Fostering Community in Colombia
Three teenagers are break-dancing in the courtyard of a government building in Medellín, Colombia. A boom box blares hip-hop—pure bass against the concrete walls. A dozen other teens sit cross-legged or lean against backpacks. Johana Pabon stands near the building’s glass entryway staring at the break-dancers, arms crossed, hips thrust sideways, eyes narrowed. Her tight smile, though, shows unmistakable pride. “They have this space,” she says. “They can use it whenever they want.”
Pabon is a docent at the Parque Biblioteca San Javier, which opened in 2006—one of nine “library parks,” combination community centers and social service hubs, currently operating or under construction in the slums that ring Medellín, a city with 3.5 million people.
[Top Image: San Javier in Medellín, Colombia by Flickr user lornapips]