Awasi Iguazu is located in a stretch of jungle bordering the River Iguazu. On arrival at our lodge, you pass by several communities, home to the Guarani people who are native to this corner of the Atlantic Rainforest.
Culturally and linguistically connected, they speak a language called Mbya Guarani and maintain a strong connection with their ancient traditions, especially in their music and artisan crafts, such as carving and weaving.
The community of Yasy Porá just 5 minutes from Awasi Iguazu, is home to 49 families. One thing that sets them apart from other communities in the area is that they have a school in their settlement that is funded by the Argentine state, along with private donations.
As well as the director, there are four teachers, one of whom grew up in the very same community and is especially dedicated to teaching Guarani culture, language and heritage. The school is also attended by children from four neighbouring communities, bringing the total student count to 60.
The one thing that has been missing is an art teacher. Therefore the team at Awasi Iguazu has launched a creative workshop for the school children.
The aim of the course is for participants to develop their skills in artistic expression through a diverse range of techniques and materials that will help interpret their cultural and cosmological beliefs through art.
The first workshops took place in November and December 2018, when the Awasi Team organised and conducted 8 classes covering the following 4 themes:
- Guarani Cosmovision: Myths and legends (including the myth telling how the Iguazu Falls were created)
- Culture & Traditions: Ancestors, shamans, local ingredients and food
- Flora and Fauna: Animals, birds and medicinal plants
- The Land of no Evil – nature free from problems, where peace reigns and cultural richness is celebrated
The workshop was such a success and created a huge sense of excitement and pride in the students. Therefore we are planning more such workshops, including bringing local artists to the area to further inspire the students. This is part of the cultural integration and exchange that is an integral part of our ethos at Awasi.