My family has known Robert from the first day he came down the river when I wasn’t even born yet. When I was little I used to watch the rafts float by my home. All I could think about was one day being a guide. When I was 15 Robert invited me to train with the company. Naturally I said, yes! Usually guides who come down to train on the Futaleufu have many years of rafting. The Futaleufu was my first river. It was very tough in the beginning. I loved rafting by my home and my parents and brothers and sisters would come out and wave at us. After a couple of years of training I started feeling good and asked Robert when he thought I could be a paid guide? Robert said when I didn’t have to ask that question I would be ready. It took three more years and dozens more trips down the river before I did my first paid trip as a safety cataraft guide. After being with the company these past years, I have seen many training guides come down and never reach a level to guide. I now realize that guiding for this company isn’t about who your family knows, where they live, friends, or favors. It isn’t about thinking you’re ready when you think you are but only when the rest of the guides think you are. These guides come from all over; the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Europe and tell me this is the best river for rafting and kayaking in the world. I didn’t know that. I thought all rivers were like this one. The guests on our trips tell me they have never seen such a magnificent place. It makes me proud to think people come from all across the world-- to this place-- my home. Some people from the area think the dams they want to build will bring jobs. But what about after they’re built? Then what’? You have to protect what is yours-- your home.
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