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?
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?
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?
first few years we were
eager to learn from them, the practice of
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
instruments for dentists,
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
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?
deeply rooted in
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
before actually being
landed here, will be
Those who are open
have a life-experience. Humour is
have certain life precepts for yourselves?
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
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
This LIFE'S PROJECT is in full process heading
for an open future.