Greetings from Kusi Kawsay!
The Andean school year got off to a good start in March! Lots of hard work in February prepared the way for the smooth beginning of the school year—both academically and organizationally.
We are especially pleased that Hugo Franco, a founding parent and the painting and sacred geometry teacher at Kusi Kawsay, will continue as the general coordinator. His expertise in Andean values and worldview makes him ideal for this important role that synchronizes the process of weaving all the vibrant colors of this project into a beautiful design that embodies the school name Kusi Kawsay (happy life). Rosaura Farfan, our 4th grade teacher, will continue as the Pedagogic Director, and Yovanna Ramos will continue as Director as well as 10th grade teacher. This experienced team, with support from the administrative staff and the school board, will assure smooth running in 2014. We can already feel the positive results of our fine-tuning! Together with the students, parents, and teachers as well as our global network, we are providing an exceptional education that honors each student’s integrity, and serves as an inspirational model for educators all over the world.
In this newsletter we outline some key plans and accomplishments including creating a curriculum for teaching English and an important all-school field trip. You will see images of Kusi Kawsay’s 5th anniversary celebration and sense the security the school now feels as an institution with history!
Annual Report Published
We are excited to announce the publication of our Annual Report 2013. It's filled with lots of wonderful information about the past year and includes a downloadable student produced calendar. Download the PDF here: Annual Report 2013
We are so grateful for your continued support, and as our 2014 budget indicates, as the school grows, so do our financial needs. Our operational budget gap is currently $40,000. We hope you will continue to support Kusi Kawsay with donations, grants or by organizing and hosting fundraising “events.” The London fundraiser will take place again in 2014 and we hope other supporters will be inspired to host events in their own locations.
We have great aspirations as well as great needs. We invite you to be an important part of sustaining the school, and participate in this authentic movement that celebrates the quality of life based on a sense of community and wellbeing.
Thank you for being a part of Kusi Kawsay and helping make this work possible.
Let´s Celebrate Kusi Kawsay´s 5th Anniversary!
by Fielding Wood
Haylli Kusi Kawsay! Haylli wawakuna! Haylii yachakuna! Haylli!
If only we all spoke Quechua! If only we could have all been there.....
The program began on Friday evening, May 2, with festive song, dance, and skits performed by students, teachers, parents and the association. Laughter, excitement and admiration permeated the fresh evening air. Then an air of contemplation and reflection moved everyone as they viewed a profound speech by a young Mexican girl that celebrates the greatness of ancestral cultures as an important response to predicaments in today’s modern society, with clear messages of solidarity, peace, and respect. Sharing the very message that Kusi Kawsay promotes, she confirms that we are not alone on this path; in fact, there are many people and nations worldwide who share this common vision.
Then came the observation of the Southern Cross in its zenith in the vibrant Andean sky, always stunning to see. Locating and learning about this constellation connects directly to the genesis of Andean culture.
After sharing a warm roasted fava bean drink with sweet cakes and bread, everyone went home to rest for the next day, full of joy for the existence of Kusi Kawsay.
The next morning all convened again to share more presentations and wise words. Can you picture the teachers dancing, all in white, to the rhythmic sound of the music? Their sheer enjoyment and satisfaction of dancing together to celebrate Kusi Kawsay conveyed their genuine and deep sense of comradery that infiltrated the hearts of all present, leading the way as the true yacahaqs, the guides they are, each and every day in Kusi Kawsay. This moving and joyful dance was followed by the final golden touch, the all school Muyu Muyu, with parent participation. Then everyone jointly prepared the meal to share in each class, sitting in small circles forming one large circle. It was a simple yet beautiful and uplifting celebration.
Kusi Kawsay celebrates its fifth year as an entity, its own being. And as Hugo reflected as he led the ceremony, Kusi Kawsay is no longer crawling. Kusi Kawsay is maturing into a new phase, coming into its own. Thank you for being part of the strong foundation that supports this healthy growth.
Kusi Kawsay is learning English!
