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Bedis's Story
Colombia
December 2001
Age: 9 years

Bedis doesn't live in her own village any more, because it was too dangerous for her family.

Bedis, a nine-year-old girl, grew up in an area called Uraba, which was surrounded by war. It wasn't long until the violence of her country destroyed any pleasant memories of her village.

"The guerrillas came and attacked us. They killed people and did a lot of damage. When I left with my mother, we saw a lot of dead people lying on the ground. Near Necoclí and Mellito [two nearby villages], we saw bodies with their heads cut off. I closed my eyes when I saw them…Mama and papa told me not to be afraid, but I couldn't help it."

Bedis and her family now live in a shantytown for displaced people on the outskirts of a town called Montería. It is hard for them to make any money. Bedis´ father works 12 hours a day, selling fruit from the back of his bicycle. Her mother stays at home, looking after Bedis and her younger brothers and sisters.

The house smells because it is next to a sewer, and there is no running water. But Bedis feels safe and secure in her new surroundings.

"We live here because there isn't violence and bad things don't happen. It's better here than where we lived before…much better."

Bedis dreams of going to college one day. She wants to be a teacher, so she can teach other children to read and write and to not say bad words or fight. She also has a dream for her country.

"We should respect each other, love peace, and be good, kind and forgiving. We don't want any more violence. We don't want all these bad things to happen to us anymore."