Not long before I left Bogotá the last time, in March 2010, FOR (the organization I work with) found itself having to find a new apartment for its volunteers in Bogotá. One of the first things we put on the list of requirements for the new place was a permanent doorman. Though we had had a part time doorman (actually, a doorwoman) in the previous apartment, the apartment was robbed in 2006. It's still unclear exactly what happened, but it probably didn't help that the doorwoman was part time and all the neighbors had keys to the front door.
Having a doorman is not uncommon in Colombia. Many, if not most, middle class apartment buildings, and all upper class ones, do. Most also have empleadas: part-time, or in the case of many upper-class households, full-time, maids. So do all offices, including the office FOR shares with a Colombian NGO. Éxito, the chain store that I consider a slight nicer version of Walmart (though I’ve never actually been in Walmart so it’s just a guess), sells, next to the towels and sheets, uniforms for you to purchase for your empleada.
Despite doormen and empleadas being ubiquitous, I still don’t feel entirely comfortable having a doorman (note: I sweep my own floors). My little building employs two men who alternate shifts every 24 hours. No one besides them has keys to the front gate and door, so even when I come home at 4am after a night of dancing, they have to open the front door to let me in; I'm sure I have awoken them several times. I feel badly every time, but I have no other way to get in.