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[RC] Colombia - a visit with Hernan's family - stephteeter

A Visit with Hernan's Family

Hernan left Colombia for the USA 5 years ago, and his huge family misses him
dearly. His story is also a product of Columbia's dark period of unrest,
kidnappings and murder. Four years ago he met Steve and Dinah and has been
working for them ever since. But now, Hernan is getting married. His wedding
will be at the Rojek's farm in Vermont. All of the family is invited, but
few will be able to attend because it is a very difficult and long process
for Colombian citizens to obtain US visas. Nevertheless, everyone must be
invited, and Steve and Dinah offered to meet with Hernan's Colombian family
and deliver the invitations.

They finally managed to find the time to go to Hernan's mother's house
Friday afternoon, the day before the Club La Pradera ride. Gregory
volunteered to go along, to help find the place and to act as interpreter
(his mother speaks no English). This was one of those little gems of 'real
life' experience that I am so glad I was part of. We all piled into a taxi
and left Gregory's apartment for the trip across town.

We were greeted by his mother, a tearful meeting between her and Dinah. The
family is very close, misses Hernan very much, and Steve and Dinah were
Hernan's US 'family'. It was very sweet, very touching. We sat quietly with
cups of tea while Gregory translated. Simple exchanges of conversaton.

And then Hernan's cousin arrived with his family. They grew up like cousins,
much to talk about.

A few more phone calls, and then Hernan's sister and husband arrived. A
knock on the door and the Grandmother arrived escorted by more cousins. And
then the nephews. And then another brother, another cousin. Soon the room
was bursting with family members, conversation was more and more animated,
laughing, remembering, in Spanish and English, wow... it was like a scene
from a movie. and this was only a third of his family.

Mom served up empanadas and tortilla cakes, more tea, more greetings and
handshakes. She brought out gifts to take back to Hernan, lycra underwear
designed for sports, crenoline for the bride's dress, hand embroidered
Christmas stockings and table covers... a most interesting assortment of

And then somebody put on the music. Salsa, rhythmic, too hard to keep the
foot still, and before we know it the floor was cleared and the dancing
began! It was truly a fantastic experience. I'm sure Hernan was feeling the
energy from thousands of miles away.

During tearful goodbye's, it was decided that the family should go to the
Endurance event the next day, and see what it was that Hernan was doing in
the US. Sure enough they showed up (though not quite as many of them) - took
it in, and seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I'm sure trying to figure
out what the sport was, and how Hernan ever got involved.

A special experience for all.


full coverage and photos at http://www.endurance.net/colombia



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