that Colombia is more like the United States than it is different. Colombians are more like people from the US than they are different.
1Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who wrote one my favorite books Americanah, once gave a TED Talk on the danger of a single story.
2I’m absolutely not saying not to watch Narcos. It’s a fantastic show that depicts one aspect of the history of this nation. But it’s important to remember that it is a focused program and can’t show the experiences of every person here, and that the show takes place 25 years ago.