De Dónde Vengo Yo

Chocó is a province in western Colombia known best for its thick merciless jungle, never-ending rain showers and grey beaches that gradually collide with the bluest of oceans I've ever seen – the Pacific ocean.  The region thanks its name to that same dark blue ocean, dubbing it La Región del Pacífico.

Mangroves in Chocó, Colombia

Growing up in a Colombia of civil war and constant violence, I never visited El Chocó, nor did I ever ask myself whether I should. This was a place you basically never questioned – the place was there and it stayed there, just as you were in the big city and stayed there.

Once I started travelling throughout the country in 2010 and after having talked to my cousin, who travelled there and documented single mothers in the region, I knew there had to be a way for me to get there. I started reading more about it – if there was I way to visit, I was going to find it.

In Chocó, there is little to no infrastructure, let alone, services to host national or international tourists. Chocoanos have been victims of Colombia's bloodiest massacres committed by right-wing paramilitary group "Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia", which has led to massive displacements. People here have left and have returned to their lands, trying to invest in fish and in tourism, as a means to let go of the cocaine business. As a result, the lack of infrastructure added to the stigma of death and violence has kept this region practically desolated from the rest of the country, forgotten by both the Colombian state besides the rest of Colombianos.

Jurubidá, Chocó.

The Speed of Life

It is so hard to get to this part of the country, that once you get there, you understand how unique and especial it actually is. People in Chocó live at a different speed, they go abouts with this serene pace that once you step foot on their territory, it takes over you in a matter of minutes. Life is slow in Chocó and chocoanos like it that way. From travelling to bigger towns, to waiting for the rain to stop – things there happen for a reason, or don't, that's the beauty of it. So simple you can't barely believe it is true.

And it was in this slow velocity, that I found myself surrounded by people who, considering the circumstances, were able to enjoy their lives with what they had. In Chocó, there is no bus to wait for, no office to sit at, no traffic to be stuck in. It was exactly within this simplicity that I found more happiness in others. You know, the happiness we tend to forget about... while we wait for the bus, sit at the office or get stuck in traffic – there, nothing really mattered and that was okay. It was magic, magic at the speed of life.

 

Airport in Nuquí, Chocó.

Airport in Nuquí, Chocó.

Fore more photos of the Pacific Region: https://www.flickr.com/photos/todorojo/sets/72157647719665244/