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They weren’t looking

published: 2010-04-26

A young woman wonders about who she is. She has been adopted. She asks a tv-programme to help her find her mother. And they do: mother lives in a psychiatric institution in Colombia. She is a paranoid schizofrenic and has been locked up there for thirty years. Nobody visits her. The young woman does. She seems entirely at ease in meeting her mother after thirty years, even when mother cannot engage in proper conversation with the woman who presents herself as her daughter.
There’s more. The programme discovers there are three brothers. One of them sells corn on the streets of Bogota and lives in poverty. He too is happy to learn he has a mother. The other two live in the States. They are big and luglike and have spent their entire lives thinking their mother was dead. They work, eat, sleep, have children and life simply goes by. They had no idea they had a sister, or another brother. The television programme shows them a dvd of their sister’s visit to the institution and the brother who lives in poverty. In the two minutes that pass, their expressions reveal life as they know it no longer exists. Their world is shattered because their sister found them. See the thing is: they weren’t looking.

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