Frequently Asked Questions about
"Finca La Vispera"
What is the history of the finca, how did it start?
Travelling around Latin America in 1981-82 Marga and Pieter fell in love with spacious Bolivia, her authentic culture and people. To stay and live in this new world was so tempting that they left Holland with ease. They bought this promising land and called it "La Víspera" (the Eve), which refers to a celebration of what is to come, a complete new life, full of expectation.
What is their background?
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 a gardener and perceiver. 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 they both worked in education for 10 years. It was in that period that Pieter, who has played the piano from an early age, took up a 3 year evening course to become a professional piano tuner. The first 8 years here their revenue came from 4 months-per-year tuning and restoring pianos in whole Bolivia. During that period both came to know this country more profoundly.
The rest of their time they ‘invented’ the finca, by listening to the tunes of their fantasies and asking each other: “Is the playground feeling still there?” This land offered them plenty of space and inspiration to develop all their hidden talents and thus create their own paradise.
Everything feels in balance, and all the details! How did they 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 on the finca in the course of time. By learning to see setbacks and disappointments as challenges. By being both generous & practical in answer to the needs of guests.
The making of the new representatives of the finca; how & who?
After 30 years of complete dedication Marga and Pieter longed for the right younger couple to arrive and so secure La Víspera's future life. Various try-outs and lessons later, they happened to meet with Marcelo again, who loved the finca already as a youngster on visits with his parents. Upon hearing the latest news his spontanious reaction was: "The finca is meant for me!" He called his partner Eliana telling her: "I have found your dream place." They started this new life as volunteers and are renting the finca now with the wish to buy it. Marga and Pieter, while living in their dream house 'Akasha' uphill, are gradually passing on all their knowledge and the thousands of details to this younger couple.
Who are they, Eliana and Marcelo?
Both very energetic, they are outreaching and hospitable by nature.
Eliana is a born Cochabambina from a family that cares deeply about life's values and lives by them. Mum a Kindergarten teacher and dad a cargo carrier, they always worked hard and succesfully to let their children study and become professionals. Her grandparents were dedicated sustainable farmers. As a child Eliana loved this countrylife, although she visited them only in the weekends. She decided to study agronomy and worked as a environmental consultant in many little villages all over Bolivia. During these adventurous years as a young professional woman (often on a motorbike), she discovered her talent to inspire people with her charismatic radiation. She loves meeting people and likes to chat. She is a dreamer and a good organiser as well. Her dearest wish is to go on with the finca and to let her flourish even more with new inputs.
Marcelo's spontanious reaction to take over the reins of the finca welled up from a deep wish to break away from his comfort zone. For many years he had been working as a biologist in wild life conservation proyects: a new challenge presented itself. From Santa Cruz, the son of a hardworking entrepeneur as a mother and a dare-devillish pilot as a father, he is the kind of person to jump on the job and persevere. Sociable, always with a smile and twinkling eyes, he sees the light side of things. At the same time he knows how to handle the bears on the road. A good cook, a cyber nerd, a teacher, he is eager to show you his Nature Interpretation Paths on the finca grounds, soon.
Who are the people living on the finca now?
Apart from Marga and Pieter uphill in 'Akasha', and Eliana and Marcelo in 'La Casa' in the middle part, lives the retired Swiss teachers couple Susanne & Werner, in the former first guesthouse.
We call ourselves ‘Los Vispereños’; living apart together as stewards and guardians on this Andean hill, connected by the love for this place.
What do guests mean for the finca and vice versa?
Our wish is to share this beautiful spot with others. The finca inspires them 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 years Marga and Pieter were eager to learn from the villagers and their practice of traditional farming life. As ‘Los Vispereños’ we were and are involved in all kinds of developments: an organic horticulture association, health food cooking classes with mother groups, construction of a kindergarten, hospitality & tourism, water supply, public toilets, a theater hall, cultural events, an alternative “green” school and Protected Areas to guarantee water supply. Projects with small communities in the region: a water tank, a new roof on a school, a green plaza, toilets, dentist equipment, etc.
Local staff: how many, education level, atmosphere?
All 10 of them are local villagers. While Samaipata offers little professional education they receive their formation on the finca: horticulture, gardening, hospitality, gastronomy and administration. They are taught to assume a wide range of job responsibilities, to have an overlook, to see the beauty of it, to team, and to teach newcomers. Their capacities and hidden talents are continually challenged, so that they flourish. We focus on an atmosphere of attention and dedication.
How are your experiences with foreign employees, trainees and volunteers?
As a living/working community we care for mutual respect, trust and responsibility, where everyone has his/her own pace. The Bolivian culture is our Home. This is sometimes at odds with the mentality of foreigners. Those who are open and curious, will have a life-experience. Those who are not, e.g. suggesting 'improvements' before actually landed, will be gone soon. Humor is an essential ingredient, next to practicality.
What are the perspectives for Finca La Víspera?
Eliana & Marcelo will use all the accomplishments of the past 30 years as a jumping board for their ideas and fantasies. They changed the name of 'La Casa' into ‘The Dreamcatcher’: This LIFE-PROJECT is in full swing heading for an open future.