Vera is an applied linguist, teacher, advocate, and social entrepreneur. In 2016, Vera founded Cosa Buena in Oaxaca, Mexico. Through Cosa Buena, Vera provides socio-economic support and educational opportunities in local artisan communities in Oaxaca. Vera is an accomplished academic with extensive experience in community-based education. Her research is focused on critical pedagogy, and empowering marginalized communities through language, literacy, and learner-centered pedagogies. For her master’s thesis she designed a narrative-based curriculum in collaboration with female Indigenous artisan cooperatives in Oaxaca. This work has expanded into an oral histories project that is working to develop bilingual written resources to help these communities share the history and profundity of their craft and culture with outsiders. Vera has been invited to present her work at several local and international academic conferences. Vera’s love of language and culture has taken her to over 40 countries, and helped her to acquire Spanish as a second language. She has lived abroad in New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina, and currently splits her time between San Francisco, California and Oaxaca, Mexico.
Amber Lee's lineage is rooted in the Andes, the Hawaiian Islands. Years of study and experience in the Healing Arts has resulted in her comprehensive practice known as Plant As Compass. Cultivated at the renown Esalen Institute of Big Sur, California, Amber carries forward this potent lineage of healing in the world with humility and reverence. She may be found nurturing and gathering in the Ojai Valley where she resides, as she so devotes her life's path to the wellbeing of others and our Mother Earth. In her words, "Return to Nature. Return to Self."
Being raised in the Etla Valley of Oaxaca, has inspired Kiana to be a bridge between cultures. With English, Swedish and Southern Mexican heritage, it has been easy for her to live in many worlds. Kiana decided to self-direct her higher education through youth empowerment and preschool facilitation while also participating in the International Youth Initiative Program (2018) in Sweden and Brazil. She has done four Art of Hosting trainings in order to guide learning journeys in holistic ways, attending nature, health, creative expression and emotions. This has inspired her to study and train on The Work that Reconnects to learn about healing the earth through food and herbalism. Kiana loves to share her local knowledge of Oaxaca’s culture, languages, plants, and rich traditions.