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Photo by Ryan Kost, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Queridos caminantes- Hello from Irene

Queridos caminantes

I feel very honored to join Matt, Pedro and all of you for the beginning portion of your time in Bolivia. I’ll be supporting the group during the first six weeks of the program. My name is Irene Platarrueda and I’ve been working with dragons since 2015 leading courses in Central America.

I was born in Colombia and raised in Guatemala and I’ve been traveling back and forth between the two countries all my life. So I’m made of a mixture of the delicious salsas that flavor the sacred corn in Guate and also the delicious salsa music that I listen and dance to from the rhythms of Colombia. A mixture of the vibrant energies of the diversity of my beloved Latinoamerica.

When I was about your age I packed my backpack and traveled south from Bogotá by land all the way to La Paz, Bolivia. It took me three months to go down and back up to my house, and those three months defined a lot of my path since then, and still do. It was my first year of university; I was studying Socio-cultural Anthropology and I went to attend the Foro Latinoamericano de Estudiantes de Antropología y Arqueología. This was the first time I was going so far from my home and my family, it was my first time being on my own determining every footstep I took.

There is a song from a local band in Bogotá called Marabunta that says:

Llevo en los pies mi casa
todo camino es hogar
llevo en el paso un carnaval
Mi corazón es un pájaro
Mi tiempo es espiral
La luna es faro de mi pueblo

This song describes the beauty of traveling because of its powerful transformative energy; you go around a big loop to come back to oneself. Bolivia helped me understand how I was part of the world as a whole and therefore my home. It allowed me to see and experience what it means to live time as the spiral of a snail and it made me see the moon as the lighthouse of many luchas or struggles of the people from Bolivia, and also the people from mi Guate y Colombia and my own battles for a more just world.

It’s been almost ten years since then, and now I feel extremely lucky and grateful to have the chance to go back and travel with you all in Bolivia! I can’t wait to see what it’s going to teach us this time and what I’m also going to learn from you all and your unique life experiences.

Please watch the video of the song and enjoy the joyful music, traveling wouldn’t be as awesome if it wasn’t also an ‘alegre carnaval’ that we dance to.

Muchos abrazos con cariño!