For the past 10 days, Women in International Relations have been staying in Bogotá, Colombia. We have had the wonderful experience of meeting so many caring and knowledgeable individuals throughout this trip who has helped us explore the topic of female Venezulan migrants in Colombia. Specifically, for my research question, what are the obstacles faced by pregnant female Venezulan migrants in Colombia in accessing the health care system, it is interesting to understand the relationship between accessibility and information. From what I could gather from the interviews I had, one of the issues being faced by pregnant Venezulan migrants with a temporary protection permit (PPT) was the complexity of the Colombian healthcare system. Most were not aware of what obstetric services they were entitled to due to their PPT. Migrants not being accustomed to the Colombian healthcare system, especially impacted them in insurance of xenophobia in healthcare because they were unsure how to report it.
Other than the interviews we have done here in Colombia, we have had the opportunity to meet several IGL alums while in Bogotá. On our last full day in the city, we were able to meet with Shanti Sattler and Sebastian Chaskel, two alumni living in Bogotá and associated with work being done to help the Venezuelan migrant population in Colombia. It was interesting to talk to them about our findings as well as how Tufts had changed since they attended the university. For the rising seniors on this trip, it was comforting to hear from Sebastian and Shanti about their journeys after Tufts and how being flexible is necessary. Overall, this research trip was a great experience! I was able to not only learn so much about the ongoing obstacles faced by Venezulan migrants but expand my research skills and get to bond with so many wonderful people. I want to thank the IGL for sponsoring this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The past two days in Bogotá have been pretty busy, but also extremely fun! Yesterday, on the 22, we were able to explore the neighborhood of La Candelaria, since our interview scheduled for Monday was moved to Tuesday due to a holiday. La Candelaria has great murals, views of the mountains surrounding Bogotá, and a lot of museums. Again, because of the holiday, only a few were open on Monday, but we managed to get to the Museo Botero, an art museum featuring a large amount of pieces by Fernando Botero (namesake of the museum). We went back to the neighborhood we’re staying in for dinner, before getting together in one of our hotel rooms to prepare for our meetings on the 23. On Tuesday, we got going pretty early to meet with an IGL alum, Shanti Sattler, at her co-working office, which was actually only a couple blocks away from our hotel. It was so fun to talk to a Tufts and IGL alum about her work in Colombia, as well as her experiences since graduating–she gave us some great advice and very helpful information for all of our research projects. After wrapping up with Shanti, we grabbed brunch at a restaurant called Al Agua Patos, which is apparently pretty well-known in Bogotá, and after trying the food, that’s definitely not without good reason, it was delicious. It stormed most of the afternoon, so we stayed in the hotel preparing for our next meeting at 4pm with the Mayor of Bogotá’s Counselor for Immigration Issues, Iván Gaitán Gómez, at the Bogotá Marriott. He actually brought us into an ongoing conference that was apparently hosted by USAID for many different organizations involved with migration in Colombia. We think they were wrapping up a multi-year project based on the concluding remarks (we didn’t hear the introduction since we came in during the middle), which was a very cool experience. After the conference wrapped up, we were able to conduct our interview with Mr. Gomez, which offered a lot of insight into our topics and gave us a lot more information to work with. By the time we got back to our hotel, we were all pretty wiped out, but we did go out to dinner, then came back, worked on some questions, and went to bed–another successful day in Bogotá!
With less than one week left in Bogotá, Women in IR have been making the most out of our trip! Yesterday, we interviewed Natalia Durán, Policy Manager of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Colombia. A brief five-minute walk from our hotel, her office was situated on the eighth floor of a large corporate building with a scenic view of the sloping mountains. This was followed by a much-needed break, where we enjoyed shopping for fresh pastries and stuffed animals at Miniso. Finally, craving pasta, we grabbed dinner at Cacio e Pepe, a traditional Italian restaurant only a few blocks away. Early this morning, Ashley and I conducted a virtual interview with Mariana Sandoval and Ana Maria Ortiz of Fundación Santo Domingo to learn about access to healthcare and education for Venezuelan migrants. They also helped connect us to more humanitarian organizations to contact later in the week. To escape the heavy tropical rain, the group headed to Centro Comerical Andino in the afternoon for food court snacks and fun arcade games! We ended the night at a savory crepes and waffles restaurant and watched movies in our room. On Friday, we have another interview booked with Laura Lopez of Amnesty International. This weekend, we are hoping to explore the city and sightsee at a few potential places: a coffee farm, Salt Cathedral and Lake Guatavita, hiking Mount Monserrate, Museo Santa Clara, Museo del Oro, Jardín Botánico de Bogotá, Plaza de Bolívar, and more. In our final days, we plan to squeeze in a couple more interviews and meet with some Tufts alum for an IGL reunion and dinner celebration!
This is Izzy Martinez with Tufts Women in International Relations (WIIR). A little bit more about me: I am a rising senior majoring in International Relations with a concentration in globalization. For the next week and a half, I will be researching employment opportunities for female Venezuelan refugees here in Colombia. Here is a quick recap of our day since arriving yesterday evening!
Tufts WIIR landed safe and sound yesterday in Bogota, Colombia. We arrived at our hotel at around 7pm—just in time for dinner! We walked around the area—the neighborhood of El Chicó—and decided to have dinner at 930 Café Parque de la 93—a small cafe with great food and live music! We finished dinner quickly as we were desperately looking forward to finally resting after a full day of traveling.
This morning—May 21st— we woke up refreshed and ready to explore the area a little more. But first, we needed breakfast so we walked to the restaurant Crepes and Waffles for some delicious breakfast. After a filling breakfast and coffee, we walked around and explored different shops, restaurants, and a library. We then regrouped and decided it was time to get work done. We are currently as a local cafe working: prepping more questions for our interviews this week, reaching out to potential interviewees, organizing our calendars, and doing more research! We look forward to meeting everyone this week and can’t wait for the week ahead!