Life is really tough in the bleak Cerro Rico mining district in Potosi, Bolivia. This is true for the men risking their lives going down into the mine shafts looking for silver ore, and also for the women, who are seen by men as fair game. Lucia (40), Ivonne (16) and Abigail (17) talk about their daily lives, in which they are constantly dealing with violence, much of it sexual.
Lucia works as a night guard and often has to protect herself by setting off TNT. She wanders the inhospitable area accompanied by a pack of dogs. Ivonne always carries rocks with her to throw at potential attackers. But they are not even safe at home. “You can not trust your own brothers and father,” Ivonne explains. Abigail is the only woman in the area who goes down into the mines herself. She knows that as a minor she is allowed to work there, but nobody has ever told her about her rights. The camera follows her down the pitch-black shafts, where the miners pray to a demon. “There’s no god in the mine,” says Abigail.
In an area where we can not grow, these tough and vulnerable women survive with a mix of courage and dynamite.