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Faces of dignity

Pallaqueras in La Rinconada

After nearly a month in La Rinconada, a mining town at 6,000 meters high in Los Andes in Peru, I can say I learned many things. I’ve been working on my latest photo project, living for hours with miners and pallaqueras (women who collect the remains rejected from the mines), children and doctors, police and prostitutes, businessmen and local authorities, social workers and teachers. .. In the end, among many conclusions, I can point out that it made me appreciate the efforts of a collective who wants to build their dreams.

People living and working in La Rinconada are only there for a simple reason: gold. This mineral fatten their pockets up and opens doors to many future possibilities. Many promise themselves to be up to the mines for a short time and they finish being almost a lifetime in a most inhumane suffering difficulties (lack of oxygen, freezing cold, polluted water, waste and excrement everywhere, a high crime rate). But gold is a magnet that makes difficult to quit.

Those faces seen in La Rinconada are from amazing people who devote efforts to create a hope into their lives. It’s true that many end up alcoholics and drug addicts, they get lost among the brothels and their fortunes are spent on stupid gifts. But they keep spending long hours inside cold and inhospitable mountains, far from the warm of their families and lands and renouncing the pleasures of comfort.

This dignifies them and my intention is giving justice when this photo project will be published.

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