We Belong

An Anthology of Colombian Women Coffee Farmers

Non-Fiction - Art/Photography
196 Pages
Reviewed on 05/14/2023
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Author Biography

I’m Lucia Bawot a Colombian photographer & storyteller.

In my nine years working in coffee, I constantly felt like an outsider, continuously looking for my place and voice within the industry. I got the impression that, as a photographer and filmmaker specializing in coffee, I would not be granted the key to open the door to belonging in the coffee industry.

One day in 2019, while flipping through my portfolio, it dawned on me: there was not a single photo or video where a woman coffee farmer was the protagonist. When a woman did appear, it was almost always in family portraits. Right then, I became aware of how invisible and underrepresented women were and still are in the industry. So, if I wanted a voice in the industry, and to help female coffee farmers find their voice, I figured why not try to do something about it?

    Book Review

Reviewed by Diana Lopez for Readers' Favorite

We Belong: An Anthology of Colombian Women Coffee Farmers by Lucia Bawot offers a unique perspective on an under-recognized job. Bawot is a photographer who grew up hearing stories from her grandmother who was a coffee farmer. Thanks to her connection with this world, she focuses on the stories of women who have spent most of their lives working in the fields. She collected information from interviews to share short stories about these women. In each chapter, she addresses a topic relating to their customs and experiences. These include their childhood, efforts to keep their families together, and their ingenuity to succeed. The wonderful photographs illustrate the living and working environment of these women in detail.

I loved that all the information is bilingual, which allows us to read the exact words of the women interviewed and promotes cultural diversity. We Belong has personal content that promotes empathy and there are photographs of the interiors of some of the houses. The images are of excellent quality, colorful, and artistic. The comments in the story are honest, and the women tell you about their daily tasks, current jobs, and significant moments in their lives. Many have carried heavy responsibilities since they were young, although their experiences are varied. Some women talk about their yearnings, while others share their achievements and legacies. Lucia Bawot has captured the essence of a particular lifestyle that teaches us about the true culture of coffee farming in Colombia.