Movement Towards Peace
Farlis lives on a banana plantation ten miles from Apartado, in the northwest region of Columbia known as Uraba. She is part of a family of 6, including her parents, and 3 siblings. She is currently 19 (when the book was wrote). When Farlis was 15, she started taking matters into her own hands and began movements for peace. She didn't want another generation to be in war. When Farlis was 17, she got more involved in the havoc than she ever has. Her cousin Enrique was influenced into joining an armed group because there was no job opportunity. However, Farlis talked him out of it.
Farlis' Taste of War
Where Farlis grew up, many people were poor, and she was one of the lucky ones that got to receive an education. Like many others, her house was a dusty compound with a tin roof. It was better for the people to say nothing in this town then to report what they saw, and this is why a lot of things were never reported to the authorities. The people were afraid. Farlis hated guns, and even stopped being friends with someone she was very close to because he had a gun. She witnessed a massacre of 30 people in a town where her family lives. In other words, at 13, she witnessed dead and abandoned bodies. Believe it or not, the fighting got worse. The armed men killed anyone who was doing something "wrong." Many felt like they could do nothing, and the police arrested close to nobody. Farlis, however, knew she could make a change. It all started her 9th grade year...
Her Step Towards Change
In the start of high school, Farlis and her grade began revolting against their teachers poor way of educating. They wanted to change the way their school favored the rich. Her spanish teacher, Senor Rodrigues, influenced her to solve her own problems. Soon later, she was elected as a student representative. She often talked about the effects war had on children. Many people got motivated when they heard that Graca Machel was going to visit, and they joined groups such as the Colombia Red Cross, UNICEF, and the Week Of Reflection at the Catholic Church. Many people in Colombia would rather fight about a disagreement than talk about it. Farlis wanted to change this, because she recognized that the future didn't involve the armed men, but the kids that would grow up and have to make the change. Because of her good points and excellent speeches, she was elected the First Child of Colombia and had to present the declaration that they wrote. Trying to get more people to participate in the vote, she discussed her problems publicly and set up games to promote awareness.
Farlis had a meeting with Perez, the commander of an armed group. She knew any little suspicions could lead to violence. She said, ¨I learned never to accuse anyone of anything." Many people began to side with Farlis. She was shown all over newspapers and was almost famous. At the end of the voting, 2.7 million people voted for their rights. Farlis made a change in her country that nobody initially knew she could.