KUSI KAWSAY NEWSLETTER Fall 2013
Warm greetings from Kusi Kawsay and welcome to current news of the school as it continues to grow and thrive. It feels wonderful to have so much to share about the growth and change in the school community.
Please take a moment to see what is happening with students and recent graduates. A new classroom for 8th grade students has been completed and the school year is in full stride. We are also pleased to share news of successful fundraising and an organizational step forward now possible because of the support of so many generous donors.
As you know, this newsletter aims to help keep the school connected to an international community that has developed through the inspiration that Kusi Kawsay provides us all. Their sustaining vision combined with our interest and support makes this creative and appropriate education of a new generation of Andean students possible. And we believe these students carry gifts from their culture that are badly needed in the world today.
As is often true for non-profits such as Kusi Kawsay, ongoing donations are the lifeblood of the enterprise and there is current need for another $18,000 to meet 2013 expenses and be on firm footing at the beginning of 2014. If you do not have time to read the news today but would like to help out, scroll to the bottom of this letter. Pachamama’s Path, easy to access, is our vehicle for donations to the school.
Thanks for your interest!
Barbara, Merilee, and Margaret
A Most Important Introduction!
Kusi Kawsay is very happy to introduce Shyntia Veronica who is taking on the important role of School Administrator. Previously, administrative functions have been handled by founding families and part-time employees. The advent of a full-time staff person to shoulder this job is a cause for celebration and testament to the work of many, whose steadfast efforts have “held it all together” for many years. We would especially like to thank Sandra Izquierdo for making important and appreciated progress last year as Kusi Kawsay’s first part time administrator.
The school is excited to welcome Shyntia, an anthropologist with a deep sensitivity and respect for the Andean culture, which makes her fully identify with the project that is Kusi Kawsay. Her work will focus on fortifying the school’s organizational and fundraising capacity so as to develop a long-term planning process. Her commitment to the vision of the school is deeply appreciated and we will share more of her perspective as she settles into her new role.
Exciting News about some of the first Graduates of Kusi Kawsay
Kusi Nan Organic Farm – Introducing a student started and run business
Kusi Kawsay was very moved by the graduation of the upper grade study group in December 2012. It was sad to see them go, as they held a strong presence as leaders and guides for all of the students at Kusi Kawsay. The exciting news is that several of them are starting a small micro business together, the Kusi Nan Organic Farm (path of joy), with the support and guidance of several Kusi Kawsay founding parents and other supporters.
Hector Bolivar, an agriculturist of Andean heritage, and Alejandro Trevisan, an experienced permaculturist, are assisting the group with their expertise. These new farmers have the use of a beautiful piece of agricultural land just below the school. They will sell their organic produce to local families and to gourmet restaurants that are booming in the area. These restaurants reflect the local and international Peruvian cuisine explosion. In phases two and three they will start a production center, and enter into agro-tourism. It is their intention to give a percentage of their earnings to Kusi Kawsay to help sustain their beautiful school.
Thanks to generous donations the business was able to start. We will have more information soon for those of you who would like to learn more or get directly involved with this project.
Special Recognition and Events
by Fielding Vizcarra
We are so thankful to everyone who continually supports Kusi Kawsay.
In memory of Susan Foster, who helped our organization so much, and so early in its path, we have established the Susan Foster Memorial Scholarship Fund. Currently, the fund is sponsoring two scholarships a year for the next five years. She worked with NE BIOLABS, which continues to support Kusi Kawsay.
In memory of Charles Strong who not only supported Kusi Kawsay, but also the cultural work that Kusi Kawsay was born from. Urpillay Sonqollay.
We are excited to announce our recent partnership with the Global Fund for Children!. Kusi Kawsay is a recipient of a small grant to help fund teacher salaries, which is our most urgent need. We really appreciate GFC’s way of working with and supporting their partner projects, and are so thankful for this opportunity as a grantee partner.
Thank you Matt Dayka for the powerful and moving professional photos of Kusi Kawsay. An image conveys much more than words, and your images are priceless. Photographers including Seth de Roulet, Jim Cline, Robert Blumberg, Caroline Prietz of Aracari, and Laurent Ribémont have also helped Kusi Kawsay convey the spirit of the school to our community at large.
