Cuviví is the Ecuadorean indigenous name for the upland sandpiper, a wading bird that has special significance for the communities living around the Ozogoche lakes in the middle of the Andes. Each year, these birds migrate south from North America. Around September they pass the Ozogoche lakes, where large numbers then “commit suicide,” plunging from great heights into the ice-cold water. The dead birds wash up on the banks, where they are gathered and used to prepare a feast, accompanied by rituals.
If the cuviví makes a sacrifice by migrating, the same can be said of the many indigenous inhabitants of the páramo who follow the route in the opposite direction. Work is scarce and there is less food due to climate change. Many young people therefore migrate to the United States, despite the dangers of the journey.
With stunning photography, Ozogoche shows the everyday life of a girl who lives near the lake. Her uncle lives in the US, and she might be heading there herself. In the meantime, she awaits the arrival of the cuvivís, few of which have appeared in recent years. The lakes are drying up.