Hello students and families,
I am very happy to be writing to you all. I hope that wherever you are in the world, you are doing well. Maybe you are finishing up your school year or savoring the arrival of summer. Whatever may be between now and the start of our course, please enjoy it mindfully! I wish you presence and peace with your families and in your communities over these next 5 weeks especially.
Soon, we’ll create our own community as we visit many others. This experience will demand a lot from all of us. I think that in a healthy community, everyone gives a lot to everyone. It can be as difficult as it is rewarding, as scary as it is fun.
As Vanessa, Anna, and I got to know one another, we quickly noticed that we shared a fundamental belief about experiential education. We are not worried about the abilities of the communities and environments that will receive us in Peru to teach us great lessons. They are wonderful people and places and we are incredibly lucky to visit them! Our priority as a team is to be at your service – to support you and challenge you so that you yourself can listen deeply to one another and our hosts. The goal is to make space for learning. You all and Peru will fill that space. We can’t wait to see how.
But to be present with Peru, we first have to show up for one another. And to show up for one another, we have to take care of ourselves. The time until we come together, figuratively and literally, in Cusco is very important. Take it slow! Don’t hesitate to contact us directly for any reason. Of course, we’ll be contacting you and you’ll be contacting each other, through this Yak board, before long. So stay tuned!
I’m really talking to myself as much as I am to you all. After so many great times as a Dragons instructor, I sometimes want to skip this part and just fast forward to unique experience of a course. (When I say unique, I mean it – for me there’s nothing else like it!) But let me follow my own advice by taking a basic first step: a little bit of my story.
I’ve worked for Dragons for several years now in different parts of our Latin America region. My energy for the work comes from a great belief in the value of education outside the classroom, “getting off the beaten path”, hearing stories that one otherwise might not because they lack access to the principal media of expression these days. To call a spade a spade, I enjoyed a privileged education in the conventional sense. Yet I truly believe I have learned more important lessons from my unconventionally privileged education, particularly in Latin America. That path began in Honduras and actually passed through Urubamba for a year when I was just a little older than you all. It has continued in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, and Peru again since university.
Most of all, the amazing and diverse communities of the USA have made me who I am. I descend from western New Yorkers, was born and raised in Virginia, consider New Jersey my second home state, and have lately been visiting southern California a lot.
These communities have taught me more than I could ever explain or will ever fully realize. But more importantly, this life has just made me happy and thankful. And here is where our stories converge: we will meet soon to travel, learn, smile, and thank together.
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p.s. as my picture suggests, I really like playing in, on, or under water (oceans, lakes, rivers, etc.). We won’t get to the spectacular Peruvian coast on our course because Peru is huge and time is short, but count on some refreshing dips in some beautiful spots in the Andes and Amazon 🙂