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Frequently asked questions about 'La Vispera'

 

 

How did you come to live here, what happened to you?

     Travelling around Latin America in 1981-82 we fell in love with spacious Bolivia, her authentic culture and people. To stay and live in this new world was so tempting that we could easily let Holland behind us.
We called it "La Víspera" (the Eve) which in South America refers to a celebration of what is to come, a completely new life, full of expectation.

 

What came first, or was everything built at once?

     First we built a house to live in and then the vegetable garden, first for personal use only. Through our bio-horticultural project with local farmers we could start to sell our products to the big city of Santa Cruz. The success of producing processed herbs & fruit led us to build the Herbolario on top of the ruins of an old cottage. The production terraces were expanded to 40. The first guesthouse we built to lodge our visitors from Holland. Just when the cabin was finished, weekend tourism from the city of Santa Cruz started to boom, after the road was paved. In 1990 we initiated international tourism, followed by the exploration and start of regional tourism together with local 'trappers'. This developments enabled us gradually to add other guesthouses and the camping site.

     Despite the fact that all the lodging facilities have their own kitchens, we decided to install the Garden Café, the heart of the finca now. The Native Park uphill was developed on the last 2 hectares of wild land. In order to ensure a quieter home, we moved the office and reception to the 'Casa Tradicional'. And to meditate & be on our own we built 'Atma', a cute little round green roofed house you can come upon walking uphill to The Throne in the park. During this period of the construction of 'Atma', the eco-building concepts became a serious issue for us. The latest eco-guesthouse was 'La Lumbre', designed by a Feng Shui architect and completely based on the principles of the golden rule. After 30 years of endless creativity we could move into our dream house 'Akasha' uphill. And with the domed 'La Cúpula' next to it, we ended this busy period of eco-building.

 

Are you gardeners and builders originally?

      Marga comes from a family where beauty, music, writing, design, painting, gardening, good food, theatre, colours and fabrics were a major focus. She is known as a clear-headed lady, she is the gardener and perceives too much. Pieter is a descendant from a family of hermits, pub owners and grocers, and loves building, waterworks, horses, dogs and trees. He is a charismatic and tireless active man. In Holland we both worked 10 years as psychologists, especially in education. It was in that period that Pieter, who has played the piano from an early age, took up a 3 year course to become a professional piano tuner in Amsterdam during the evening. The first 8 years here our revenue came from 4 months-per-year tuning and restoring pianos in whole Bolivia, during which time we both came to know the country profoundly, because we often went off to restore together. The Finca offered us plenty of space and inspiration to develop all our hidden talents and thus create our own paradise.

 

Everything feels in balance, and all the details! How did you do it?

     Organically, step by step, daily good-attention, by combining passion for gardening with the curves in the soil, using the materials available in the region and good administration. Doing what the Bolivians do: developing different sources of income. By welcoming the surprising talents of all those people who worked with us in the course of time. Setbacks and disappointments we learned to see as challenges. By being both generous & practical in answer to the needs of guests. 

 

What do guests mean for the finca?

      Our wish is to share this beautiful spot with others and who knows the finca inspires them in their lives. In these times people feel the need to return to nature, to get charged up, to be connected again. This happens here all by itself, naturally. Besides, guests constitute our most important source of income.

 

Art by Carmen Luz, Samaipata

 

How is your relationship with the village and the region?
     Generally cordial. The first few years we were eager to learn from them, the practice of traditional
farming life. We were and are involved in all initiatives for new developments: an organic horticulture association, construction of a kindergarten, tourism, water supply, cultural events, an alternative "green" school. And projects for small communities in the region: water, a school, a green plaza, toilets, instruments for dentists, etc.

 

Local staff: how many, education level, turnover, atmosphere?

      The personal are all eight of them local villagers, the office manager from the city Santa Cruz. While Samaipata doesn't count with professional education they receive their formation with us: horticulture, gardening, hospitality, gastronomy and administration. They are taught to assume a wide range of job responsibilities, to have an overlook, to keep up the beauty of it, to team, and to teach newcomers. Their limits and hidden talents are continually tested and challenged. In Bolivia this is quite radical. So half of them quit, those who continue flourish. We can leave a lot to them and focus on an atmosphere of attention and dedication.

 

How are your experiences with foreign employees, trainees and volunteers?

      We are a living/working community deeply rooted in mutual respect, trust and responsibility. Inseparable from Nature, the Bolivian culture, our Home. This is often at odds with previous experiences of ''Westerners''. Those who want to be the manager from the beginning, starting with proposals or 'improvements' before actually being landed here, will be gone soon. Those who are open and curious, have a life-experience. Humour is essential.

 

Do you have certain life precepts for yourselves?

       An important word is detachment, from your conditionings, your past, hopes, habits, beliefs. Life is a daring adventure, or nothing. Ask yourself regularly: is the playground feeling still there? Find your inner compass or passion. Accept what is, trust, give it a go and commit youself. Nature is your guide and biggest supporter. Do not wait, do not search, it will be given to you. Then the visions and missions will become unimportant, you start wondering and mostly questions remain.

 

What are the perspectives for Finca La Víspera?

     January 2012 brought us new companions: Susanne & Werner fell completely in love with the finca and decided to live with us. Besides we know ourselves connected with many kindred spirits in the region (see www.ecomunidad.org).

This LIFE'S PROJECT is in full process heading for an open future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Material development of the finca from 1984 till now

 

1984 A house to live in & the set-up of

         vegetable terraces

1985-89 Bio-horticultural project together

         with local farmer families

1988 Start selling organic vegetables
1987-89 Building guesthouse 'La Vispera'
1989
Start boom weekend-tourism from
          the city of Santa Cruz
1990-2011 Travel agency "Boliviajes"
1991-1994 Five-week tours through

          Bolivia
1992-99 Exploration region Samaipata,
          development local tourism;

          Guesthouses 'El Mirador' and 

           'La Casita', & camping 'El Carrusel'
1997 Construction 'El Herbolario' and

         extension terraces up to 40
2003 Opening Garden Cafe
2004
Lay out Native Park (2 ha)
2005 Large workshop and laundry facility
2006
Henhouse transformed into

         apartment 'La Sweet'
2007
The old farmhouse refurbished

         into Reception / library
2010 Writers
house 'Atma'
2012 Eco-guesthouse 'La Lumbre'
2013 Dream house 'Akasha'
2014 'La Cúpula', meditation dome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our sources of inspiration

· Bolivia, her rhythms, humour, use of

   ‘mañana’; the art to survive, recycle &

    reinvent herself; the traditional arts of

    healing, building and agriculture

·  Doris Lessing’s books' series:

    "Canopus in Argos; Archives”,

    teaching us to observe planet Earth

    with a cosmic eye

·  Monastery gardens, the healing arts,

    that special atmosphere

·  The Rule of Saint Benedict

·  J.S.Bach

·  Cultural visits to Europe

·  ‘The Mustard Seed’ by Osho

·  Japanese gardens: the fusion between

    art, spirit/soul and horticulture

·  Kahlil Gibran, a phrase from

    “The Fool”: ...., the freedom of

    loneliness and the safety from being  

    understood,....

·  The  English art of landscaping and

    flower gardening

·  Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Jugendstil

·  The golden rule: harmony through

    natural proportions

·  Biological dynamic agriculture, the

    edible garden, 'Slow Food'

·   The practice of Zen