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We have twelve minutes to get off the road. Twelve minutes to get from the city centre to our home in the north, before the car is seized. we had better drive fast.

“It’s the government’s way of regulating traffic,” my friend tells me, running panicked fingers through her dark hair as we watch the minutes ticking by a little too fast.

The traffic in Colombia’s capital thickens to a slow ooze, our ducking and weaving dragging to a mournful halt as we and other drivers attempt to make a dash for parking before our curfew.

“Depending on the numbers of your registration and the date, on certain days you aren’t allowed to drive in peak times,” she honks at a taxi driver who is obliviously trying to drive into us, and mutters


something in Spanish. “It’s called pico y placa. We have to get off the road by 3.” Ten minutes to go.

Civil unrest is plastered in plain sight in the form of paint splatters and spray, staining the city. Eight minutes.

The traffic jam stretches on before us as we inch past the architectural collage of modern and colonial buildings and monuments that is Bogota. Colourful graffiti adorns every inch of street level, masking new and old buildings alike.

We’ve passed the road works causing the jam and now the cars fly through the winding streets, like a flooded river. I flinch as we swing across an intersection, narrowly missing another car who deftly

weaves out of the way and carries Praying our clock is right and on with his own homeward the road is clear we make the mission. final corner. Without a hesitation, we dash past a stopped truck, “There they go,” my friend says forcing us into the other lane and quietly, motioning to the group of oncoming traffic. policemen merging onto the main road beside us. We both check They stop and we continue on withthe time as they pass us, high out words. The minutes tick on. vis jackets a stark contrast to the overcast city. We pull into the parking lot as the clock ticks to 2:58. With just two We are still many blocks minutes to spare we’ve made it. from home and the countdown is closing in. Street venders and The tension breaks and we howl performers wait at the lights with laughter, reliving some of the for their next captive audience, more death defying manoeuvres watching the cars flee by with of the drive home. The rest of the indifference. We run a yellow light, day we walk, joining other people sliding through another intersec- banned from the roads that day. tion with five minutes to go.




Sometimes I just dont tell peole what is going on in our country, on the streets we grew up on and to the people we know,” she says, eyes forward, no hint of pain in her voice.

“There are videos sent of students and protesters being attacked and bashed,” her sister tells me, “but the footage is removed from YouTube and other sites. The government controls the news and monitors social media, the only footage we see is from someone who has filmed it on their phone first hand, only from someone who is there, living it.”

“We have already cried so much and experienced such devestation and fear, but as the government controlls most of the news, we feel as if most of the world just doesn’t know the full story.”

They tell me that many of the students who leave to join the resistance tell their family they don’t know if they will survive. It is an expectation and it’s a reality, but they want to do what they can for their country.

I had asked her of her family living in Venezuela, where civil unrest has seen citizens shot at point blank while they protest for change. “I can’t tell you of the violence, because I can’t bear to watch the videos sent to me by my friends and family still there, but I can tell you of the terror.” This time you can hear it. Her voice tremours as she speaks of the friends and family still there.

“Twice my mother went to join the protests with my godmother,” she says, “my family were so angry at her. My uncle, my grandparents and sister would call and tell her if you love us even a little bit, you will not go again.”

The footage you see is only because they are there, living it.

I understood they were scared for her but I was also proud. I wish I could be brave enough to say something, to go out and protest for my country, but I am afraid.”

“In the street where my parents live in Venezuela the people are building barricades from garbage so they can protest,” she says, “My mother would often be on the street arguing with people who would complain about the road blocks making traffic worse. How can they not care about the future of their country?”

It seems clear there is a general unrest toward the government. Within the people, there is fear and uncertainty, where there shoud be hope. This is where the protests began. With a group of students disillusioned in their government.

The students began peaceful protests calling for a change in But it was clear why not when government. They took their she speaks of her last to see her message to the world with the parents. infamous ‘better naked than humiliated’ campaign. “When I was home there was a doctor and his wife who were People are fearful as crime preparing fod and bringing it to increases and resources the people who were protestig. deplete, they are unable to access their money, and They were arrested restricted from transferring their and taken away.” own wealth from the country. Many move their families and “The students and protesters are what little they have to being shot and beaten like they neighbouring Colombia, as my are criminals, but they have no friend and her two siblings did, weapons, it’s just because they but some cannot and their speak the truth,” her sister tells parents and friends remain. me, voice shaking with anger. “We are a country that, as a nation, should be well off. We are rich in resources and prtroluem, but our nation is still poor, it’s people controlled and restricted and resources limited.”

“In Venezuela now everything is politics, you just can’t have a conversation without it turning to politics. We are all involved. We just want to see an end without any more bloodshed.


Wild Rice, est. 2013, was created by Jessica Rhian as an exploration of the world and the stories of wonder within.

Articles/ Images / Zine Design by Jessica Rhian Makeup by Dunkle Authentic Logo Design by Natalie at Harper House / @wildricetweets /

Wild Rice Zine Issue 5 Salsa y Queso  

Wild Rice brings you stories from across the globe and your own backyard. Issue 5 is a collection of stories from the land of Salsa, Colombi...

Wild Rice Zine Issue 5 Salsa y Queso  

Wild Rice brings you stories from across the globe and your own backyard. Issue 5 is a collection of stories from the land of Salsa, Colombi...