Páramo and life
When talking about the páramo, the Andean páramo, many different visions emerge depending on who is speaking. If we look at the dictionary, we will find a "wasteland, flat and naked" or a "cold and helpless place"; If we listen to many of those who live near it, the páramo is often described as a "water reservoir" or a "source of life". No definition seems to regard the páramo as anything more than a mere service that these mountain ecosystems provide, especially water for those who live below.
However, the inhabitants of the páramo face a problem: the Colombian laws aim at a management of the territory in which the páramos have to be just an object of conservation. This would mean stopping all the activities developed by the settlers of the páramo, affecting around 350,000 families.
The few inhabitants of Mochuelo Alto claim that their farms not only allow them to live in peace, but that it is a very fertile land that they contribute to preserve. Some, like Don Cayo, have had to change houses as the landfill expands, and it is still in territory that could be expropriated in benefit of the landfill.
IN THOSE lands WE PRODUCED POTATO, ONION, CORN, MAIZE ... EVERYTHING. MY EIGHT CHILDREN, MY wife AND I WORKED THERE. NOW ALMOST all of them are IN BOGOTÁ, NOT VERY WELL, BUT THEY carry on. THE rest of us LIVE IN MOCHUELO alto AND WE WANT TO STAY, BUT WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN. WE FIGHT FOR STAYING.
Samuel Aya has his house and his crops just under the hillside where the landfill rises, which causes cracks in the land and releases huge columns of gas. Samuel's farm has watersprings, which feed the aqueduct from which his family takes his drinking water. He assures that their children and other children in the village suffer more from flu than other children, because of the proximity to the garbage dump.
NOT ONLY DO WE SUFFER FROM THE GASES THAT THE GARBAGE ejects, ALSO FOR THE RATS THAT CAN eat HALF OF A CULTIVATION OR THE DOGS THAT LIVE FROM THE GARBAGE. THey ALREADY ate THREE CALVES.
Javier Rodríguez Ros