Colombia: The story of CRAN

By Nathan Hayes

foto 3As I’m sure most of you know, part of this trip involved my heritage in Colombia and reconnecting some how. A lot of friends and family asked many questions as to my biological background and if the reason was to find my biological parents. You know, honestly, I wasn’t sure exactly what would happen or if that’s what I truly wanted to do at this point in life. I couldn’t answer it until I got here and let the universe direct me to where, who, how and why I needed to return and how closure would be found.

CRAN is essentially Colombia’s child welfare services and orphanage of which I spent the first 4 months of my life at. I sourced the company through documents I procured in North Carolina last month. Once we had been in Bogota for a few days, our airbnb host (who is now a very close friend) contacted CRAN on my behalf to see if we could arrange a tour of the facilities and so I could make a donation to the foundation. To our surprise, the founder of the company wanted to meet with me directly.

We traveled across the city to a small suburb in the northern region of Bogota where the orphanage was located. When we pulled up to the gate I immediately felt this sense of peace, calm and sacredness of what we were about to experience. We were greeted by security who escorted us in to meet one of the coordinators. She led us into a small room lined with photos of children who had been adopted and offered us a coffee while we waited to meet with the founder.

After a few minuets a grey haired woman came in and sat down. She asked me all kinds of questions about what I do now and where I live. There was this sense of full circle in her eyes, perhaps meeting one of the kids she helped along the way all grown up, reminded her why she does what she does. Her position at CRAN has lasted around 40 years and — I mean she had this mother Teresa thing going it was incredible and I felt a profound sense of respect for her tireless work to improve the lives of the Colombian children.

foto 2We talked for a while, she provided me the name of the hospital I was born in (which is no longer in existence) and also the location of CRAN in downtown Bogota during the 80’s where I would have lived incase I wanted to see where it was (they relocated to the suburbs in the mid 90’s). As we conversed I began to find that closure I had been seeking for 32 years. The layers just peeled off and I began to feel whole. It’s hard to explain but I realized at that moment, I didn’t return to Colombia to meet biological relatives, I came back to meet the people who cared for me when I was just like these kids. I came back to show the kids that they can become amazing people, doing amazing things and the sky’s the limit. If it could happen to me, it can happen to them.

After our talk, her assistant took us on a tour of the facilities which sat so peacefully in these hills looking out over northern Bogota. The orphanage was home to about 30-50 children, many who had been displaced because of the ongoing war in Colombia. We went through each section of the orphanage and met many of the kids. They were so awesome, as I walked into the first unit, this one kid just ran up to me and gave me a huge hug out of no where. I held the tears back. We continued our tour as the administrators talked with us about what life was like and the goals of the foundation moving forward.

In total, I found the closure I’ve been seeking. Not to find but to give back.

After our tour, lots of hugs and many thanks, I made my donation to the foundation and we made our way back to downtown Bogota, as I needed to give a radio interview before performing a DJ set later on at a local club.