One cannot deeply understand who Roberto is without getting to know the bond with his family, his relationship with his wife and his children. It all started in his family: he knew his father was looking for him while he was in the Andres, as it actually did happen, because "if he had got lost, I would have left no single stone unturned", as he states.
Regarding his mom, Roberto narrates: "Three years before the accident in 72, in May 69 to be more precise, 3 school mates drowned on their way to the Flores Island while sailing on a canoe, in Montevideo. My mother had said back then that she wouldn`t survive if a son of hers died. And that was a very powerful reason for me not to falter in the Andes at any point, to give it all to get back to her”.
His wife, Lauri, recalls the moment she
reunited with Roberto at the San Fernando Hospital:
“I got into his room very slowly and when I saw him; laying down on his bed, wrapped on a white hospital gown, his black long and scraggly beard, with such a scrawny face; I found it hard to recognize him. Roberto made a hand gesture so as for me to approach him, and I wanted tojump on him, as I figured any 19-year old girlfriend would do on her charming prince coming back from the darkness. However, what I found around my arms was not what I expected: the kight in shining armour was a skinny skeleton, his lips were cracked to a point that I was even unable to kiss him. So, he stretched his arm, grabbed an envelope from his night table, which he kept as if it were the most precious gift one could imagine. When I opened it, I couldn`t hide my surprise as I found a tiny piece of yellowish and dirty cheese that he had got from the mule drivers at the Maitenes. "I walked for you, Lauri", he muttered.
His son Tino defines him as follows:
“Everything I learned from my father was not something he told me, but that he did. I saw an attitude that I haven`t seen in any religious people, missionaries, doctors nor politicians, because it`s a silent and very humble one. It involves respecting everyone without making any differences, all across society, where we are all similar but doing different things. And the second thing I have always seen, is that he never gives up. Never."
His son Tino defines him as follows:
"By looking at the final expedition that my father did in the Andes, I can see his distinctive traits come out. The main one is that that footslog only worked under a positive mind. The constant hardships that he suffered in the Andes would make other people afraid of these repeating, would ready them for fateful chances. This worked in reverse on him. I don`t know how, but he confirmed that negative things are remotely random. He embodies the extreme example of a pessimistic scenario, but that is exactly what catapults him to the other state, resulting in a virtuous circle that he spreads himself"
Lala, his daughter, defines him, as follows:
"I believe that the main motivator to walk for dad was that his mother wouldn`t have to live a life having a dead son. He had to be reborn for her, she always knew he was alive, but he didn`t know that. And that`s why he has lived his life in the border, not the one between life and death, but of birth and rebirth, dealing with children that are about to be born but may not do it. Being around desperate mothers that need his support, which is the same one his own mother required. His mom needed a definite evidence that she was right, and the only one possible was that her son came back alive. That he returned with such grand message. What he does now, is exactly the same he experienced with his mother: he`s the messenger of other children telling their mothers that it was worth waiting for them".