SEUDIEL WALTEROS: EL LLANERAZO
"The true llanero is not born, he is made working in the herds, learning to cultivate and living in the fertile plain of the river."
Saudiel Walteros is a 52-year-old peasant, a traditional inhabitant of the lands on the banks of the Pauto River, in the department of Casanare. There he has a farm that he inherited from his father and that has become his center of operations. In it, he receives visitors of all ages and of different nationalities and teaches them about the culture of the plain, a region rich in resources and that for years, due to the conflict that plagued it, was inaccessible even to Colombians themselves.
In 2004, he saw the doors of his region open little by little, and with this the opportunity to do his true passion: to preserve and teach about the culture and customs of the plains. After being featured as “El Gran Llanerazo”, in a national television reality show that tested all his survival skills in the open field, he decided to dedicate himself to tourism.
Two years later, in 2006, he recovered an old stable and a ranch-style house with the aim of turning them into a museum. He also dedicated himself to rescuing and preserving archaeological remains of the four indigenous peoples that ancestral inhabited those lands.
For the past 15 years, he has worked tirelessly to strengthen tourism in his region.
How did tourism change your life?
For me it has been the most beautiful experience. I am the happiest person in life to work on this, to meet so many people, learn from them when they come.
It changed the way I earn a salary. Previously one won by wages. It is a total change, because one begins to earn a little more, one's life begins to change.
Connecting with tourism was a very nice change that happened to our family.
Why do you think it is important to preserve the tourism that you do?
There are people who want to ride horses and I rent the horses to the neighbors. On days when there are large groups of tourists, I can pay more than one wage to the people who help me. That is very gratifying.
I have had the experience of working with children. They say to me: "I did not know this, I did not know this was that way." Teaching children the culture of the llanero man is nice.
Another thing is that I was the pioneer in the municipality in integration with the other current tourism players and large herds. I managed to convince them that tourism was good. Today they are the most convinced and most encouraged people to continue fighting.
How have you been affected?
All this affected me totally. From about 2 years ago until before the pandemic, we were completly full. I didn't even have time to be in my house. Today we cannot offer the service, we are not receiving people and any income neither.
If you want to give Seudiel hope and have financial relief while Casanare reopens, you can buy your experience now to spend a day at Rancho Museo El Llanerazo. Seudiel will teach you about his culture and what it means to be a real llanero. If the river level allows it, you will see a cowboy crossing it with his horse. You will visit the archaeological museum and the cultivation of cocoa. You can learn to make chocolate. Includes typical lunch.