La Guajira is a magical and colourful place in the north-eastern side of Colombia. It is enormously rich and for centuries has been defended constantly for its most precious treasure: the land and its people. This vast peninsula inhabited by various indigenous tribes such as the Arhuaco Kogi, Wiwa and Wayuu among others, today faces an unprecedented drought trending to prolonged due to a collective indifference that make this situation worse day by day.
The wealth of the territory has undergone multiple bonanzas as pearls, mining, and nowadays, the oil and gas industry. Such exploitation of subsoil is currently supported by socio-economic trends that states it as the main locomotive to generate jobs, stimulate the economy, generate income, for which foreign investment is encouraged, and thus increases economic development and eventually generates social development to the region.
However, seeing the reality in the villages it is very difficult to believe in these arguments. Languid bodies, malnourished and abandoned children of hundreds of peasants, droughts result of climate change, abandonment of public institutions, and ironically, by environmental damage caused by this economical activities.
The outlook for the region is daunting: according to the meteorologic institution the rains ceased since January 2014 leaving a generalised paralysis in the agriculture, livestock and other livelihood activities affecting directly the most remote areas and specially the children. The National Department of statistics recorded over 2,223 children under 5 years with serious malnutrition, of which 525 have risk of death in the very near future.
It is hard to face reality, and even more when is ending the culture of our nation represented by indigenous communities full of traditions and values both with peers and with their natural environment.
It is hard to believe that in La Guajira their dancing, rituals and customs are not longer daily routines of men, women and children dancing. It had turned in a survival for water with an unclear positive future.