Exciting news for us at Dragons HQ as eloquently announced by our Latin America Program Director, Julianne Chandler.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Today, I am very proud of Dragons. Early this morning, one of our dear friends and contacts from the Peruvian Andes approached the US Embassy in Lima with a large stack of documents and his traditional hand woven chulo fit firmly on his head. After a four hour anxious wait in line, he was called to the counter and handed over his shiny new passport and letter of invitation from Dragons to participate in our all staff orientation in the Sierras. We had gone over this moment countless times over the phone, and he had rehearsed everything he needed to say. I told him they wouldn’t turn down his winning smile. I was right.
Don Fabian Champi Apaza, an Andean priest and spiritual leader, a dear friend, a man who has been the spirit of our Peru programming for the past decade, who has touched the lives of countless students and instructors will be joining us this year in the Sierras for All-Staff Orientation & Training.
Fabian may not know how to read the writing on his visa documents, but he knows how to read the night sky and the arching slopes of the Andes and the blessing hidden in a palm full of coca leaves. He is a healer, a connector of worlds both seen and unseen, and the sound of his flute can part clouds in the sky (seriously). His work has helped our students connect more meaningfully with the landscapes, people, communities, and traditions of the Q’eros Nation – perhaps the last true Incan outpost – a place we never could have stepped foot into without Fabian’s guidance and trust.
I am so grateful for the leadership which has made this possible! I look forward to joining all of you in a few short weeks to welcome Fabian to our community. His presence in the Sierras will be one small gesture of reciprocity for the countless guides and contacts that have opened doors for our students across the globe.
Below, Fabian sees and touches the ocean for the first time in his life yesterday in Lima. Also, a big thanks to Annelies Hamerlinck, who hosted Fabian in Lima and took this photo.