This project is about the daily life of Russian "Old Believers" living in the Bolivian province of Santa Cruz for over 40 years. "Old Believers" is a common name for religious movements in Russia, arising from the rejection of church reforms in the XVII century. Due to persecution, the Old Believers had to leave Russia in the first half of the XX century and eventually move to South America. Old Believers settled down 40 years ago in the village of Toborochi, three hours drive from the city of Santa Cruz in Bolivia. Even now, this settlement is not on maps, and in the 1970s there were completely uninhabited lands surrounded by dense jungle. Santa Cruz Province, Bolivia, 2014-2016.
Pinarita Revtova inspects coconut plantations.
The village of Toborochi consists of two dozen courtyards located at a respectable distance from each other. Most Old Believers do not allow strangers to photograph themselves, but there are family albums in every home.
The most aged Old Believers of Toborochi, like Fyodor Anufriev, lived in three countries. They were born in China, where they fled from the Communists after the civil war in Russia. Then, after World War II, families fled from the persecution of communist China to Brazil and then went to Bolivia among the first settlers from Brazil.
Typical shoes in Toborochi.
Sisters Inafa, Salamania and Pinarita.
In Toborochi, there are different families of Old Believers: Anufrievs, Revtovs, Murachevs, Kaluginovs, Kulikovs, Anfilofievs, Zaitsevs.
By the age of 16, boys gain enough agricultural experience and are allowed to marry. Marriages between relatives are strictly prohibited; that is why they search for brides in different villages of the South and North America.
The main occupation in Toborochi is agriculture, as well as the breeding of Amazonian pacu fish in artificial ponds.
Women are engaged in tailoring, housekeeping and parenting. Once a week, women go to the nearest city fair, where they sell cheese, milk, pastries.
Abandoned harbour near the village.
Old Believers speak Russian; there are many obsolete words in their vocabulary.
Sisters Enapha, Solomonia and Pinarita, are getting ready to attend the church. Old Believers go to church twice a week, except for the Christian holidays. On Saturday church service is from 5 pm to 7 pm and on Sunday from 4 am to 7 am.
A family photo was taken during the wedding.
There are no paved roads in the vicinity of Tobrochi.