BP-Coffee

Colombian photojournalist Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo, while on assignment for the statistical agency DANE’s Tercer Censo Nacional Agropecuario captured this fire jeep in the coffee grove ‘El Higo’ of the Risaralda department. Surrounded by equally-firey ferns and the lush vegetation of a small coffee farm, this Russian made car remains a symbol and work horse, like its U.S counterpart the Willys of of the nation’s coffee industry. With a post-War Soviet look, these classic jeeps are rarely seen anymore, besides those exhibited in mu-seums and parked next to war monu-ments.

But thousands of these tin boxes on wheels, symbols of the Cold War, still carry out a mission every day in the mountains of the coffee-growing regions of Colombia. And while every year in the town of Calarcá, Quindio, columns of well-maintained Willys Jeeps take part in a ‘Yipao’ contest, this Soviet antiquity remains parked in the grove, but still celebrated as a folk ‘heroe’ of Colombia’s rural economy, hauling coffee sacks, animal feed, fertilizers and passengers along mountain roads few modern 4 x 4’s dare transit.