May 10 Mysa Peru
Mark Twain wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” These thoughts circulated as Siri and Ariel boarded the plane during spring break with an adventurous group of Mysa middle and high school students. The six-week Connect Unit on literature had just finished, and these words hung in their minds as a new frontier of travel lay in front of them.
People explore the world for leisure, adventure, culture, and new experiences, but what about education? Experiential education is at the heart of Mysa’s curricular offerings, so it was only natural to go farther than the DC metro area. This international trip wove together students’ annual Connect studies of literature, climate change, and immigration in a real, fascinating, interdisciplinary way. Students literally wove with Quechua women in a mountainous, secluded village, learning how to dye, spin, and weave to create vibrant, traditional textiles. They took in spectacular sites, ate Alpaca, and napped in breezy hammocks. While all of this was thrilling and enriching, students interacted with the local native population to explore cultural, historic, and geographic implications of this landscape.
Spending two weeks in a rural, mountainous village was a first for everyone on the trip. They heard stories of Incan warriors while practicing their Spanish bartering in the town square. One student said, “I wonder if the people who live here have any idea that this is the most beautiful place on earth?” As a micro school, Mysa is flexible and able to go outside of the traditional classroom boundaries. These were the moments when we deeply understood how important it was for students to have these experiences, memories, and lessons to guide them as they continued their lifelong learning journey.