San Pedro de Timote

Posted on December 8, 2008

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I have had the fortune of being invited to many events sponsored by the non-profit Endeavor. Endeavor is working hard to foster the entrepreneurial community in Uruguay, and one tool to accomplish that is knowledge sharing. This weekend, the Fellows attended the 2008 Annual Promises Entrepreneurs Retreat at the fantastic San Pedro de Timote. San Pedro is one of Uruguay’s most beautiful tourist farms. It is located in the former mansion of an old time land baron and is surrounded by hundreds of acres of open landscape. There are cows to see (and eat), horses to ride, a wide open sky to enjoy, and campfires to fight off the night chill. It is a place where it is hard not to relax and it served as the perfect backdrop for the Retreat.

The retreat started with an early morning bus ride to Florida, about two hours due north of Montevideo. As soon as we arrived we were issued color coded T-shirts and told to report to the ropes course. The four teams (blue, pink, orange, and green) competed in swings over a river, a high rope course, shooting arrows, and assembling huge puzzles. It was a great icebreaker and introduced me to many people. Most of the participants in the Retreat are Uruguayan small business entrepreneurs and they all have interesting stories.

The next day was filled with horse rides (one sunset ride, and one early morning ride), lots of good food, and much lounging. Because the Retreat workshops were in Spanish, I was excused from attending them and instead I could focus on relaxing. I am told I missed some great workshops, and I am sorry for that. Got to keep learning my Spanish!!!

The highlight of the trip was the keynote speaker, Roberto Canessa. Roberto is one of the survivors of the plane crash in the Andes in 1972. He survived on the mountain for three months and had to eventually hike down off the mountain to seek help. The story was eventually made into a book and movie entitled “Alive”, which brought him worldwide fame. Roberto’s talk was just plain great and I do not do it justice by even trying to describe it. It was really interesting to hear about how even in the worst of circumstances he was still a teenager who paled around with the other survivors on top of that mountain. His described knowing in his heart that he was going to die when he heard on a small radio that the search for them had been called off. His main message is that you never really fully know what is inside yourself.

All over the ranch there were these tiles placed into the walls with virtuous sayings. From top left clockwise: “Idleness is a theft from all”, “Only God is great”, “Idleness consumes a man more than work”, “It is better to give than receive”.

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