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Life For A Young Black Boy In Colombia
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The Path To Adulthood For A Young Black Man In Colombia

Young Black Man in park

There are all these moments you think you won’t survive. And then you survive. –David Levithan


Esteban chose to leave home and join FARC at age 13 because, in his eyes, if his life continued at the rate it was going…then that young Black boy would never actually grow to be a young Black man. Against his mother’s will, he made the decision. Once it was fully apparent to her that he would be leaving home, Esteban’s mother knew she also had to make a decision. In ways unmentioned, Esteban recalled how she “made him tougher” before his departure—because she knew he would need that toughness to survive.


Todos Somos Hermanos

Not knowing what to expect and forced to become a man much sooner than your average teenage boy, Esteban spoke of how he felt at home immediately upon joining FARC.

The racism I experienced in Cali was non-existent in FARC. It didn’t matter if you were Black, White, Male, Female, Indigenous, etc…”Todos somos hermanos (We were all brothers).”

He found his place as a medic within the organization and by working to save lives, he grew to have a greater desire for peace. Not just peace within Colombia, but across the globe.


Boys To Men: A Young Black Man In Colombia

Being away from home was hard but, in the years that followed his separation from family, Esteban felt closer to his mother than he ever did while in her presence. He understood what she had gone through during her time with FARC and felt proud to follow in her footsteps. As his search for deeper life meaning continued within self, Esteban often thought back to his grandmother. She had told his father on numerous occasions that he would be a musician. She had been a musician in her younger years and, thus, planted the early seeds for his love of music.


The Return

13 years after leaving home to join FARC, the young Black boy that left returned as a young Black man. Esteban, now known by his musician name, Black Esteban, wants the world to know that not only is he Colombian…but also a proud, young Black man in Colombia. As a rapper, his message is simple: Peace in Colombia. Peace across the entire globe. And to end discrimination against the people of the world that come from African descent and all others subjected to hate or racism.

Young Black Boy Smile

In the comments below, share a story of any remarkable individual/s you have come across during your travels.


  1. Karen says:

    Sadly there are too many people who see the small differences between us instead of all the things that unite us. Thanks for sharing this inspirational story.

  2. Victoria says:

    This is a very inspiring story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Dealman says:

    Different post, What a touching story! I wonder how much one has to suffer for no fault of theirs. thanks

  4. Alyssa tuangco says:

    An inspiring story! It takes a lot of courage for a boy to become a man. I hope he can continue his advocacy of peace.

  5. Irma says:

    The beginning of the blog post reminded me of Orwell’s Animal Farm where he says “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than other.” The line is very deep, yet very sad. Today everyone wants to be special but everyone keeps being racists, instead of being a human. Luckily, Esteban found his way to becoming a man, a young human who followed his dream and who helped not only other people, but also himself. This blog post is really inspiring and thank you for sharing it with us.

  6. Indrani says:

    What a touching story! I wonder how much one has to suffer for no fault of theirs.
    Good you turned all into positive strength and faced life. Great to know sucha honorable man!

  7. What a inspiring story. Makes me want to know more about him and learn deeply. Its a great reminder that whatever it is that we have on our plate today, this too shall pass…

  8. Love how you introduced him to us. His quest is truly inspiring, never giving up nor letting discrimination stop him.

    I love his return story.

    This reminds me to be extra friendly and know people from my travels too. Never thought one could tell a story about the people they met in their travels and not concentrate on the travels and places alone.

  9. Teresa says:

    Leaving home at a young age is quite daunting. But kudos to Esteban for not only surviving but also for becoming successful. His mother must be proud! Congratulations, Esteban!

  10. Dawn says:

    What an inspiring story! This is a reminder that no matter what you’re going through right now, everything will get better soon. As long as you persevere and hold on to your beliefs, you will get there!

  11. Milton Coyne says:

    what an inspiring story… for me everything happens for a reason and every decision we made were actually God’s plan.. at first it feels like we are leading into somewhere we thought we are not supposed to be but eventually you will realized that your fate actually take you to the right path and all the sacrifices is truly worth it.
    I salute Esteban for this triumph he was able to accomplish in life and I wish him all the success!

  12. Britney says:

    This is an amazing story of triumph. It can inspire many other young black men as well as men of other ethnicities to persevere through trials and become positive examples.

  13. Kita says:

    I am really enjoying getting to know more about this young man.

  14. It’s a nice feeling to meet remarkable individual/s while travelling, especially if we would have the chance to talk with them and hear their stories.

    • EG III says:

      For me, it makes the entire trip so much more worthwhile to be able to really dig into the local community.

