Sergei, Bolivia



What concerns me most is how we are stuck in a system that revolves around profit and not around human beings. A system that comes at the expense of the liveability of our world. It is one of the reasons I want to return to my country. I want to go back to something simple, to the things that matter.


I'm going to settle in Cochabamba, a valley I come from in the Andes Mountains in central Bolivia. It is located at an altitude of 2,000 meters. There I want to start a cafe, with good service and better coffee. I am now packing a container with stuff I need. I collect vintage furniture and also acquired four large barbecues. I will take that all with me. I just not sure yet when exactly I could leave.


I have been living in Europe for twenty years now, including in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp. But every time I came back to Leiden, where I lived most often and the longest. My stepfather is Dutch so it was a logical step to come here when I was eighteen years old. I will never forget that day because it was the middle of winter. I had never experienced so much cold. It seemed inhumane to live here! Now I'm used to it of course.


I studied Latin American Culture and Literature for some years. I love languages very much. Dutch is a very beautiful language, for example. It fits well with your culture. But the local languages ​​in Bolivia are richer. They are poetic and each word has multiple meanings. The real history of a country can be found in its language, but I feel we are slowly losing that. The beauty of implicit communication is disappearing.


I've done all kinds of things, including running a cafe before. At the moment I work in construction. With a small team we restore old monumental homes in the center of the city. Myself, I also live in such an old building, which is something I love. I feel at home there exactly because it is a bit worn down. Not everything in life has to be perfect.

At the moment, I'm trying to save as much as possible. I live cheaply and work hard – anything to make my big dream come true. Europe has treated me well, I have learned a lot. But I'd rather spend my days in a hammock with my face turned to the sun.