Who – an overview. The leader, the students, the teachers and supporters, drivers, guides, and the film & tech crew. There were also 2 people helping coordinate and plan, museum/archaeology coordinators, horse and lodging providers, and more. It’s all about relationships. I can’t write a biography on everyone, and my perception is from an intense 2-week (max) expedition – though, one may argue that those conditions bring out who people really are. In any case, I can’t do anyone justice here with a couple adjective-filled sentences each, so I’ll try to look macro-scale with an insight to their person, where they’re based, and a bit of what they do/did. No particular order (just grouped) I give you… the people:
(some last names omitted for safety reasons and the main pic credit goes to Daniel FD)
Researchers and project leaders:
Leader, humanitarian, archaeologist, philanthropist, teacher, father, husband… isn’t that how we almost always describe people? Yes, yes it is. Well, he’s a shining light that guided us, and many others, through internal and external hero’s journeys. Kind, daring, takes ownership, helpful, strict yet gracious, open to constructive criticism, and very caring. There’s a ton of adjectives we could assign to everyone, so I’ll digress and reprint his own intro:
“My name is Daniel Fernandez-Davila. I am a Peruvian archaeologist, a teacher in Massachusetts and for many years an explorer in one of the most remote areas of Peru, the north high jungle of the Chachapoyas. I have seen amazing cliffs with pristine mummy bundles that no one has touched, pre-Inca towers atop forgotten peaks and spectacular carvings and paintings no one else knew existed. I truly struggle as an archaeologist every time that a local peasant tells me: ” Daniel, stay longer, there is another huge tower there, and another mausoleum over there and that cave has paintings over there. Are you going to come?” I try to reply kindly: I will, I promise, I’ll try to go next year. (I’ve been coming already for 21 years).
However, I only can take a photo and move on thinking: “How could I possibly save all these treasures for my own country and for the next generations to come?””
What a spirit! She started Loose Change AND an organization for prison inmate reform – using principles and techniques that ring near and dear to everyone’s deep down psyche. She is really inspiring, has an incredible heart, has a sharp wit – with that English accent to boot – and has a genuine ability to speak and connect with people. She’s an absolute joy to know and be acquainted with. Antonia thinks deeply and cares immensely for people. She runs marathons, spends time with her family, and works on her humanitarian endeavors.
What a beaut in and out!! This young woman really shines a light on this world with her heart, knowledge, smile, and skill. She studies at Johns Hopkins – is looking to enter med school – also, won a grant from the Austen-Stokes Ancient Americas Foundation for this trip and research, competes in triathlons, and has even given a TEDx talk. Overcoming personal difficulties, she inspires many to find purpose and do BIG things. Side-note, she almost killed me on the 2nd backpacking day by getting me to run with her for over an hour behind the horses lol. She does, and will continue to, change the world for the better and we’re all grateful for it.
Ray “Milton” Castrillon
An awesome soul with great energy and passion. Milton was in charge of the field and trucks coordination for this expedition (and others). He also teaches martial arts and drives for a living in Lima. While making sure everyone is always safe, or intensely focusing on the road while carting us through insane traffic or huge cliffs, he was always able to crack jokes and laugh. FIERCE
Humble, kind, and accommodating, Frank drove us around from day one. He did not partake in the backpacking but had the responsibility of steering the trucks through some harrowing Lima traffic and dangerous cliffs through the Maranon Canyon. He drives for a living in the city of Chiclayo and has been working with Daniel on expeditions for several years.
(couldn’t find a picture)
Juan also drove us around and is Frank’s dad. He was really quiet and considerate. Hardworking and focused, he was responsible for taking us the last couple days to scan the artifacts. I didn’t get to know him well, but I hear he is one of the best drivers in the business.
The most impressive people I’ve ever met. These men gave their everything for this trip – hiking/running the entire time to clear jungle path with machetes, make sure we were on the correct route, spot dangerous areas and animals (security as a whole), graciously caring for our every want, and more. To top it off, once we’d arrive at a campsite, they’d then unpack and care for the horses then cook food for everyone and sleep on the ground. They’re humble, hard, tough, and caring men – if I remember correctly, more than half of them were Ronderos too. Hailing from deep in the Andes, these “Pumas of the Andes” were incredibly in touch with their environment and people – true inspirations.
Saul, Lorwin, and Sinecio were mainly with us backpackers. Whereas, Ciro, Einstein, and Lenis were mainly with the pack horses.
One of the men from deep in the Andes acting as our guide, he’s a tough…really tough dude. I didn’t get to spend much time with him as he mainly stayed with the pack horses, however, one night, over “ron”, coca leaves, and tobacco the guides and some of us got to speak deeply about politics and philosophy – clearly with some great laughs in there as we only had one translator. From that convo, it was clear that he was super smart in those fields, passionate about his family, friends, and country and worked his ass off for all of those. He is a Rondero – Andean militiaman who keeps disturbances to a minimum as the Peruvian government doesn’t go into the hills that much – trained in the military, and teacher/recruiter, who helped beat the Peruvian terrorists Shining Path. Strong as an ox, he’s got some awesome stories, and I can’t have more respect for him.
