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Two Dragons welcome the sunrise with an improvised dance atop the Andes. Photo by Ryan Gasper.

Instructor Introduction – bienvenidxs!

Hey dear Dragons!

I am very happy to meet you soon and experience with you a beautiful adventure together to enjoy the process of learning.

I am Sandy, I was born in one of the Amazonian areas of Bolivia, in the city of Caranavi, in the Los Yungas region (Department of La Paz). I am an Afro-descendant woman, I have a strong connection with my Afro-Bolivian culture that was created and developed thanks to the legacy and the resilience of my ancestors brought from Africa to Latin America. They had the capacity not only to survive hardships but also to connect with the Andean and Amazonian peoples of Bolivia and transform their identity and collective history.

I studied Social Communication in the city of Cochabamba, the third largest city of Bolivia, specializing in cultural studies of Communication for Development. In my life I carry out activities related to the defense and strengthening of human rights, the cultural identity of Afro-descendant communities and women as professionals and activists.

Interculturality, the encounter of different cultures, is a fundamental element with which you will have to confront in your trip through Bolivia and Peru. These countries are a meeting of diverse cultures, kaleidoscopes of worldviews, music, beliefs and visions of the world that coexist in these territories. It will be a pleasure for me to accompany you on this process of discovery by putting my knowledge and personal and professional experience to work.

In particular, I want to share with you the history, culture and music of my Afro-Bolivian community, and work to understand together how we can empower ourselves and develop in society through the transmission and preservation of our cultural practices and identity.

In these lands, diversity is not only cultural but also geographical. Here we have pampas, jungles, mountains, rivers, lakes, deserts, and valleys that extend from the lowlands to the highest mountains of the continent.  Be prepared to travel through spaces that are at the same time very similar and very different.

Traveling through the Andes and the Amazon means a journey in space, in time and within oneself; the great connection of the peoples of these territories with nature, which here we call Pachamama, comes together with a deep spirituality that calls us to reconsider our relations with nature, the Mother Earth, and with other human beings.

I am very excited to accompany you on this journey of personal and spiritual growth; I am sure it will be a rich and exciting trip that will give us a great reward. See you soon, if you have any questions or curiosity you can write to me at this e-mail address: [email protected]

Abrazos,

Sandy