“Within seconds, my life was torn apart”

Five years ago, while Xiemna, 33, was putting her son to bed, a grenade was thrown into her home in Colombia drastically changing her life within seconds. On that day, she lost both of her children and sustained serious injures. With support from Humanity & Inclusion, she has been given psychological support and has now set up her own homemade yogurt business. Xiemna and her husband, Armando tell their story:

“On August 17, 2012, I was cooking and the TV was on. I was six-months pregnant and was in the process of putting my five-year-old son to bed when I heard a noise. It all happened so quickly. There was an explosion. A loud bang. Then silence.

I wanted to scream and shout and call my husband. I looked for my son, my child, my love, and I heard screaming. I had blood all over my stomach and body. My head felt heavy. People were shouting “Xiemna,” over and over again. My son’s body was still. I couldn’t breathe properly. They rushed me to the clinic in Cali. I heard a doctor shout, ‘It’s really serious! It’s really very serious!’ I just kept asking where my children were.

Slowly, steadily, I began to feel the pain. It was violent. Heavy. Bitter. That’s when it dawned on me: they were dead. My body was torn apart. I had grenade shrapnel in my head and wounds on my forehead, breast, hands, hips, and lungs. Within seconds, a grenade had torn my life apart.

Thanks to HI, I’ve been given psychological support. I also discovered Christianity, which has given me a lot of strength. I feel much calmer again now, and I don’t feel hatred or the need for revenge anymore.”

Xiemna’s husband Armando adds, “We weren’t going to let ourselves be beaten by this. HI and Tierra de Paz helped us set up our new homemade yogurt business. We had some training from a dairy producer and then we were given some equipment, a fridge, cooking hobs, and so on. At first, I went into the mountains to sell my blackberry and pineapple yogurt from door-to-door. Now it’s more by word-of-mouth. We’ve built a kitchen in the garden that complies with hygiene standards. It’s a real business – our driving force. My dream is to sell our yogurts in a supermarket.


Xiemna continues, “We’re slowly moving forward. I help other victims of war talk about their feelings. I give them what I wanted to have. And our son, Samuel, who’s two and half years old, is our little bonus.”