"Inheritors of the Mountain" Gallery

The film project was quite a success and the kids seemed to have a lot of fun with it. Each were given a Kodak one-time-use camera with which to take pictures as part of their overnight assignment. None had ever seen or used a film camera before. Some couldn't grasp the concept of using a camera only once and then throwing it away. While going through the kids' photos I made some interesting observations. Observation 1 - almost all of the kids took at least one photo with the iconic Quinini mountain in the background. The only 2 that did not, were the same 2 who have not lived their whole lives at the foothill of the mountain reserve. Observation 2 - even though they were supposed to take the photos themselves, they actually used their film cameras to have other people take pictures with them in it. Observation 3 - they took a lot of pictures of their pets/farm animals. Dogs, cats, chickens, cows, pigs etc. Observation 4 - many tried to take pictures of flowers but film cameras such as these don't really have the capability of shooting close up. Something I forgot to mention to them. Observation 5 - although we covered holding a camera and not putting your fingers on the lens, there were a lot of fingers in the photos. 

Kevin, 13

Although he was born in Bogotá, Kevin’s mother brought him to live with his grandparents when he was only one month old. He loves exploring with his friends and is one of those rare few who actually enjoys the chores that come with being a farmer. His parents separated when he was much younger and both of them still live Bogotá. Lately, his dad has been petitioning to get him to move permanently to the city, where he believes he will have access to more opportunities.  

Juan Camilo, 18

After graduating from high school in 2013, Juan Camilo traveled to the city in search of work. He found a job in a restaurant in Bogotá, but after 4 months he moved back to the countryside. Juanca loves everything about rural living, but the job opportunities are limited. One of his hobbies includes exploring neighboring farms in search of rock art. He is hoping his discoveries will help find him a research job with the National University, so he can do what he loves while remaining at the foothills of Quininí.

América, 15

One of Amerika’s favorite things to do is dance merengue. She has trouble counting all her friends and describes herself as being very friendly - someone who loves to socialize, but doesn’t like conflict. Her dream is to become a vet and save money so she can create a foundation for abandoned dogs. If she could travel anywhere in the world it would be to Italy because she likes the language. When asked why she calls herself Amerika (it’s not her real name), she replies that it’s because it’s original and she’s from the Americas. 

Belisa, 11

The youngest of the Castillo girls, Belisa often helps her mom with chores around the house. Whenever she can gain access to a camera, she likes to take pictures of birds, flowers and her family. She also enjoys making handicrafts and even took a class once with the women to learn how to make bags out of wool and fique fibers. Her favorite thing about school is playtime and she wants to be a famous singer one day. 

Carmen Lorena, 17

Having just recently graduated from high school, Carmen Lorena is still looking at her options. She would like to study something related to the environment, but the nearby options are limited and her dad doesn’t want her to go far. She says there may be other classes she could take online but they have no internet connection at the house. During the day she assists her mom with housework and helps her sisters with their homework. She also attends community meetings and events with her dad.

Maria, 15

Born at the foot of the sacred mountain, Maria loves the tranquility of life in Quininí. Her favorite food is pasta with potatoes and guatila and her favorite animals are dogs, cats and birds. She loves when people from different countries come to visit because she gets to learn about other places and they get to teach the visitors about the rock art and forest reserve. After finishing school, Maria would like to study something related to the environment and continue her dad’s work with the community association.

Sebastian, 11

Armed with a mischievous grin, Sebastian says his favorite thing to do is to fight with his sister. He also likes to play soccer and would like to be a famous player like James Rodriguez.His favorite music is bachata and reggae ton and he will eat anything except vegetables. If he’s in the city for too long he gets bored, but he does like to visit his brother in Bogotá because he gets walk around by himself. He would like to travel to San Andrés because he has heard that the sea is seven colors and he will get to ride in an airplane. 

Katerin, 10

When she can, Katerín likes to help her mom with washing plates and organizing the kitchen. Some of her favorite things include playing basketball, riding bikes and walking. When she visits the city she likes to attend the circus and watch the planes pass overhead. If given the opportunity, Katerín would like to learn how to cook and paint and also how to investigate animals. She loves nature, particularly the sunrise and the sound of birds singing.

Daniela, 9

Full of charm and charisma, Daniela is usually the first to warm up to visitors. She likes to ride horses and play barbies, but her brother says she likes to talk. Her favorite part about life in Quininí is the mountain, particularly the oak forest. Her favorite color is pink and her favorite foods to eat are salads, rice & beans. When she gets older, Daniela would like to be a vet and travel to San Agustín. The beach doesn’t interest her much, though she has never seen the sea. 

Chalano, 31

He may be older than the others, but at heart Chalano is just another kid. At the moment he lives on the farm with his aunt and works in construction during the day. In his free time he loves playing mini soccer and tejo. He also likes going to the pool or river to swim with his friends.  Chalano has already served as a guide for Andes EcoTours and is passionate about encouraging the Herederos to start getting more involved in community processes.

Lorena, 10

Although she wasn’t able to make it for the theory part of the workshop, Lorena arrived excited and ready to start taking pictures. When she grows up she would like to become a professional long jumper, and when she has to retire from sports, a vet. After school she plays games with her brother, ‘pirates' being one of her favorites. Lorena loves animals, especially panda bears. Her favorite color is blue and her favorite food is fruit. 

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© 2019 by C. du Plessis