  15. I love this. This is one of the reasons I love travel. You find yourself face to face with stories just like this one. I made a really good friend last December while on a trip to S.A. and Zambia. She is a native South African making her way through various parts of southern Africa. We still keep in touch and are hoping to take a trip together soon. I love the connections that are made while existing in another country. Kudos to you for connecting with Esteban. I wish him well in his music career.

    • EG III says:

      Since I’ve been travelling I’ve come to value my travel friendships more than ever because you instantly have that mutual connection of travel to bring you together no matter how different your background may be.

  16. Irma says:

    Very interesting and inspiring story. Esteban is really strong and admireable. Life in Columbia is really tough due to all those fightings. But stories like these bring back the hope for all of us.

  17. Maria says:

    Such a magnificent and inspiring story. I admire your race for the talents that you have. But, same with Jennifer, I’m curious with what FARC means or what is it. I admire that he is back back with great talent that surely his family would love and be proud of him. Even though leaving at a young age (I’m guessing) is tough, he became a tougher person because of it. For that, he’s a survivor! Keep on inspiring!

    • EG III says:

      FARC are one of the rebel groups of Colombia. The acronym literally stands for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

  18. Kasi says:

    This is a great and inspiring story! I’m glad Esteban found what he was looking for in FARC, and I hope he has continued success.

  19. Sriparna says:

    Such guts, emotion and inspiration; this post is a real motivation for so many that have lost hope; including me in my current situation. Thank You for the timely and wonderfully composed read 🙂

    • EG III says:

      Keep your head. When I’m down I always remind myself that somebody, somewhere is going through things that make my problems look like nothing.

  20. Meera says:

    This is a touching and an inspiring story. It must be hard for his mother when he decided to leave home. Im glad he achieved what he desired. We all need our own identity, no matter what. Kudos to Esteban. Great article!

  21. Carola says:

    Impressive story! It’s so nice to read that he worked as a medic and saved lives. And that his desire for peace became greater. It’s also great that he felt closer to his mother than ever. Also as a rapper: He has a great message for everyone!

  22. It’s so important to share the stories from minorities who struggle and then find success. This was a really touching story. I’ve met many people along my travels who’ve faced struggles to simply feed and look after their families. It puts things into perspective.

    • EG III says:

      You right…it’s so very important to share the stories of people from all corners of the world…everyone has the right to have a voice in my opinion.

  23. Katy says:

    A touching story of strength and perseverance in the face of adversity. Sounds like you’re on a journey to inspire others as well as to bring peace and being an end to hate. Keep up your inspiring mission!

  24. Jack says:

    Interesting story! Especially since I’ll be going to Colombia this summer:)

  25. Laura says:

    A really captivating and touching story – thanks for sharing!

  26. Nathalie says:

    No one craves peace more than those who’ve seen the horrors of war firsthand. And I’m saying this as someone who hasn’t but wants peace just the same. It’s remarkable that Black Esteban’s spirit didn’t get get damages while watching the fighting. The fact that he came back stronger for his ordeal makes him an admirable man indeed.

  27. DTG says:

    Thanks for sharing a very interesting and touching story. Fantastic post.

  28. krista says:

    great story, you have a wonderful writing style!

  29. Natalia says:

    Wow what a really interesting story

  30. What a wonderful and touching story. Thank you so much for sharing with us, and much love and luck to Estaban!

  31. Edoardo says:

    Reading this story made me remember when I met a survivor from a massacre made in Sant’Anna di Stazzema in Italy, by Nazis troops during second world war, where they killed more than innocent 500 civils between women, children, and elderly people, just because the Nazi soldiers, belonging to SS, were frustrated and angry for the civil resistance.

  32. Jen says:

    Inspiring post! I wish Esteban all the best. Discrimination should have no place in this world. I am happy that he is following his dream. I had to google FARC though.

    • EG III says:

      It definitely shouldn’t and hopefully we can continue to push the world toward a place where it no longer exists.

  33. Mimi Green says:

    I love a good story of triumph. Kudos to Esteban, I am cheering him on. I hope he continues to go as far as he can.

  34. Ra'Nesha says:

    Very touching story and an amazing blessing this post brought me to tears.

  35. Jennifer says:

    So what exactly is the FARC? Leaving home at such a young age has got to be hard! I couldn’t imagine my teens leaving home like this. It’s a shame Esteban’s mom couldn’t go with him. I think that would have been a positive experience for them both. Wishing Esteban all the best!

    • EG III says:

      Hi Jennifer. FARC stands for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and it’s one of the rebel groups of Colombia.

  36. Kita says:

    I wish Estaban all the success his heart desires and more. Love that he remains connected to his roots and his love for his mom and grandmother.

  37. Ngumabi says:

    Touching story
    I really love and applaud Africans who make it and are proud of their roots
    i love this

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