Colombian “chivas” carry people, potatoes and everything in between

Americas Now

In the early 1900s, a mechanic and an engineer from the Colombian countryside had an idea: they’d import the outer frame of a truck from the United States, give it a robust body, and transform it into a vehicle for their community to transport people and goods along the region’s rocky dirt roads.

It became known as a “chiva,” or “ladder bus,” because a ladder on the back allowed passengers to reach a platform on its roof, giving peasants and farmers a place to put things like sacks of coffee, potatoes and even livestock.

This symbol of rural Colombia is still in use today.

Meet Urban Voice, the “chiva.”