Love and the pursuit of happiness
Holly Wissler, Dante and his grandfather
Holly Wissler left Indiana and has spent 30 years off and on in Peru. She is no slacker.
Holly started as an adventure guide and went back to school just a few years ago to pursue 2 PhD's in ethnomusicology. This is the study of culture and music. She was funded by a Fulbright scholarship. She has released 2 documentaries, is a National Geographic guide and recently joined a Peruvian delegation to the Smithsonian for its exhibition on Peruvian culture and history.
Holly found a remote Peruvian culture that was in danger of losing their story and history in the modern world. She studied it, learned the language and became a part of it. It was by fate she took one of the people from the tribe to Cusco and they happened on a film. As they watched it, the elder was transfixed at seeing his own father and grandfather on film. He called them "Ghosts Walking" and asked her to capture their story on video for future generations which is the subject of one of her documentaries.
Shortly after, Dante's mother died a week after childbirth. She knew Dante's dad as he was an accomplished musician in the community. Men in Peru cannot raise children so Dante was whisked away from him a week after his wife died. It was a double loss. Holly knew the mother as well.
Dante's fate worsened. He failed to thrive and was under stimulated for the first 7 years of his life. He did not walk until he was 7 and learned to sign a couple years later. He was on a life journey set with barriers of limited growth and development.
The love story begins.
Holly asked Dante's father and grandfather if she could adopt him. She wanted to help him transition from the ancient culture to the modern world as he was completely deaf. No one could communicate with him, advocate for him or love him the way he needed to thrive. Holly stated she never really had the mother calling but the two of them just clicked. Imagine the courage it took for her, the father and grandfather to change their lives so that Dante may thrive.
Holly will be taking Dante to Texas in January for a 3 month assessment. If all goes well, the new family will move to Austin and start the American chapter of Dante's life story as he learns American Sign Language. gets an education and pursues his own version of the American dream with Holly.
Love can change the world and the lives of one and many.
Holly Wissler is a living example of the famous Gandhi quote " Be the Change You Wish to Be In This World." and a perfect No Barriers Ambassador.
I am honored to know, meet and work with her. She has set up and organized all 3 of our deaf student exchanges across Peru.
My new guide Dante. He can't speak and I do not sign. He knows I cannot see and guides me everywhere!
Dante's grandfather blessed all the trees and rose bushes we planted at the St. Francis of Assisi school farm just outside of Cusco.
The nuns at St. Francis of Assisi school in Cusco lead the U.S. and Peruvian deaf students in the service project. The farm produces all the food for the deaf children who live and board at the school. Most children are from remote areas of Peru located far away from the city. We spent the day planting.