Supia: Gold in these Hills

I took a trip three hours south of Medellin, to a town called Supia, where they have been mining for gold since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors. Along with friends Mauricio and Katrin of Munich, Germany, we set out to talk to the miners. They at first were understandably apprehensive about talking to us since they did not know who we were. But once we chatted a bit, they were more open and allowed us to take pictures. Some of these miners are operating outside of any government guidelines and so we understood the concern. They dig tunnels mining for gold while others sift the river. It’s dangerous work going down into these tunnels. And certainly hard work. The rocks and boulders you see scattered about the mine were removed by hand from the dug up tunnels by the men. No machinery! Just brute strength and will. The men said this particular mine was so far not yielding much gold and they would likely abandon it and dig another elsewhere. This is but one of several such mines in these foothills. There is gold here alright. Spain sent its conquistadors here after learning that the indigenous people were themselves finding lots of gold here. And when the conquerers could no longer rely on the indigenous people to do the backbreaking work, they brought slaves from Africa. That’s why there is such a large black population here, mainly in the nearby village of Guamal. They are the direct descendants of slaves. This area is rich with history that dates back nearly 500 years when the natives called this land home and had it all to themselves.

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