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About 45 minutes from Cartagena you will find the village of Galerazamba.

 

From the main road we turn left and drive about 20 minutes over a bumpy road to the sea. On our way we pass a few garbage dumps and a lot of empty and partly broken houses and sheds.

 

Getting to the center of the little village there is a small church, an empty community place and even more abandoned houses. No one on the streets, its almost a ghost town. The odd hen or cow crosses the road, all of them very thin.

 

The road stops at a closed gate with a „private property“ sign, the entry to the Salina, a salt production. A few guys are sitting in the shade sharing a soda. 

 

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A ghost town

 

The salina was owned by the government in the past. Almost all inhabitants of Galerazamba worked here and the town was a busy place.

 

Due to the technical progress and with the privatisation of the salina, more and more people lost their jobs and left this remote location to find work somewhere else. That’s why Galerazamba is becoming a ghost town.

 

Nowadays there are only 150 people living here. There is one grocery store, but the people only open, if they have the time and mood for it. There is no school anymore. People have to drive their kids with their mopeds to the next bigger village, which is on the main road - Santa Catalina.

 

 

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The Salina

 

After a few words with the guys in the shade in front of the private property one guy gets up to get the keys. He strolls over to the next building in slow motion - you can’t move any faster here, it’s just too hot. He opens the gate and we get a look at the now private salina.

 

Sheds with tons of salt, scary old looking scales for trucks and the salt fields.

There are 5 of them. The sea water is let into field number 5 and left there for a few days.

Then it is channeled to field number 4, after a few days to number 3 and to number 2. 

 

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The water in number 2 looks like it is rusty.
The reddish tone comes from bacteria that is at work here, eating all the bad stuff in the water - other bacteria for example - leaving back only the salt and dying at last.
 

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Then in field number 1 - called crystallization - the rest of the water evaporates over another week or two.

 

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The water is in this field now for about 4 days and you can already see the white crystals forming underground. The water is HOT and the sun is so intense that it feels like he would burn a hole into the ground.

 

At the end of the process the whole field will be covered by pure salt. Chrystals just like the ones that cover stones and earth at the shore. The whole process takes about 2 months.

 

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Catalina de Indias, daughter of the headman Zamba of the tribe Mokana

 

On our way back we stop at a statue that is located in the middle of the residential area of Galerazamba. It’s the statue of Catalina de Indias. Some say she’s a hero, some say she’s a traitor. 

 

She was the daughter of the headman called Zamba of the caribbean tribe Mokana, that inhabited this area during the spanish conquest. As a little child she was robbed from the spaniards and brought to spain to be educated in the christian faith and raised within the spanish culture.

 

Coming back to Galerazamba at the age of 30 with Pedro de Heredia she was then used as a bridge between the two cultures, so that the Mokana and many other tribes would see the benefits of the spanish culture and believes.

The gold, that the spaniards were after and that had no real value for the indigenious people, was beside the christianization the main reason for all this effort.

 

Some say, Catalina de Indias was not to blame, as she was too young when she was robbed. But 2 years after helping the spaniards to win over many indigenious tribes as well as her own family, she left them. She got married to Alonso Montañez, nephew of Pedro de Heredia, and moved to spain.

So, is she a traitor?

 

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Who is writing here?

Hi, I am Manu. A year ago I decided that I need a break from the daily routine as a software engineer and quit my job. With my boyfriend I will travel the world for the next months. And I will share all the pictures, stories and whatever comes my way in this blog.

If you like, get in touch! Send me a message or directly comment on the articles!

I am happy to hear from you! :-)

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