Kolumbien: Rafaela Vos Obeso

We women have the same capacity and potential for power to allow us to be participants in our own destiny.

— Rafaela Vos Obeso

A sea in summer. That is a good image of the work Rafaela Vos Obeso has created during the last 28 years. She has organized her country women, drop by drop, so they have become at last like a human sea, warm, calm, but also strong and brave when the time to fight for their rights comes. She is a sociologist, historian, writer, brilliant professor at the University of Barranquilla. Rafaela is an eminent intellectual, and more than that, a humanitarian. A woman. A horizon.

We met her one afternoon in the hallways of the University of the Atlantic, in Barranquilla, Colombia, a dark-skinned woman with curly hair and a beauty mark on her lip, in the right side of her face. Her body is robust and her look very intense. She is like the image of her people, a ray of light bathed by the waters of the beautiful Caribbean sea. She does not go unnoticed. She is a sociologist and a historian. She has a Masters in Political Sciences and another in History. Her name is Rafaela Vos Obeso. Like the horizon, you look at her and she guides you. “Challenges are important for the transformation of humanity,” she thinks, says and believes. Her life has been a challenge during every moment. She made the decision to educate and transform herself first, so that she would later be able to help and transform others. She has made her life into a project of enabling permanent interaction between social groups from all backgrounds. To see her is to believe in her. She emanates a strength that is conviction. “Re-education is a life option.” She wants to re-educate us for peace. An intimate peace. A true peace. Her work as an activist has lasted for 28 years of untiring fight. “Our language does not use arms in a bid for power.” Her weapons have been words. Words full of reconciliation, wisdom and hope. As the afternoon comes to an end, Rafaela Vos Obeso goes into her office, but her work does not end at night. Her light is never extinguished.

The Meira Delmar Center of Documentation of the Woman, University of the Atlantic