An explanation: Navigating Oaxaca (pronounced Wah-Hah-Kah), Mexico, is a cultural arts and history experience that requires a certain sense of exploration, discovery and adventure. For me, it is going without a roadmap down the back alleys of a small village to see what I will discover next: a master weaver, an exceptional woodcarver, an accomplished potter or expressive painter. I am open to the experience of creating relationship by appreciating artistic creativity, cultural history, shared values and vision, and the possibility for multicultural exchange. After four visits of several weeks each over the past two years, and an invitation from Federico Chavez and his family to live and build a casita in Teotitlan del Valle, I begin to call myself “cultural navigator.” This blog is a way for me to share my experiences with you with the hope that it will excite your interest to visit this extraordinary place and appreciate the rich artistic and cultural traditions of Mexican immigrants. There are great artisans who live on the back alleyways, don’t show up in the tourist guide books, and aren’t willing to pay hefty commissions to have tour guides and tour buses pulling up to their front door. I am motivated to support fair trade so that 100% of tourist dollars go directly to the families who actually create the art. In the next weeks, we will be preparing to return to Oaxaca through the winter holidays. There will be posadas and fireworks. The ancient fife player will lead the village band in a Sousa march. Farmers will herd cattle and sheep through the streets. The guacalotes will chortle and the donkey next door will bray at sunrise. We will hike to the reservoir along the river through the bamboo and cactus forest, beyond us Picacho rises above the 6,000 foot plateau with a promise of a new archeological discovery. We will eat handmade tamales con pollo y salsa Coloradito with fresh nopales, and the adventure will begin anew.
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Workshops, Retreats, Residencies. Oaxaca Cultural Navigator and Norma Schafer introduce you to the social, cultural, historical, archeological and creative world of Oaxaca, Mexico, through arts and cultural learning activities. No experience necessary! Our low-impact, small group workshops are in-depth and fun. Customized programs are our speciality!
We also work with colleges and universities to develop and deliver study abroad programs and volunteer clinical experiences for medical, nursing and PA students.
With over 35 years of experience creating award-winning programs at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, George Washington University, University of Virginia and Indiana University.
© Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, 2007-2015We give permission to reuse the content on this blog, including excerpts, photos and links only when full and clear credit is given to Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC along with a link to the original content. Thank you for being respectful of this request. --Norma Schafer