I discovered a world, a people, a civilization totally unknown to me. Those first minutes on Venezuelan soil were so moving, it would take a talent far greater than mine to describe the warm welcome we received from those generous people.
–Henri Charriere, Papillon
Tomorrow I arrive in Venezuela. I hope that my greeting is as warm as the one described above by Charriere, the real-life Papillon upon whose memoir the famous McQueen-Hoffman film was based. Imprisoned over a period of 14 years by the French, then by Colombians, then by Venezuelans, he was finally set free after the revolution of 1948 and lived out his days in Caracas, remembering what the kind fisherman who first found him said.
“No man is ruined forever. No matter what he’s done, there comes a moment in his life when he can be saved, when he can be made into someone good and useful to his community.”
The next post will be from the road. See you all soon.