To our wonderful volunteers of 2013! You are an important part of Kusi Kawsay, and we thank you for sharing this vision: Cristina Fyfe, Justine Epstein, Kyle Lutz, Valery, and currently Chaska and Seth. We would like to especially thank ProHumanus for their commitment to accompanying our teachers, and also special thanks to Ursula Locher and Carron Mulligan; Kusi Kawsay is greatly fortified by these volunteer Waldorf specialists and teachers who offer their invaluable experience, guidance and expertise.
Marisol Mosquera of Aracari had a festive birthday event in Cusco this April, and included Kusi Kawsay as a project that her guests could gift to instead of giving her a birthday present. How creative, and what special recognition for Kusi Kawsay – we are honored and full of gratitude.
We send thanks and special greetings to everyone who supports the cultural work and Kusi Kawsay through Intipunku Verein from Germany, and to our dear community of friends and supporters in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.
Thank you to all the Waldorf Schools who participate in Wow Day – and to the Fruende der Erziehungskunst (Friends of Waldorf Education) for your invaluable support!
Special greetings and thanks to Megan de Roulet of the Patrina Foundation, to Accenture, and to Nancy Parks of Wilder Green for your amazing support!
Thanks to the Forman School student volunteers who helped clear the land last November in preparation for the construction of the 8th grade classroom. That rocky site is now a beautiful classroom. We hope you will come visit so you can see!
Our continued participation in the UNESCO network of affiliated schools gives us the enriching opportunity to share educational experiences with other initiatives, and enables us to serve as an inspiration for other schools and the Ministry of Education, which is one of Kusi Kawsay’s principle objectives. UNESCO does not fund Kusi Kawsay, as this is not the nature of this network.
We would like to thank APIA for the tremendous ongoing support in helping build Kusi Kawsay. The 8th grade classroom is finished, and is beautiful!
We would like to honor and give special recognition to Wendy Watanabe. She has been to Peru twice with Roman and myself, the first time joining her sister Lori. They came as part of a women’s activist group organized by our dear friend and all time supporter Judy Ramsey of Ann Arbor, who made so many of the connections on Roman’s recent tour possible. Wendy came a second time with her husband, and friends who now co-ordinate this newsletter! When Wendy learned of Kusi Kawsay’s vision, and of the school’s critical economic situation, she offered her help as a consultant. She is long time community organizer in Washington State. Using her expertise with non-profits, she began guiding Kusi Kawsay through an in-depth process of restructuring, evaluating, and organizing all areas connected to fundraising. We have come a long way, and Kusi Kawsay’s current growth would not have been possible with out Wendy’s commitment. Urpillay sonqollay.
We honor all of the individuals who make Kusi Kawsay possible, especially those of you who contribute to the Ayni Scholarship Fund. This Fund helps cover our operational budget gap each year so that children who cannot pay tuition can attend Kusi Kawsay. We hold you all in our hearts and are full of gratitude for each one of you – urpillay sonqollay. We keep our individual donors anonymous unless otherwise requested; please let us know if you would like your Ayni Scholarship Fund named in honor of a special person, event or milestone.
Victoria, Alex and Rayner are Kusi Kawsay students that come from Viacha, an indigenous community 5 km high above Pisac.
Alex and Rayner are brothers, and like Victoria they are carriers of Andean values and ancestral wisdom. The human quality and wisdom that these youths carry is only comparable to their spiritual and physical strength, qualities that allow them to walk so far to and from school; an average 5 hour round-trip walk everyday for the past four years, since they began studying at Kusi Kawsay.
Needless to say, they are entirely motivated by their experience at school where their understandings of the world and themselves are valued and they can partake in learning new tools and competencies for a full life as they encounter truths about other parts of the world.
Last February, Roman embarked on a coast-to-coast fundraising journey, engaging old and new supporters across the U.S. This effort, along with benefits in London and New York City, managed to secure nearly half of Kusi Kawsay’s 2013 operational budget. This represents a huge success and thanks are due to the organizers, attendees and generous donors.
The tour began with a benefit held in Washington D.C. at Bus Boys & Poets. This wonderful event was organized by longtime supporters of Kusi Kawsay; Jim Epstein with great support by Sara Elbert, Garrett Graddy, Paul Lovelace and Louise Muir. Many thanks for making this event possible and successful. Familiar faces and solid support provided a base for Roman’s trip west.