Incredibly attentive, intuitive, caring, and fit – Sinecio is the leader of the guides and recruits them for expeditions. We met at his house several times for meetings before and after to get in sync, and his family is very hospital. Every time I walked by while he was cooking or moving equipment, he’d say my name and check to see if I wanted ANYTHING. It blows me away how fit he is – walking/running around in the difficult terrain of the high-Andes. He was pretty quiet outside of making sure everyone was well taken care of, but was the main cook for every meal, led most treks from the front, and made the main calls about trails and horse-riding.
This man was awesome – running half the time in massive elevation, saving people from falling off mountains and into sinkholes, and pulling others off horses with one hand. Fit? Hell yeah! In tune with his homeland? Hell yeah! Constantly pulling leaves and other items to smell, taste, and see more closely, he was wildly in touch with his surroundings – always taking time to appreciate it and learn. I saw him spot trout in a river from 10 yards, birds in the sky I need binoculars for, and carry trees on his shoulders for firewood. Running his family’s coffee farm he is constantly trekking the hillsides. He’s very intelligent, caring of his friends/family/nature, and humble (a strong attribute shown by the guides). In the closing meeting, he brought me to tears by saying to the group, “We don’t have anything you all can’t buy in the States, but we have ourselves.” And he gave all of himself for us and the mission.
A quiet, humble man, Saul worked extremely hard for us. Wielding a machete and clearing many paths, he’s an astute Andes-man. If I remember correctly, he came from the most remote village in the Andes of all the guides and partook on this expedition because his village had been helped, and he believed in the cause. I didn’t get to speak with him much, but he was a joy to be around and his assistance and kindliness were greatly appreciated.
Ciro was the new guy on the guide-crew and worked just as hard, if not harder to “be the new guy”. Another amazing specimen of a human with a tender heart and a fierce spirit. He always wore a safety vest when going through the jungle and helped cook every meal, care for the horses, and assist with everything.
What a character! He’s proud of his hard and praised profession as a miner and almost always hiked with a mining helmet on (as seen in the 2nd pic above). Also, he wore a piece of a tarp whenever it rained – and it rained a lot sometimes. Think JUNGLE. He is the epitome of ‘do the best with what you have’. Another proven guide, he was privy to all things Andes and is a huge inspiration. We can take a lot from his attitude and workmanship.
The Commies (it’s an inside joke):
Some of the hardest working, smart, creative, and funny people I’ve ever met – they were it all. They attribute much of their mindset, work ethic, and creativity to their harsh raising. This Transylvanian trio grew up in communist Hungary and emigrated to the USA around college-age. The 4 of us may have been considered the ‘bad kids’ – all in good fun though. Follow their endeavors for awesome adventures, creative and enlightened work, and culture-changing efforts.
Has a heart of gold and an adventurous mind. Incredibly talented in photography and videography, he’s working on creating a full-length documentary movie, “My Teacher” (to come out in 2020), about… well, I’ll let him tell you here. He started this more than 8 years ago and concluded filming with this trip (here’s a promo). He’s also done amazing things in Cuba and around the world – traveling with his wife (below). Most of the time cracking jokes and being the life of the party, he also hiked and ran, likely, more than anyone other than the guides. A true work-horse for his passion.
Emoke “Emi” Ciorogan
Emi had a fighting spirit and overcame a serious stomach bug; starting on the first day of backpacking. She persevered and came out the other side to help others through their struggles. A compassionate, graceful, and patient woman who enjoys adventures and new things. Being classically trained in piano she played in seriously high-level ballets and more – changing careers she now works with the largest organization working to save the ocean as a web designer. Talk about dynamic! On top of that, she is Nico’s right-hand woman with all things film, and took amazing photos.
Holy moley. A force to be reckoned with. A constant student, he’s now back in school studying urban design at the premier, Columbia, and being invited to seminars at Harvard and such – wanting to change the world in a better way through design. I won’t speak for him too much. He was an ox on the mountains, took amazing photos and videos, supported everyone and cracked jokes doing it. We were able to spend extra time together and I see him as a brother. Over heavy drinks, after a crazy 2 weeks, we talked philosophy, tactics, and ideology and it’s very apparent that, though he likes to play it off, this man has deep deep thoughts masked by tasks. Look for him to be emerging with awesome projects rooted in a heartfelt want to improve human life.
