Taken on 29th August, 2009 in Finca Santa Inés, San José Pinula, Guatemala. Nikon D90, Exposure 1/40s at f/6.3, Focal Length 66mm, ISO Speed 320. Show on Flickr.

Jose has changed into his best clothes to get ready for visiting his mother.

This is his weekend off, which means he works a half day on Saturday and is free then until Monday morning. It is also payday so he will bring money home for his family.

Pablo, the manager, promises his money soon after finishing work. Jose sits with us and has lunch. Pop music blares from the house on the hill, where Eleazar, the owner, and Pablo are entertaining guests.

Hours pass but there is still no sign of the money. Jose is getting anxious, but bottles his frustrations deep inside. He has asked Pablo twice, to no avail, for his pay and doesn't know where to turn next.

Pablo descends from the house but only to instruct Manuel, who is also now supposed to be on his own free time, to take a horse to the arena so one of the visitors can have riding lessons. He mentions to another worker, Don Luis, that he will have money for him later but, even though he knows Jose is waiting to go home, this is obviously not a priority for him.

Jose is so pent-up at this point that he can no longer keep his food down.

After giving the riding lesson, Pablo asks Jose to stable the horse then drives off with a friend, assuring Jose that he is going to an ATM to get his money. He returns a short while later, without having visited an ATM, and tells Jose that he will have his money for him tomorrow. He accuses Jose of faking his sickness and returns to his entertainment duties in the house on the hill.

Jose phones his mother, who had been worried about his whereabouts, to let her know why he hasn't come home.

Photographs by Manuel Rodriguez.

This is the last straw for us. On Sunday morning we pack our bags. Manuel, who has been keenly interested in my camera for the past couple of days takes lots of great shots around the farm. We explain to the guys that we're leaving early because we can't continue to volunteer in an environment where the owner and manager are treating the workers so badly. We ascend to the house to tell Pablo the same.

Pablo is a great talker. During our time here he has spoken of grand plans for the farm, for opening a polo arena with a restaurant/bar and using the funds raised through the enterprise to run an education centre where underprivileged children can both get an education and learn a trade as horsemen. He is not such a great listener however and responds to our criticism by impulsively denying any allegation or pointing to greater injustices: Saturdays are not half days (despite having told us previously that they were); workers are treated much worse on other farms (I do not doubt that this is true but it is hardly a good defense); he does not owe Jose money, in fact Jose owes him money. As we leave he wishes us to ?have a good life?.

We return to say goodbye to the great people we've met here. Manuel's phone rings, he and Jose are summoned to the house. Pablo tells them that he will not have their money today but will pay them tomorrow.

It will be two weeks before Jose has another day off and visits his mother.