Manuel Antonio Arbelaez

By: Selim Ozdil


Manuel Antonio Arbelaez was born on January 7th, 1938 in Pereira, Colombia. He grew up in a big family of 10, including a brother and nine sisters. His father was a wealthy rancher, so he experienced a rural childhood. His father used to take him by force to rooster fights to watch very unpleasant shows.
Manuel went to a all boys catholic school, called La Salle. He was a left handed writer, but at the time it was known as a defect on a human being. The teachers tied his left arm behind his back to correct his "problem".
Growing up his all time favorite hobby was literature, he loved to read books. After school he went to the library to read for hours. He always carried a book in his pocket, and him and his best friends had a literature club where they all gathered to talk about their current book.
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Later on in his lifetime, Manuel pursued a career in literature and he became an English and Spanish teacher. At 27 years old, he met Maria Esther and two years later, she became his wife. They had three children, Leonardo, Constanza, and Jose Antonio.
When he was in his forties, he lost his left eye due to glaucoma. He never believed in going to the doctor until he was in unbearable pain in his eye, but it was too late to save it.
Eventually he retired at 50 years old and he dedicated the rest of his life to travel and visit his children and grandchildren in the United States and Canada. He currently has four grandchildren, three boys and one girl, Selim, Ilhan, Santiago, and Daniela.
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Currently, Manuel resides in Cali, Colombia with his wife. In 2017 they will be celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary. They both remain in good health in their seventies and they are a very active elderly couple. They eat very healthy, walk a lot, travel around the world, and hope to live for many more years to come.
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