The faces of Boyacá, Colombia.

Sometimes I like to think of places like people.  I am convinced that places have their own personality, flaws, and qualities, just like people, and maybe that is why I find traveling so nurturing and addictive. Every time I go on the road, I end up craving for more, and inevitably fantasizing and (sometimes) actually materializing my next adventure. It is like getting to know new interesting and wonderful people, and figuring out that the deeper you go, the more there is to discover. Anyway, when it comes to put a face to those places, it is not such a simple task. Since many of them are complex and have contrasting characteristics, it is hard to find a face that summarizes everything. That is the case of my homeland. Colombia is a very complex place and I do not say it because it is home. Actually, many of our problems could disappear if we were not such a  multidimensional place, but at the same time it is this mixture of explosive colors, intoxicating landscapes, strong flavors, passionate laughter, tears, hope, which makes Colombia the home of magical realism and a place where creativity and imagination flow naturally. Trying to find a face to Colombia, In 2012 I started to scratch the surface of this giant task, in the country side close to Bogotá, specifically in the state of Boyacá. I connect with this region because I used to go there on short trips with my family when I was a child. I have very fond memories of the cold, peaceful evenings wearing a ruana, the taste of arepas that we ate on the road, and that intense green of the mountains that invades you inside through the eyes and nose and never leaves you again. This is such a fertile land. It is the main producer of potatoes in the country, and it also has an important milk and cheese production, as well as delicious local pastries.  Boyacá locals love beer and it is frequent to find them in small shops or “tiendas” having a few beers after working hard in the country harvesting food, milking cows, or in the market selling the produce.
These are some of those faces. Just a small sample of the richness of stories that you can find there. But as I said, I am just starting to scratch the surface… it is a taste of a very big and delicious cake.

A woman takes a break at the market. Villa de Leyva, Boyacá. 2012.
María Chiquinquirá Castellanos sells basil in the local market on Saturdays. Villa de Leyva, Boyacá. 2012.
A group of men harvest and pack onions to be sent to Venezuela in the big truck. Sáchica, Boyacá. 2014.
A woman finished selling most of the fruits in the Saturday market. Villa de Leyva, Boyacá. 2014.
Mr. Noé and his dog and companion “Pocho”. Gachantivá, Boyacá. 2014.
Sofía claims to be the oldest woman in the small town of Sáchica, Boyacá. 2014.
Yuliana with her brother live in Santa Sofía, Boyacá. They like to spend time with one of the local stray dogs called “Chocolatina”. Santa Sofía, Boyacá. 2016.
Mercedes wakes up at 4 am every morning to milk the cows at the farm where she works at. Samacá, Boyacá. 2016.
Anita showing us her tree commonly known as “Draco”. She uses this tree to make cheese. Samacá, Boyacá. 2016.
Anita and her husband Alfredo Gómez at the entrance of their house in Samacá, Boyacá.  2016.
Johan and his dog “Bambi”. Chíquiza, Boyacá. 2016.
Wilder and his dog “Sandy”. Chíquiza, Boyacá. 2016.
Man drinks a beer in a small store. Santa Sofía, Boyacá. 2016.

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