The last children of the rain?
Rain, snow, fog, hurricanes, mangroves, semi-desert, forests… In the La Guajira peninsula, the Wayuu culture has been forged in almost all scenarios and treasures a close and vital relationship with water. Mining, global warming, and neglect threaten the “children of the rain god and Mother Earth.” The short film The children of the rain, afinalist at the We Art Water Film Festival, offers us a beautiful image of their spiritual relationship with water.
In the La Guajira peninsula, mining, global warming, and neglect threaten the “children of the rain god and Mother Earth.” In the image a Wuayuu family from the Guajira desert in Colombia. © Petruss
The Wayuu people, also known as Guajiros, feel they are children of Juyá, the god of rain, and Mma, Mother Earth. That feeling is deeply rooted since they arrived in the La Guajira peninsula more than 20 centuries ago. There, the Wayuu people have survived in harmony with an environment of great water contrasts, which environmental scientists often call “the world’s climatic summary.”
Located south of the Caribbean Sea, this land shares its territory between Colombia and Venezuela and is marked by the peninsula’s central semi-desert, the only Caribbean . This has been the primary natural habitat of the Wayuu people, and a culture marked by an intense relationship with water and land has been forged there.
Children of the rain, the micro-animation short film byAnn López Angulo, finalist at the We Art Water Film Festival 5, describes with images full of symbolism the essence of the Wayuu’s water culture and how their relationship with it is being cut short by the environmental deterioration caused by mining and out-of-control industrialization.
Children of the rain, by Ann López Angulo, finalist in the micro-animation category at the We Art Water Film Festival 5.
The Wayuu people have dual nationality and freedom of movement between Colombia and Venezuela. Still, political conflicts, insecurity, and economic crises have relegated their problems to the back burner in the governments of both countries. Like most ethnic groups in Latin America, the Wayuu people are under threat.
A look at the past can give us pause for thought. Ancestral water cultures are examples of resistance and resilience in the face of climatic problems. Many success stories, such as the Inca hydraulics that are currently inspiring agricultural development in the Andean region of Peru, show the regenerative potential of this almost forgotten knowledge.
At the Foundation, one of our lines of work goes in this direction: helping to recover ancestral cultures, such as that of the Indian Baori - whose essence is the basis of many of the Foundation's in Andra Pradesh -, the water use of the on Lake Titicaca, and the agricultural techniques of the Mayangna in Bosawas. They are a source of fundamental knowledge for the transformations needed to achieve all the SDGs, especially SDG 6, which refers to access to water.
We are all children of the union between water and land. Awareness of this should lead us to preserve and extend ancestral heritages, especially those of indigenous peoples on the verge of disappearing.