The stranger at Bogota airport

A wisdom of life at Gate 53

The conversation with an agent from the music scene was long. Sometime after midnight we part. Another building block for the Diospi Suyana Youth Festival has been laid. The next day I wait 12 hours at Bogota airport for my onward flight to Dallas, USA.

In the evening I stand in line behind a friendly man. “What documents does American Airlines want to see from us?” I ask the gentleman in Spanish. And we’re already talking. The Columbian works as an engineer in Peru – as I soon hear – and he wants to visit his children in the USA. Of course, I tell him some details about Diospi Suyana. “Faith in God is important to me,” I say, showing him my Bible in my hand luggage. Probably he has never seen such a strange bird like me.

Engineer Julio López is neither irritated nor impressed. Rather, he opens his bag and shows me a thick book. The title “La Biblia” underlines that we have the most important thing in common. We both believe that the son of a carpenter is the savior of the world. His bible, by the way, is all tattered and full of little notes….

We meet again at Gate 53 shortly before departure. I sit down next to him and speak up, “Well, it’s extremely rare to meet someone like her who takes the Bible on the plane!” Julio López nods and then a sentence comes up that should be sent to everyone’s cell phones as a text message. “Yes, most people think the Bible is too heavy for carry-on luggage, but in reality, our lives are much harder without it!” Bull’s eye! It is hard to put it better than Julio, a Catholic.

At 5 o’clock in the morning, our paths cross for the last time at passport control in Dallas. A quick greeting and a smile. For him, the journey continues immediately to Seattle and I take the shuttle bus to the rental car station. – The man from Colombia, who like me works in Peru, was simply right. Life is not easier without the Bible, but much harder. /KDJ

The Colombian engineer’s Bible is large and quite tattered. Many little notes are stuck between the pages.
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