Henry was my guide on a three day hike with Condor Trekkers, a non-profit trekking and tourism project located in Sucre. He is a man of steel and few words; until you get him talking that is! A true Renaissance man, Henry graduated in architecture and is skilled in music, painting, history and cooking. Henry says that in life, we juggle five balls: Work, friendships, family, our spiritual space and ourselves. The ball representing work may drop, as we can always bounce back (pardon the pun). However, none of the other four may drop – as that would respresent a problem too great to overcome.
How has being Bolivian left its mark on you?
It’s left its mark in the sense that Bolivians work at lot. There is a huge natural richness in this country which you see in the way Bolivians live their lives. Here, I always say “todo es posible, pero nada es seguro” (everything is possible, but nothing is sure), which is something that foreigners just don’t understand. Sometimes, they don’t understand the essential nature of the country. For us, the word bolivian is very important.
What would your 13-year-old self think about you if they met you?
I’ve always worked, ever since I was very young. As a child, I sold things on the streets and always thought I could do more. My 13-year-old self would be happy that all I’ve done all I wanted to do. He’d think that I think too much about other people and not enough about my self. But, I only want what is necessary in order to live…which is why I’m with Condor Trekkers.
If you could meet your 13-year-old self, what would you say to him?
To always follow his dreams. You have to move without borders, travel, see the world and learn.
Do you think you’re on the right path?
You never know. Any second, everything could change. You might fall in love with someone and that changes everything. Life is always relative, never absolute.
How do you feel when you think about your future?
I feel that my family is the most important thing in my life at the moment. I have a lot of respect for them. Once my mother passes away, I’ll be able to do a lot more. My goal is to live life.
What fascinates you about Bolivia?
Her natural wonders. The music and culture. I’m in love with Bolivian music, we have an incredible variety of musical styles here. I’m also fascinated by the way Bolivians live life as a community. Foreigners are always moving, it’s a much more individualistic life over there in Europe.
That everyone has their own energy. I don’t speak English very well yet, but I have learned how to read body language. I can tell you how the French are, how the Irish are, without speaking their language.
My creativity. I’m very creative. I work on several forms of art, I always conduct my tours differently. I’m able to adapt to whatever type of person I meet.
What scares you about Bolivia?
That we might become as modern as, or end up like Europe. In this case, everyone would live the life of individuals, not as a community.
That friendships can break. I’ve learned never to lie about why I do what I do. I try not to lie, I try always to speak the truth. As we say here, “tarde o temprano, pagas las facturas,” (in the end, you’ll pay).
That I am capable of hurting people. Sometimes, people have trusted in me and I’ve hurt them. They’ve not known why, and often, neither have I. Maybe it’s because I’ve felt so much for them.