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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

Aguayos de agradecimiento

Hoy el Iván habló sobre el aguayo como una especie de tejido que nos deja conocer a nuestros alrededores y personas nuevas con intención y en un sistema más amplio que nos rodea. The aguayo, or weaving, is probably the most common piece of cloth that you will find in Bolivia or Peru. It has multiple uses. It will carry things for miles: women use them to carry their babies on their backs, coca just harvested from the cocales, supplies back from the mercado, anything that you want to carry goes in the aguayo, swung around the back and then secured in front with a double or triple knot.

In order for us to better understand the significance of the aguayo Iván reminded us of the three worlds that exist in Andean cosmovision. The world that we currently find ourselves in is kay pacha, where our daily occurrences and interactions take place. This is where we operate on a daily basis, where we wake up in the morning, where we eat a breakfast of toast and eggs and steaming coffee or tea. It’s where we say our “hellos” and “goodbyes” and our “good mornings” and our “good-nights.” Our “I love yous” and “I appreciate yous” and “You mean so much to me.” This world is both ordinary yet interesting because if we chose a path where learning happens we can keep on our toes, minds as sharp as mountain peaks. We can also pick a different approach. This path includes shying away from challenges, going along with the flow and turning our back to the winds of change and the currents that make the waters ripple with challenge. In kay pacha is also the flora and fauna that sustain us.

Hanaq pacha is the realm of dreams and ethereal realities represented by the skies and the peaks of the apus or mountaintops who are the ancestors of the people of Andean blood. This is where the Mama Quilla, mother moon, and Papa Inti, father sun exist as well as all the constellations. The ukhu pacha is the underworld, the world of our antepasados or our ancestors. This is where death as well as new life occurs.

Iván informed us that these different worlds each have their place in each aguayo. He asked the students to try to “weave” their own aguayo. One group focused on our time in Peru, another Bolivia, and a third group the future of the integration of our journey. The students went out to weave and came back with colorful tapestries that you all can see in the photos attached to this yak.

This activity for me was very meaningful. Everything that we have learned about ourselves, our Dragons community of 12 students and three instructors, of the Pachamama, of the Bolivian and Peruvian people, etc. can never be woven into a concise summary or maybe even a cloth or a picture, but we can use this exercise as a metaphor. We will each go back to our respective homes and we will begin weaving new personal aguayos, but hopefully some of the threads from Urubamba, Paru Paru, Boca, El Alto, Tiquipaya, etc. will be useful in weaving a new story, one that is perhaps more inclusive, more expansive, more community-oriented. I am very excited to see the future aguayos of Sam, Gillian, Tash, Zora, Zoe, Grace, Amado, Noelle, Claire, Clemente, Livana, and Maggie.

And on that note, these personal journeys that have been woven into a distinct AAB Dragons community could never have been possible without the support from back home. While sitting with Livana, Amado, and Gillian yesterday I asked them what they have most felt appreciative from back home and this is what they had to say:

I am thankful for…
“Emotional support, reminding me that I am brave. I get my strength from [my parents] and my ancestors.”


“Knowing that I have a loving family back home that is interested in what goes on here and cares about me.”


“I’m grateful for the support and the safety net they represent which allowed me to come here without reservations.”

To all those friends and family back home who have been a part in each students life aguayo, a heartfelt thank-you or, un gracias de corazón, is what we would like to offer.

This is a note for the families and friends that have journeyed with us, albeit from afar (and especially to the parents). We would like to thank you for lending us what is most precious to you so that your son or daughter, friend or loved one, could learn what the stories of the land of Bolivia and Peru had to teach them. From the people that inhabit this remarkable corner of the world, rincón del mundo, and the numerous native languages, struggles, hopes and injustices that each student witnessed first-hand. The story they heard is one of conquest, of bitter memories, and difficult realities that cannot be swallowed whole, sino poco a poco. In its same right, Bolivia and Peru are lands of people that inspire. They are resilient to the constant change in tide.

Thank you for planting the seed within your child or loved one that gave them the openness, desire, and grit to keep on learning and to begin to grow roots of difference and change against corruption and injustice. Keep watering them and we hope they will continue to grow into hijos de los días or the sons and daughters of the days and of the moments past, present, and future.

Chiques, I’d like to leave you 12 with a song from Bomba Estereo, a Colombian band that inspires dancing and merriment–what I think of when I think of you all! Please listen to this song  and make sure that you enjoy the process of coming back to a place that was once home and now is a place that you will have to “sow” home for yourself. Mil gracias for your energy, your vibrancy, and your willingness to adventure into spaces that were scary, foreign, and challenging at times and at other times comfortable, familiar, and easy.



Siembra el sol por la mañana

El camino que te llama

Que te grita desde adentro

Y que muestra donde ir



The sun sows in the morning

The path that calls you

That screams to you from the inside

And that shows you where to go



Lo que ya no está en tu tiempo

Lo que ya no eres dueño

Lo que estabas esperando

Y no te perteneció


Let go…

What’s not in your time anymore

What you don’t own anymore

What you were waiting for

And that didn’t belong to you


Y vuelve

A donde tu tienes todo

Donde te esperan los tuyos

Lo que tenía que decirte

Te lo dije hace tiempo


And come back…

To where you have everything

Where your friends are waiting for you

What I had to tell you,

I told you long ago


Yo sé de un lugar de donde quiero estar en sueños

Cuentan que hay palabras e historias para contar

Dicen que si esperas y te sientas en silencio

Puede que lo encuentres y también puedas entrar


I know of a place where I want to be in dreams

They say there are words and stories to tell

They say that if you wait and sit in silence

You might find it and you can enter too


Y siembra

Que este sitio es tuyo

No es más de nadie

No está solo y estás tú

Siembra, siembra, siembra


And sow…

Because this place is yours

It isn’t anyone else’s

You are not alone, you are there

Sow, sow, sow


Raquel y lxs instructorxs (Randall, Elly, Frank e Iván)