Teresa Swayne, a certified ESL English teacher, has dedicated 4 months of full-time volunteering to introduce English language instruction to all students and faculty at the school. Having arrived "just in time" in late February, Teresa was able to participate in class planning before the school year began in March. In addition to her teaching she is creating an English curriculum that would allow future volunteers to step into a developed program of instruction. What a gift!
Teresa brings many years of experience from teaching at the ESL Program in Taos, New Mexico. She has worked as well in Quito, Ecuador and throughout Mexico. She is an amazing asset to the school, full of enthusiasm and dedication. She has incorporated into the pedagogic rhythms of the school day beautifully. The community is so thankful that she is present, energetically sharing of her expertise. She is even working with young alumni who compose the Kusi Nan organic farm project.
Imagine what this could mean for us English speakers who yearn to make a meaningful contribution to the school beyond the writing of checks! Visitors to the school are always welcomed with warmth and made to feel at home. For those who might want to offer something more of themselves and experience the life of this educational community, this may become an avenue.
Kusi Kawsay School-wide Field Trip to Cusco, April 2014
By Annie Barrett
Since 2010, my family has had the good fortune to spend a few months each year in Pisac, Perú visiting the Kusi Kawsay School. We are huge supporters of the school’s mission of providing an education based on the Andean cultural traditions of the region, and it has been a pleasure to watch and be part of the school’s growth and development. Both of my two sons, River and Sage have attended Kusi Kawsay as international students. This spring, my son Sage is a student in the 4th grade classroom and on April 10th, Sage and I joined the school community on a fabulous field trip to Cusco.
The purpose of the field trip was twofold: to provide students the educational opportunity to visit three significant cultural and historical sites in Cusco and to have an official audience with the Ministry of Culture in order to showcase the student body and unique mission of the school. Because the school is physically located within an archaeological park overseen by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry has an active interest in the school and its mission.
In the early morning, students from preschool to high school, along with teachers and staff boarded buses to Cusco. Once we arrived, our first visit was to the Kusi Kancha, an open grassy courtyard that served as an important Incan gathering place. Here the meeting with the chief and staff of the Ministry of Culture took place. The majority of the students and staff had dressed for the occasion in their beautiful traditional clothing—the women and girls with colorful polleras (skirts), and mantas (shawls) and the men and boys with woven ponchos. The students assembled themselves in concentric circles (mullus) with the youngest students in the center circle and the oldest students in the outer circle and performed the Kusi Kawsay school song and dance. The song was sung in Quechua with the boys playing the traditional panpipes (zampoñas) and the girls accompanying them on drums. It was a heartfelt, joyful and impressive performance and was very well received.
Next we walked to the Qorikancha, for a tour of what was once the richest of Incan temples and the very center of Incan society. During the Incan Empire, this complex was literally filled with gold and silver and served as the most significant ceremonial site.
Finally we walked to the Incan Museum (Museo Inka) for a picnic lunch in the courtyard. We split into classroom groups again to visit the museum exhibits including an impressive collection of Incan artifacts as well as other Peruvian artifacts. The 4th graders were particularly impressed with the mummies!
The field trip was a tremendous success. Hats off to the coordinators of the field trip, to the teachers, and to the students themselves! Throughout the day, I was impressed with the enthusiasm and overall respectful demeanor of the students. Some of the lovely qualities of that I regularly observe in the students of Kusi Kawsay are cooperation and friendship across grade levels. Kusi Kawsay means “Happy Life”, and this field trip was indeed a happy occasion, an opportunity for the Ministry of Culture to meet the joyful students of Kusi Kawsay and an opportunity for the students to learn more about their unique cultural heritage.
We are grateful to all those who helped make this wonderful outing happen— especially Iña Bermudez, Shyntia Castañeda and Dioni Cavassa for their clear intention and impeccable organization.
Thank you for your interest.
If you would care to contribute to the school, donations to Pachmama's Path can be made by following this link: Kusi Kawsay Support