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01_bolivia
Coca has been an integral part of daily life in Bolivia for thousands of years. It is consumed socially, whether through chewing or teas. It finds practical application in daily life for the alleviation of various ailments. It is used as an ingredient in toothpaste and other products. For many Bolivians, it is their livelihood and their legacy for generations to come.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 15, 2008 - 15:41
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  • ISO: 500
  • Aperture: 5.6
  • Focal Length: 55
02_bolivia
Community among the farmers is evident. The men work together in the fields, tilling one man's plot and planting another's the next day. Every seven years, the fields are burned and tilled again.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 07, 2008 - 09:14
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  • ISO: 800
  • Aperture: 10
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03_bolivia
Cousins Julio and Adam Yani till the earth after burning off 7-year-old coca plants.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 10, 2008 - 08:44
  • Shutter: 0.00025
  • ISO: 400
  • Aperture: 6.3
  • Focal Length: 26
04_bolivia
Before starting a day's work, men and women gather at separate plots and chew coca together. They form a ball with the dampened leaves and place it in the side of their mouth for the rest of the day. Children begin working in the fields at an early age, learning the difficult and delicate process of growing coca, repeating the actions of the adults.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 10, 2008 - 08:29
  • Shutter: 0.0015625
  • ISO: 400
  • Aperture: 6.3
  • Focal Length: 28
05_bolivia
The children get restless as the day wears on. Mercedes chews the dried coca her aunt brought along, then spits it out.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 15, 2008 - 15:48
  • Shutter: 0.001
  • ISO: 500
  • Aperture: 4.5
  • Focal Length: 32
06_bolivia
Sonya Yani and niece Mercedes, walk a narrow mud path between farms along a mountain, which drops several thousands feet through tiered rows of coca plants.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 15, 2008 - 17:02
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  • ISO: 500
  • Aperture: 5
  • Focal Length: 28
07_bolivia
Makeshift structures dot the mountainsides, providing afternoon shelter from the intense summer sun.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 14, 2008 - 16:12
  • Shutter: 0.004
  • ISO: 800
  • Aperture: 9
  • Focal Length: 80
08_bolivia
Coca can be planted at various times of the year, and there are cycles to the annual growth of the plant. The harvest happens three times a year, the largest being at the peak of the rainy season in January. Groups of women work together in each others' fields to gather the leaves, making time pass quickly.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 11, 2008 - 15:10
  • Shutter: 0.002
  • ISO: 200
  • Aperture: 6.3
  • Focal Length: 26
09_bolivia
In 1988, the Geneva Convention declared coca to be an illicit substance that should be eradicated, such as marijuana and poppies for opium. While it is an ingredient in cocaine, people in the Nor Yungas region of Bolivia use it for traditional and medicinal purposes. It relieves hunger and altitude sickness for farmers who may climb thousands of feet to work their plot of land and spend all day in the field without food. The farmers say coca does not make them stronger, but it makes the work more tolerable.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 14, 2008 - 16:00
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  • ISO: 800
  • Aperture: 10
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10_bolivia
Two thousand coca farmers from the region gathered in the cathedral square. They spent five hours in the sun in the square listening to debate between leaders. They came to elect a new representative to the country's Ministry of Coca. The talk was of rights to grow what they have been growing for centuries and the desire to maintain a way of life. They came to choose a strong leader, who could assume a high position within the ministry. And so they listened intently - the old and the young together.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 12, 2008 - 16:23
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  • ISO: 400
  • Aperture: 3.5
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11_bolivia
The vote is counted based on the candidate with with the longest line of followers in the square and the followers who cheer the loudest. On the steps of the cathedral, a candidate declares victory to his supporters. The election would end in a fight between the two candidates and their patrons once they reached the platform.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 12, 2008 - 17:41
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  • ISO: 800
  • Aperture: 6.3
  • Focal Length: 17
12_bolivia
Coca tea is a staple of family meals, relieving any altitude sickness from days of climbing thousands of feet through the mountains.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 10, 2008 - 07:19
  • Shutter: 0.003125
  • ISO: 800
  • Aperture: 4
  • Focal Length: 38
13_bolivia
The Yanis, from left, Jose, Julio, Sonya, Maria, Martin and Angelo live in a two-room house with a tin roof overlooking one of their fields. They spend mornings and evenings together in the kitchen, eating and enjoying one another at a leisurely pace.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 14, 2008 - 18:42
  • Shutter: 0.1
  • ISO: 1600
  • Aperture: 2.8
  • Focal Length: 17
14_bolivia
Families typically come to the coca market in the capital, La Paz, only once a year. Whole families work together from the tilling of the earth through the final sale of the dried leaves. A brother and sister from an outlying area tie the tops of 30-kilo bags of coca ready to sell. The families will eat and sleep in the market as well, lest they miss a sale.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 03, 2008 - 09:17
  • Shutter: 0.00625
  • ISO: 1600
  • Aperture: 3.5
  • Focal Length: 31
15_bolivia
The dried coca leaves are packed into large bags to be taken to the city and sold. Full vans leave daily headed for La Paz, where a community member will stay a week or more to sell the crop.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 13, 2008 - 17:04
  • Shutter: 0.002
  • ISO: 1600
  • Aperture: 7.1
  • Focal Length: 17
16_bolivia
The constant noise of the coca market means more money headed back to rural communities in the Nor Yungas and Chapare regions. Coca grown in the Yungas is smaller and sweeter than its southern counterpart, making it more appealing for chewing and use in teas. The Chapare, with its tropical climate, grows larger coca plants much larger, and is a more likely candidate for illegal activity.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 03, 2008 - 10:19
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  • ISO: 1250
  • Aperture: 4.5
  • Focal Length: 17
17_bolivia
The coca market in La Paz is busy 24 hours a day. There is a constant bustle of people loading and unloading coca from various trucks and taxicabs. Since Evo Morales, a former coca farmer, was elected president in 2006, the role of coca in national politics has been on the rise. The Ministry of Coca has acquired more power under the current administration, and indigenous, rural farmers are playing a larger role in making decisions.
  • Camera: NIKON D200
  • Created: January 18, 2008 - 15:21
  • Shutter: 0.00025
  • ISO: 400
  • Aperture: 5
  • Focal Length: 17
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