Hola queridos Dragones. It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Peru, Sacred Mountains, 4 weeks program.
My name is Jhasmany Saavedra and I am thrilled to work with you this summer as your Course Director. The Peru Sacred Mountains summer is a course that I enjoy and appreciate very much. I am originally from Bolivia and I have vast experience traveling in Peru, with and without groups of students. I have come to appreciate Peru as if it were my own country and I am fascinated by the cultural richness of this country.
The Andes mountain range and the Amazon create a unique mixture of landscapes and climates that at the same time give birth to different cultures and ways to see the world in Peru. I have come to meet many people from different cultural groups that I consider to be my friends. One of the people that I am really eager to introduce to you all, is my friend Siwar Qenti, who is a priest of Andean Cosmovision. He has taught me so much in the past three years that I hope that you can also be exposed to that amount of knowledge and compassion.
One of my passions when I travel in Peru is to learn about ancient cultures that developed in this region. I was surprised to learn that the coast of Peru is one of the seven areas in the world where culture developed independently. When we think about Peru we usually think only about the Inca culture, nevertheless, this country hosts currently 65 ethnic groups and has hosted more than five times that number through its history.
I have been working for Where There be Dragons in the Peru and Bolivia region for the past three years and I have lead six courses successfully in that time. My students on those courses have been some of the most inspiring young people that I have ever meet. I admire their longing for learning and connecting to this country and its people. What I hope from this experience is that you and I can learn together from the places, the people, the communities, the animals, the plants, etc. that we encounter during our trip. My students’ questions and curiosity on social and environmental issues has often given me the opportunity to do some research and learn more about this issues. I am really excited to see what your questions are and the curiosity that will make me gain more knowledge.
Being an instructor for Dragons has given me the opportunity to develop a community of very passionate and inspiring people. My past co-instructors, local contacts, people in the administration and my students represent, at this moment, the people that inspire me the most. I am really excited to introduce you to some of these amazing people!
Get ready to have an amazing experience in some of the most fascinating places in the world, with the most beautiful views and the most amazing teachers (the people that live in these areas). I am sure that we are going to enjoy this experience and make many meaningful memories together.
Take the coming weeks to prepare yourself in any way that you feel is important to you. It can be physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or any other way that you would like for this experience. As one of my co-instructors would say: once we start this course, be ready to “let the people and stories and landscapes of Peru get under your skin, and expect the unexpected!”
While we all wait for the moment when we will see each other in the Miami Airport, please read the Yak board; important information will be continually posted here for you. If you have any questions, please post it to the yak board. I promise you that the answers will be helpful for more than one of your peers. You can also contact me by email at [email protected] I will see you soon where the earth meets the sky. Get ready for a once in a lifetime experience!