The lonely deserts of la Guajira is some of Colombia’s most remote and poorest regions. It’s home to more than 270,000 Wayuu, Colombia’s largest indigenous community. Abandoned by the government and suffering from the effects of corruption and environmental contamination, their very survival is at risk. The Guajira peninsula is a parched, desert landscape of sand dunes and baked earth, crisscrossed by drug traffickers and contraband smugglers. But mostly forgotten by everyone else.
The Guajira is also home to one of the world’s largest open-pit coal mines, Cerrejón, owned by a British-Swiss-Australian conglomerate. Its millions of tons of coal are loaded onto ships and sent to power plants in Europe.
Severe droughts have made most farming impossible. As the region’s goat population dwindles, the Wayuu are fast running out of their main food source.
Today, the community’s sources of water are makeshift wells, sometimes several hours’ walk from where the families live. Years of drought mean the Wayuu must dig deeper to find water. And that water can be contaminated, sickening many and fatal to the young and old.
The Wayuu’s fate is inextricable from the global demand for coal, as the region’s economy is almost entirely dependent on the Cerrejón mine. The mine erased any prospects of an agricultural economy in the peninsula, while tearing apart the social fabric of Wayuu communities.
However, the average consumer doesn’t know of where their coal comes from and the price the Wayuu must pay.
@nico.filipporosso #EAW Alumni
In the photograph:
A young girl sits on a bed in the public hospital of Manaure. She has been diagnosed with malnutrition and she will receive a basic medical treatment in the hospital before going back home.
Controlling your own destiny - "It nuh matta wah dem duh, him run tings, tings nuh run him..."
On Sunday 16th September 2018 @kipchogeeliud ran an incredible race in 02:01:39h to smash the men's world marathon record in Berlin by one minutes an 18 seconds. Running the last 17 kilometres alone after his pacemakers dropped out early makes it even more remarkable. #GOAT#NOHUMANISLIMITED