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Hello and welcome from one of your Guatemala Instructors!

¡Hola [email protected] [email protected]!

Hello and I hope that each of you are doing well! I’ve just finished up a year in Peru and Bolivia leading Dragons courses and now am resting a bit before I get to meet you all. I am súper emocionada for the opportunity to experience Guatemala with you and my two colegas guatemaltecos, Juancho y Este.

I have learned so much about experiential education in this last year that I am excited to share with you. I have always been in the field of education but this past year has been something very special for me. I studied education in college (Indiana) and graduate school (California) and have also lived abroad. Specifically, I grew up in Bolivia and Argentina until the age of twelve, although my parents are from the States. During a semester of study abroad in college in Ecuador I realized more than ever that I was connected to Latin America in a way that one cannot find in the U.S. It wasn’t until years later however, when I had the opportunity to be in the field as an educator, that I knew that experiential education is essential and how we are able to dig deep and learn about new practices, cultures, and languages.

I am a writer and a poet, mostly for myself and others close to me but I hope to share this artform with you this summer if you are willing. This past year has given me much time to think and reflect, as we writers are famous for. I think the most important thing that I have learned is how interconnected we all are. Apart from being connected to each other as human beings in the different places that we explore, inhabit, and learn from, we are also connected to what surrounds us–Mother Earth. The President of Bolivia, first indigenous president of the Americas asserted this in a beautiful way during the beginning of his presidency. He proclaimed that “La Tierra no nos pertenece, sino que pertenecemos a la Tierra” or “The Earth doesn’t belong to us, we belong to the Earth.” Although this may sound extremely simple, this is something that I have truly explored this year like never before. I invite you to do the same. I hope that we have this opportunity this summer…to connect back to our essential core–to Mother Earth. From here we can build our understanding of something beautiful into something even more beautiful and interconnected.

I would like to leave you with this quote from Wendell Berry that speaks to what the discovery of this summer is all about. Come into this experience connected to what is beneath your own feet now and in the air around you and I guarantee that the connection to the richness of Guatemala will come willingly. I suggest that you come into this experience open and willing, and bring that feeling of nervous anticipation along too, we will follow the roots of this soon enough to explore new ground on which our feet will surely trod!

“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.” – Wendell Berry

If you’d like to connect with me at all before the course please feel free to reach out: [email protected]. In the meantime we will be in touch with different logistical yaks and other introductions but practice your Spanish, read up on Guatemala, and most importantly, be present in whatever moment you are in!

¡Abrazos!

Raquel

p.s. the picture is what used to be my home for the last 10 years…the Pacific Coast in California, near the Bay Area.