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Andean priest and spiritual leader, Don Fabian Champi Apaza. Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Orientation in the Sacred Valley

We are halfway through our orientation, and we cannot believe how much we have already covered! We took a lovely tour of Casita Huaran, our orientation site, and learned about its permaculture and crop rotation projects with the local community in Huaran. Instructor Carolina led a powerful Welcome Ceremony the first night, in which we reflected on our goals for the semester and thanked the Pachamama, Mother Earth, for receiving us in this beautiful land. We had a lovely introduction to the Andean Cosmovision and to Andean cultural customs given by our guest speaker and dear friend Milagros del Carpio, who was originally born in Lima but has called Cusco her home since she was a small child. We have also reflected on ethnocentrism, and how our own identities relate to the journey we are beginning to embark on. Today the students went on a Scavenger Hunt in the nearby town of Urubamba, and tonight we will participate in a Quechua ceremony led by Miguel Inti, a spiritual guide from Nación Q’eros…and a dear friend of Dragons 🙂

We have also dedicated ample time to understand how we can stay safe and healthy these next three months, to ensure a successful course — and also what kind of group culture we want to create inside this little family. And we are so excited about the things to come! The students are thinking about what Independent Study Projects they want to do during our long homestay in Bolivia, and we are starting to look forward to our first trek, which we will be starting in the Yungas (the tropical part of the La Paz department in Bolivia) in about a week. On Thursday we travel to La Paz. Onwards and upwards!

-The Instructor Team