A couple of days ago, we visited Don Alberto. He is around 75 years old and decided to live a hermit life an hour and half from La Garnacha community. When he was young he developed a dream about sculpturing the big rocks near his house. He says in a sarcastic way and laughing, ‘my house is the biggest house in the whole Nicaragua country’ jajajaj. Well to describe his house a bit, it is built with wood and the size of it is about 2 x 2 m2. The local government of Esteli city will build a bigger house for him and he was very happy about it. He even show us the agreement he made.
When we went up to the mountain I got very surprised to see all those big stones and as we went I got even more impressed and fascinated by the amazing art that Don Alberto has been working on for the past 40 years or so. It is incredible to see all the work he put in to sculpt almost every stone on his property, especially all the work he did with the stones and the big rocks up in the mountains. I am still thinking that our group was very lucky to be able to see the place and not only see it but actually be there and meet Don Alberto and listen to him sing some poems. While singing he shows a lot of love and passion for nature and all the things that surround him: the sun, the trees, the air we breath and the beautiful views from his house to the cloud forest. The work has almost 40 years so far and Don Alberto is still thinking to do some more designs.
Our tour guide Ariel mentioned that the biggest group that visited the place in one day was over 100 people, which is one of the reasons why he wakes up every day early in the morning around 5 am to start sculpting until 10:00 am and then he takes a break to talk to visitors. That day we were 14 people and there was 1 more person that was there before us. It is fascinating to think that in the next 10-20 years this place will become even more visited and this will be very crowded. Some of the designs are important people in the Nicaragua’s history such as Sandino and Chamorro and others. Also he has so many different animals such as goats, deer, jaguars, and even an elephant even though he’s never seen one in his entire life. Don Alberto has such as great memory to remember events that happened when he was young and also the interactions he’s had with different people and nature because that is how he made the elephant in first place. It seems that this is a way for him to remember his experiences interacting with different people he’s met while living in the mountains and his childhood.
Don Alberto is the only sculptor of Nicaragua that does this type of work, and he’s become very well known all around Nicaragua. He has also been featured in the news worldwide because of his work that started as a hobby and now brings visitors from all over. It is the main income source for Don Alberto and his family. We cannot compare don Alberto’s work with Tikal or Machupicchu but this place will definitely host a lot of people in the future.
A lesson that I want to take out of this experience is that by doing what you like to do and following your dreams you will find peace, love and happiness.