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2019 october: Colombia – Sierra Nevada / Santa Marta

Arriving in Cartagena, in the north of Colombia, I was welcomed by Marcos, my driver and mainly an important intermediary and trusted representative for access to the rather reserved indigenous peoples of the Kogi and Arhuaca.

We had a change of plans. We preferred to make the excursion first to the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, because we had problems with the intermediary who could have taken us only at this particular time.

My main goal was to meet and photograph the indigenous peoples of the Kogi and the Arhuaca. So I gladly gave up visiting the beautiful colonial cities of Cartagena and Baranquillo. First we headed straight to our starting point on the western flank of the Sierra Nevada. After several hours of driving on rocky roads with a 4x4 Toyota and rusty bodywork and later a walk of about 3 hours we arrived at the edge of a village of the Kogi. To our displeasure, we were not allowed to enter the village in spite of the meeting the elders and had to stop to let them decide wether its allowedto take pictures. So we had to choose and spent the night in a hammock on the grounds of a family on the outskirts of the village. They were very hospitable and shared their meals with us. 

One night in the hammock turned into two, until a messenger came to pick us up very early in the morning, it was about 6 a.m., I had to expose them and tell them about my house, my family, my marital status and the reason for my request. To be honest, I was a bit restless even though I already had a lot of experience in dealing with the primitive peoples of Southern and Eastern Africa.
But everything went well and I was able to stop by to take pictures with the luck that the villagers put on their side in this matter. I ended the day very satisfied with the new experience.