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Snapshot of Colombia – Spanish is the official language of Colombia, though several other languages (including English) are recognized as official regional languages in certain parts of the country. Colombia’s population is primarily Roman Catholic, though most do not actively practice the religion. Protestantism has been increasing in recent years. Colombia has a rich history in art and literature. Music and dance are also quite popular in Colombia, with pop, rock, salsa, vallenato, and cumbia being among popular styles. Shakira is Colombia’s most famous musician. Soccer is the most popular sport in Colombia, though baseball is almost somewhat popular in Caribbean areas of the country. Colombian cuisine varies by region. The typical dish of central Colombia is ajiaco, a chicken, potato, and corn soup, while spicy seafood dishes are popular in the Caribbean region. Rice and beans, eggs, corn, and avocado are common parts of meals across the country. Several types of bread and arepas are also common.
The first chapel was built in Cali in 1975. There are currently 180,526 members in all Colombia. The first missionaries entered Colombia in the 1960s. There are over 250 congregations throughout the country, five missions and one temple.
The food in Colombia is fresh and delicious. The whole country enjoys beans, lentils, and fruits.
For breakfast it’s common to have eggs, bread and fruits like melons, pears and strawberries.
Lunch is the main meal. Rice, a type of bean, chicken or beef, and a salad make up a delightful dish. Colombians use all types of beans, lettuce or tomato salads, and fruit juices.
The “MIO” transit is an extensive bus system that travels throughout Cali and is the main source of public transportation. There are also taxis and “secondary buses” for quick travel throughout the city. These secondary buses are less expensive, and the majority are used by locals.
Cali in previous years had issues with safety, but within the last two years crime rate continues to decrease. The daytime is very safe. There may be certain neighborhoods that are recommended to stay away from, especially during the night.
The Cali Fair runs from December 25-30 each year. There are a variety of activities including dancing, bullfights, exhibitions and food.
Salsa music is a main element for Colombia. Cali is the Salsa capital and celebrates every July. Great salsa bands perform live shows and there are competitions that take place as well.
Like most South American places, Cali loves its soccer and has two city teams, Deportivo Cali and América de Cali.
Ave 2 Oeste #10-130 Oficina 201
Edificio Tempo – Barrio Santa Rita
Cali, Valle del Cauca
Straight from the Colombia Cali Mission field:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
“Peanut butter, French toast, cold cereal, ice cream, shower heads, toilet seat (sometimes), pizza,”
*What did you eat the most of?
“rice, beans and eggs”
“Rice. Colombia, my country, is a rice-eating country!”
“Rice, beans, arepa, huevos rancheros”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“It’s my country. I’m used to it all!”
“Mondongo (cow stomach)”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“The people were so poor and didn’t have hot water, refrigerators, or much of anything really. But that didn’t matter – Spanish they were willing to give anything they had to another if they needed it.”
“The hospitality of the western part of Colombia is unbelievable, especially in the coffee region and in Pasto.”
“The people were blunt and honest, if you gained weight they mentioned it.”
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Colombia Cali Mission?
“Love the people!”
“Put your heart into it completely!”
“Be ready for a loving and accepting people”
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“Spanish! Things about their culture.”
“The new teaching methods, based more on the Spirit. How to work better with members.”
“The women have small feet and it is hard to find a wide size 8 shoe”
“Going on a mission is the best experience!”
“Colombia is known as the drug capital, that is a small part of their culture. I wish the focus was more on how endearing and hospitable the people are.”