• 00:01 Knowing what you know
  • 07:04 The loneliness virus
  • 08:10 HIV is also a form of gender violence
  • 09:51 20 years of Lila Mujer
  • 11:09 Seedtime of the navel, germinating protest
  • 12:33 March 18, 2003: the dry birth of Lila Mujer. An extended family
  • 14:11 In the Pacific, when one woman gives birth, we all give birth
  • 16:40 Making a racket like hens do
  • 18:47 Not just a diagnosis: a life plan
  • 23:37 Discrimination is deadlier than the diagnosis
  • 24:04 Rebellious cooking: skills inventory
  • 25:34 Making chocolates
  • 26:32 Hot Chocolate for Life
  • 29:19 Meals prepared by people living with HIV
  • 30:43 Women with HIV and interconnected vulnerabilities
  • 31:45 Sexual abuse, drugs, forced displacement: we are a bridge between organizations
  • 34:32 Lila Mujer reducing the stigma in Cali
  • 36:09 I want to write the stories of the women of Lila Mujer
  • 38:18 When one speaks out, others start speaking out
  • 39:53 Administration of Poverty
  • 41:19 People's HIV Research Center
  • 44:30 A political space, we are political beings
  • 45:49 Living in abundance, the solidarity economy and "I am because we are"
  • 49:01 Casa Cultural Chontaduro and Preuniversitario Paulo Freire
  • 51:12 Radio Lila heals
  • 52:31 Birthdays, radio-serials, giving birth to stories...
  • 54:16 My dream
26/06/2023 57' 0''
Yaneth Valencia vista por Violeta Ospina

Yaneth Valencia is a leader, activist mother and poet. She is also community organizer of Lila Mujer, a political space for support, collective creation  and affirmation of the lives of black women with HIV, which was founded in 2003 in the working class neighbourhoods of Cali, Colombia. Lila is also what the midwifery tradition of the Colombian Pacific  call a “dry birth”—the moment when the waters break, before the contractions of the womb—the fruit of the experience of being and knowing oneself to be more than a HIV diagnosis and an embodiment of the social stigma of the “loneliness virus”.  From a heartfelt instinct for self-care and the dream of generating a space for collective healing, Lila hosts, accompanies, and employs an extended family of Afro-descendant women, whose ancestors were runaway slaves, many of them affected by the armed conflict and all of them subjected to institutional racism that denies them access to adequate housing, education, and health infrastructures.   

In this big family, sustained by hard work for twenty years, the women make noise in the face of the stigma of HIV by cooking up life plans together. Lila Mujer’s kitchen  is rebellious, and getting together to drink hot chocolate is for “mutual aid without an s”.  Although their tasty dishes are just one of the many skills, complicities and dreams they collectively compose. They also share and revive practices and know-how such as the ancestral tradition of the “seedtime of the navel” in connection with the Pacific runaway slaves, with life and the land, which become a form of resistance to what Yaneth calls the “administration of poverty”: institutional interventions that lack continuity, a social base and commitment.   

In this podcast, we talk with Yaneth Valencia about the overlapping vulnerabilities that affect black women with HIV in Colombia, linking racism to the lack of a public health system and analysing the relationship between the virus and patriarchal violence, which is exacerbated by war and the forced displacement of black and indigenous peoples from their lands. We join her in dreaming up a Centre for Popular Research on HIV and a book on the memory of the women of Lila. And above all, we listen to the urgent need and desire conveyed by the social upheaval in Colombia: to live a flavourful life in solidarity with cousins and siblings, still inspired by the Ubuntu philosophy of “I am because we are”.

Conversation: Violeta Ospina, Lina Vanesa López Ortiz and Anna Ramos. Script, sound production and voice over Violeta Ospina. Sounds: André Chêdas, Violeta Ospina, Anna Ramos and some guests in the kitchen.

Image: Illustration by Violeta Ospina

Son[i]aYaneth Valenciaanti-racismHIVCreative Commons

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