All of the students from my high school in Taparcal walked nearly 5km to nearby Belén de Umbría to honor a student who was murdered in 2011. 16 year old Andrés Felipe Espinosa and another man, Wilder de Jesús López Valencia, 31, were killed for a cell phone and COP$10,000 pesos when their jeep was attacked by two armed men one Sunday evening.
The walk began with a police escort in front of the school in Taparcal and followed the rural road to Belén. Walking slowly, it took just over an hour to reach the outskirts of town.
We rested for a bit while the students lined up. In front were students carrying the Colombian flag, and the flags of Risaralda and Belén de Umbría. Next were banners students made about the basic human right to life and denouncing violence. The marching band followed behind.
After winding through a few streets in Belén, we stopped at the plaza and had a ceremony lasting about 20 minutes. Taparcal’s English teacher, Alberto, led the ceremony. When it finished, the students were bussed back to Taparcal.