the smell of san benito
It seems like there is acid in the air. Breathing is hard and the reflex to vomit while looking at the skins of dead cows laying on the floors. The blood squeezes out of the remains of the animals. Here is the heart of the Leather Factories of Colombia, high in the Andes they lay in the south of the Colombian Capital Bogotá. Located in small factories in the San Benito neighbourhood the workers normally life just some quarters away. They suffer day- and night-time from the interpenetrating odour.
The leather workers came some 60 years ago to the rural periphery of Bogotá. Here was enough water supply and the short distance to the butcher were the main reasons. Nowadays the factories are surrounded by residential houses and located in the urban area. The Tunjelito River receives all the wastes from the small factories and disembogues in the Rio Bogotá, one of the most polluted in South America. The Government of Bogotá is talking about an Action plan to improve the water quality. Therefore the workers are afraid of the future, when the days of the employment might be counted.