Dearest Friends,

THANK YOU! Let's celebrate the joyous and successful completion of the first International English Minga! Your generous support has made this dream a reality!

Camping and working for nearly three weeks in the beautiful, remote community of Wachirpas - the "alive-center" of the Amazon Rainforest - a group of 12 grad students led by professors Susan R. Katz and Onllwyn C. Dixon from the University of San Francisco joined in collaboration with 17 Achuar teachers and three veterans of the Rainforest ESL program, Anna Hamilton, Lily Hollister, and Kyle Solomon.

All 34 are authors of Yamaram Chicham Unuimiattai, a revolutionary new approach to language learning in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Yamaram Chicham Unuimiattai translates directly as "methodology for teaching a new language." The resulting curriculum will be a compilation of lesson plans that were collaboratively designed and centered around 13 core themes. These were selected by the Achuar participants after telling stories and sharing about the most important threads in the lives of little Achuar boys and girls who are learning to be strong Achuar men and women:
    • Fishing
    • Hunting
    • Gardening
    • The Home
    • Music
    • Artisanry
    • Food
    • Drink
    • Family
    • Forest
    • Animals
    • Stories
    • Plants
And then we experienced what these themes mean to us. We birdwatched, hiked to get grubs and palm heart and fished with barbasco. We swam in waterfalls and we played with mini-blowguns made of papaya stems on the black sand beaches of the Pastaza River. We got dirty and bathed. We learned how to trap animals, make chambira palm-fiber rope and jaw harps. We cleared gardens, harvested their many exotic fruits and, of course, we made & drank lots of chicha together.

Our goal is to demonstrate that the tide is turning...

That on the frontier, where indigenous knowledge systems still thrive, there are alternate visions of how to be healthy and happy on Earth. 

We know that experiential curriculums can be built which are both place-based and globally-minded, and which will redefine the way future leaders are educated.

These ancient ways of knowing thrive in spite of being under the encroaching threat of a capitalism which is contagious & ill-defined, oil-addicted & life-threatening.

We know that true, sustainable progress is possible through mingas, where wide-scale collaboration gives way to global community work parties and common purpose.

In Wachirpas, for 17 days our every moment was wrapped up in teaching & learning, laughing & singing, pushing our limits, facing new maladies and then healing together. In finding friends & breaking out of our comfort zones, we all learned to share & communicate & care for one another in innovative new ways; across Achuar, Spanish and, of course, English. 

And we have so many of you to thank for it! The night before our final day at the minga Lily dreamt that we were all gathered together, the 34 participants, Wachirpas Community, and the global, IEM community who has supported us throughout the year leading up to this grand event. She dreamed that we were all eating, playing and conversing together... sharing our vision for a more just world, listening to each other and thinking critically about the future...

Your gifts to the International English Minga have made this dream come true. Thank you again!

Check out our photos and Like us on Facebook:
Click here to see some photos of the minga!
And click here to see some more!

Please become a part of the conversation and send us your questions and comments! We would love for you to join the minga!


Lily Hollister & Kyle Solomon