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    NewsLatin AmericaIn a paramo in Colombia, the ashes of COVID victims give life to new trees

    In a paramo in Colombia, the ashes of COVID victims give life to new trees

    In a paramo in Colombia, the ashes of COVID victims give life to new trees

    The ashes of thousands of victims of COVID-19 in Colombia now rest on the El Pajonal Nature Reserve of the Guerrero páramo, in Cogua, Cundinamarca, in the center of the country, about 70 kilometers from Bogotá.

    You have to walk 15 minutes to reach the mountain where the ashes of those who lost their lives due to the coronavirus rest. The cemetery is located at more than 3,500 meters above sea level, approximately 1,148 feet high.

    Relatives of the deceased walk there to dig a hole where they leave the ashes of their loved ones and then plant a tree of one of four native species—rodamonte, alder, myrtle, and wax laurel—with which they bring life to this wasteland devastated by years of unbridled exploitation of the soil.

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    “He leaves us with that hope that he is still with us,” he told the voice of america Sandra Patricia Rojas, who came to the place accompanied by her brothers, nephews and grandchildren to deposit the ashes of her late father, Tomás Rojas Rojas, 75 years old.

    “My father will no longer be in a physical body, but here where we left him in the Guerrero páramo we will see him reflected forever in this tree, like one more angel that will accompany us forever,” he added.

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    Eight years ago, when this natural reserve began to be reforested, some 16,000 trees have been planted in the area, of which more than 2,000 are on the ashes of victims of the pandemic.

    “It is the most intervened wasteland in the world, it is intervened by potato crops, pastures and mining, especially in the open pit, and underground coal mining. The idea, or the calculations we had, is that approximately 320,000 trees fit into the reserve, but we don’t want to stop there, we want to continue planting trees, ”he told the VOA Margarita Ballesteros, director of the NGO Colombia Reserva de Vida, which is in charge of recovering the site.

    A family planting a tree on ashes.

    Each tree is accompanied by a white plaque where families honor their relatives with a message in the emerging vegetation that little by little begins to claim its place.

    In Colombia, according to data from the National Institute of Health, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 142,652 people.

    Source: VOA Español


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