Wabe “Orlando” Yurek
Another deep and creative thinker, Wabe was a real joy to be around and converse with. Caring deeply about kids and their learning processes, he is always looking for innovative ways to positively influence growing minds. On the trip, he was able to make everyone join him with his contagious laugh and wit. He is an avid bird watcher, brought his binos and captivated everyone with his enthusiasm and knowledge whenever he saw some rare feathered beings. Also, his curiosity of food was almost hilarious as he tried everything, then tried it again with whatever spicy was around – always looking to sample something new. He’s a strong adventurer, great connector and thinker, and will be making serious waves in the teaching community.
Is a gracious, welcoming, and hospitable being with a heart that sparkles. She welcomed me into her house to have a dinner of homemade Indian food with her awesome family on the first night (of my trip for the expedition), and was incredibly helpful and giving throughout the whole trip. Some of her children attended expeditions with Daniel before (in fact one was on his way back as we were arriving in Peru) and got to experience what the experience was like. A huge supporter of the Boston area scholastic and philanthropic scenes.
One of the sweetest people I’ve met, Sue teaches in the Boston area; and let me tell you, those kids are in amazing hands. She loves, and cares for, the shaping minds of youth and works diligently and thoughtfully to craft unique ways of opening their eyes and providing valuable experiences. She was innovative at taking on this expedition and found ways to optimize and grow, and that determination was awesome to witness.
Tuff – yes, spelled that way. Super-fit, ice hockey playing, grade school teaching, mountain climbing, mother of kids, wonder of a woman. She constantly pushes herself, and it’s inspiring. As a teacher in the Boston area, kids she reaches are better for it. During the trip, she had an uncanny ability to take whoever’s mind she was engaging off the “left foot right foot” mantra and engage them in relatable storytelling – which was a great relief much of the time. A great travel buddy and knowledgeable in a whole lot of areas, Elizabeth will continue to do awesome stuff.
The youngest on the trip, he traveled with his dad, Hein, and Antonia – Nate is super smart and quick-witted. Way beyond his years in some areas of deep thought. He also led the pack a lot of times on the way back; showing some strong will and physical ability. He’s got a bright future and we’re excited to see where he takes it.
He works in the quality area for a biomed company in the Boston area and has multiple patents in the field. Again, another super-smart traveler on the trip, found his own adventures, and in his own way made the best of circumstances. He fell ill on the way to the trail-head and had to stay behind, so we didn’t get to connect as much as the others – I’ll digress and let things play out.
You can read all about me in the rest of this blog 😊 but here’s a pic of me thinking about a beautifully cooked morsel of Kobe beef and dry socks.
Sharon Sabagh & Carmen Maria
(couldn’t find a picture)
Both coordinated hotels, flights, insurance, and supported the trips for almost everyone.
Dante owned the villa we stayed at in Las Aldas – where the artifacts were held/maintained. He’s very accommodating and took great care of us with delicious foods. Also, the villa is amazing, Daniel was married there, and if you head north in Peru, I highly recommend it.
Quiet, interested, ponderer, and seeker – Luis maintains the artifacts and assisted us with scanning the objects. He was really helpful, found all sorts of interesting objects, and takes great care of these important items. It was a real joy working with him.
From the Exactees:
“Exact Metrology is an ISO 9001:2015 and AS 9100 Rev D certified company that offers contract measurement & scanning services, metrology equipment solutions, and hardware & software rentals. Our goal is to provide our customers with a specifically tailored solution to their measuring needs. To accomplish this we offer more options, more products and more experience.
We carry only the best products that each of the best companies has to offer. Our product offerings include: 3D scanners, laser scanners, CMMs, PCMMs, 3D body scanners, CT scanners, white light scanners, blue light scanners, long-range scanners, short-range scanners, [and reverse engineering and inspection software].”
“Artec 3D is a global leader in handheld and portable 3D scanners and has been at the forefront of developing innovative 3D technology since 2007.
We pride ourselves on manufacturing high quality, yet easy to use portable 3D scanners, smart, user-friendly 3D software and an SDK that provides the best integration possibilities, whatever the application. With a worldwide presence and a large number of global clients, we supply state of the art 3D technology to these respective areas: industrial design & manufacturing, healthcare, science & education, [and] art & design.”
“Born from a spark of inspiration in 1983, 3D Systems has run on innovation for over 30 years. Co-founded by the inventor of 3D printing, Charles (“Chuck”) Hull, 3D Systems has grown into a global 3D solutions company focused on connecting our customers with the expertise and digital manufacturing workflow required to solve their business, design or engineering problems.
From digitization, design and simulation through manufacturing, inspection and management, our comprehensive portfolio of technologies provides a seamless, customizable workflow designed to optimize products and processes while accelerating outcomes. With advanced hardware, software and materials as well as on demand manufacturing services and a global team of experts, we are on a mission to transform businesses through manufacturing innovation.”
How this expedition took place (coming soon)
What/When this expedition was (coming soon)
Learnings/What’s next from this expedition (coming soon)