28 July 2017, Morroa Municipality, Cambimba village, Colombia - Robinson Alfredo Salas Rivera working in the field.
Robinson is one of the millions of people displaced by Colombia's 52-year armed conflict. His life is punctured by a series of losses.
?n this land where we are now, violence was a reality with the presence of armed groupsRhe problem started around 1988 but it got worse in 1991on the 26 of July we had my brother's anniversary. He was killed 27 years agoRhe situation continued to get worse with more violence each day until we had to abandon the land," says Robinson.
? decided to leave because I was married and had two children. I was always very afraid with the presence of those people . My parents, who stayed until 2001, also had to leave. You see, my parents had initially stayed, and my dad continued traveling back and forth to work on his land. He would work during the day, but leave at night as it wasn't safe. This was until 2003 when he died of a heart attack. Then one of my brothers took over caring for our land. He was killed in 2006. Another brother was killed in 2007. After this, we abandoned the land completely. We lost the land. My dad's land," he says, his voice filled with sorrow.
In the city, Robinson found himself missing everything. His village. His land. Robinson is blind and he missed his way of being, of working back in his village. Life in the village kept them busy; there was always something to do on the farm, ?o time to be idle", explains Robinson.
It took Robinson 18 years to be able to go back to his village - Pertenencia, Moroa region, in northern Colombia. It happened when the government approved the ?and Restitution Law for Victims". This basically meant that Robinson could have land in his former village.
He didn't know in what state he would find the land. It was in the middle of a jungle area, and hard to access it. ?t had nothing but weeds. That was it," says Robinson.
Little by little, he built a house. With support from the Land Restitution Unit, he could clear the land, and started growing crops. He also received five cows. He now has 16. He could sell some of the cows and invest the money in the farm. Although he works by himself on the farm, he says that he is happy with the way things have turned out. His wife lives with the children a few hours away as two of the children are disabled and they lack health services in the rural area.
?e learnt new things . They showed us how to make and use chemical-free fertilisers for our crops. Also, how to better raise our cows," he adds. Robinson's dream is to have a lot of cattle; a self-sufficient farm, growing plantain, cassava, and yam; and an orchard full of fruit trees. And not last - to live peacefully.
?hat we need is peace, because if we have economic stability and food, we will succeed and will be free from all the problems we see in the urban areas. We are building peace little by little," concludes Robinson.Ove