His next stop was Ann Arbor, Michigan where, in the midst of a blizzard, he was met by a warm community of friends, many of whom have travelled to Peru on Roman & Fielding’s cultural journeys. Lori & Paul Saginaw were key in making this event so successful and wrote: “ We too were so thrilled by the attendance, the impact and the giving. The event was actually hosted by all the local folks who have known you from trips - us in addition to Judy Ramsey, Cindy Nicely, Pam Hoffer, Laurie White, Gary Boren and Mary Beijan. So it was a group effort.” Dick Soble & Barb Kessler graciously hosted Roman, who described his stay as “receiving such special attention.” A tireless innovator himself, Roman encountered a community of informed activists, with a consciousness and commitment to making change. He felt moved by this connection of kindred spirits who share the profound vision of transformation and wellbeing that a focused, inclusive educational institution can have on the larger community.
Then Roman continued across the States to Seattle, where Wendy and Tim received Roman as their guest. Along with Steve and Annie, Merilee and Margaret, Wendy organized and hosted this beautiful and successful event at the home of Paul and Linda Larsen. Picture a gathering of more than 30 adults and many children, sitting in a semi-circle looking out over the water, listening to Roman play Andean flute and reflect on the beauty of his culture as the impetus for what the school aims to preserve. It was a magical moment shared by people from many communities around Puget Sound including a Quechua-speaking language professor whose children have at one time attended Kusi Kawsay.
Photos of Lucia by Matt Dayka
Lucia’s beautiful smile reflects her inner beauty and peace, and radiates the profoundness of her communal heritage, which she subtly transmits to everyone she encounters. Kusi Kawsay is so fortunate and grateful to have her as our weaving teacher, which is taught as an Andean Legacy Workshop, and is a central axis to Kusi Kawsay’s curriculum. At Kusi Kawsay, weaving is not only considered as a valuable handcraft, but it is known to reinforce the memory, enhance mathematic abilities, and it also imparts ancestral values and teachings essential to Kusi Kawsay. Each color is beautiful on its own, but in order to create the intricate pallay’s (designs), all of the colors are equally important. As professor of Andean weaving and loom design, in Quechua called AWAY, Lucia’s comprehensive knowledge and management of these ancient techniques combined with her versatility as a person, make her an excellent teacher and an essential part of the school.
Lucia is native to the Indian community of Amaru, where she currently lives with her daughter Betsabe and her husband Walter. She alternates her pedagogical work at Kusi Kawsay with the production of beautiful textiles, and is an active member of the Weavers Association “Apu Runawana” of Amaru. Lucia is fluent both in Quechua and Spanish, which is essential for school requirements.
Lucia is a walking flower, beautifying the Pachamama (mother universe) with the colorful designs on her pollera (skirt) and manta, and her genuine smile, filling us with the love and respect so alive in the traditional communities of the Andes, which is the heart of Kusi Kawsay’s vision, and our inspiration and guiding force.
Fundraisers and Funding
In addition to Roman’s tour, two very important fundraisers were held in May. The fourth annual London benefit, and the first NYC benefit helped Kusi Kawsay come even closer to closing their operational budget gap. The annual London benefit was once again a great success thanks to Sophie Muir, Christopher Rothschild, Edie Meyer and Christina Wood, with presentation by Alvaro Picardo who visited the school after last year’s fundraiser.
The NYC event was possible thanks to the organizers Alison Andrus, Julie Rinaldini, Davina Wood, Maria Elena Vergara and Isaac Valentin. Special thanks go to Maria Elena and Isaac who hosted the event in their lovely apartment in the city.
Events like these help cover a large part of Kusi Kawsay’s operational budget and make the functioning of Kusi Kawsay possible, as well as cultivating valuable human relations and a sense of community. Fielding says,“ We are full of deep gratitude, and hope to continue cultivating these and more connections, so as to share insights and values that mutually enrich our lives in the common spirit of service, reciprocity and positive change for all of humanity. We hope many of you will be inspired to organize and host events in new locations, and we are full of gratitude for those of you who have already taken the lead, hoping you will continue to promote such gatherings.”
Currently the school is looking for another $18,000 to cover costs for the end of 2013 and to begin 2014 on firm footing.
Tax deductible donations for Kusi Kawsay can be made to Pachamama’s Path, a U.S. 501(c)(3). Kusi Kawsay is a program of Pachamama’s Path and your contribution can be made through our secure website via Paypal or by mail with a check made out to Pachamama’s Path at 5543 Pelican Way, St. Augustine, FL 32080. Contact Ann Beckham at (904) 461–4575 for information on stock/wire transfers.