Yésica looks out the window during the 2-hour drive to a mate plantation in Oberá, Misiones, a northern province in Argentina. Every day she is picked up by her patrón at 5am with others from her neighborhood. They usually work a 10-hour day.
Monica and Yésica head into a plantation carrying bags which they'll fill with mate leaves, each of which can weight up to around 100 kilos. Most women workers are single mothers.
Mónica, mother of 7, carries a bag filled with mate leaves. As many other single mothers, she prefer to work informally, since they receive the social plan Asignación Universal por Hijo which gives a stipend per child to unemployed mothers.
Tareferos, worker who pick yerba mate leaves, rise early in a plantation camp. They're required to take their own mattresses, food and makeshift tents, where they'll sleep on the ground often with no roof, exposed to cold temperatures, wild animals and insects.
Suli, 20, waits for the service to start inside the Evangelical church in San Miguel. As long as she can remember, she has picked mate leaves to help her family. One of her brothers was even born in a plantation.
A retired tarefero prays at the altar at the Evangelical church in San Miguel, Oberá.
A songbook reading "Hymns of Zion" lies on a bench in the Evangelical church in San Miguel, Oberá.
A man prays in the Evangelical church in San Miguel, Oberá.
Mónica, 34, looks for cell phone signal outside the house she built herself two years ago, where she lives with five of her seven children. She left her husband when she caught him sexually harassing her eldest daughter.
Monica undresses behind a curtain before bathing in her house. As most residents of the San Miguel neighborhood, Mónica does not have running water, therefore she and her five sons bathe using a bucket with water collected from her brother's house.
Yésica's 5-year-old son sits in the room he shares with his mother and cousins, in a house shared by 14 relatives.
María Núnez, Yésica's mother, started working in plantations as a child. Ten years ago her husband passed away after catching the flu in a camp and not receiving medical care. She also lost her baby son due to malnutrition and poor medical attention.
Jonatan dances while Juan prepares reviro, a mix of flour, water and oil. During the months when tareferos don't harvest, they are jobless and spend most days at home. Some rely on odd jobs, but most depend on government plans, which don't cover nearly as much as they need to support a family.
Simeón Rodríguez, 65, has picked mate leaves since he was 8 years old. He sleeps in plantations where he'll earn US$8 per day, instead of the legal US$67. He can't afford retirement fees since at times he can't even cover basic necessities such as meals.
Tareferos work in a climate that changes from cold and humid during mornings and nights, to extremely hot during the day. Misiones is the home of the Iguazú Falls in the north, a popular tourist destination, and mate and tea plantations in the south.
A tarefero lifts a bag filled with mate leaves. He lost his finger a few years ago while working in a mate drying plant, due to an accident with a mechanical saw.
Tareferos carry a bag filled with yerba mate to a truck, where they'll be taken to a drying plant, the next step in the process of mate production.