It was Diane Glynn, Executive Director of Unity North Atlanta who first connected Travel to do Good and the Global Mandala during the 2018 Unity North Atlanta’s Travel to do Good Trip to Peru. This beautiful universal artistic expression of peace and hope for a better future is now a Travel to do Good project partner for upcoming trips for McKendree University service learning trip to Belize as well as other destinations including South Africa, Jamaica and Ghana.
Sonia Osio, founder of the Global Mandala, is committed to taking this message of peace and hope for humanity to as many people around the world as she can. We are super excited to support the Global Mandala in action. We are also very grateful to Connie Thomas for sharing her experience last year with the Global Mandala in in Peru.
The Global Mandala Reaches Peru
A Traveler’s Story by Member, Connie Thomas
In October 2018, Unity North of Atlanta recently had the opportunity to travel to Peru, with the intention of experiencing and embracing a new culture and sharing our blessings with others. With the mandala as our guide, we set out on a journey that took us out into the world and deeper into our own hearts.
Unity North’s own Sonia Osio is the creator of the Global Mandala Project. Sonia collected mandala circles from countries all over the world and made them into an immersive installation at Unity that was revealed on September 13, 2017, the World Day of Prayer. “With open hearts, groups of 8 to 22 children and adults used their artistic expression to write and illustrate their own Hope for Humanity. Many languages, cultures, and beliefs were represented in the Global Mandala,” explains Sonia. You can see all the details and photographs at her website, www.globalmandala.org
In 2018, a group from Unity planned a trip to Peru through the travel change agency and service-oriented program, Travel to Do Good. Our group’s leader, Diane Glynn, mentioned it to Sonia, who suggested that we take her mandala circles to Peru… and the most rewarding, beautiful, peaceful journey of a lifetime began for the members.
After several days of visiting glorious places, the group went to the Uros Islands on Lake Titikaka. The indigenous people came to live there as refuge, when fleeing the invading Incas. For thousands of years, they were totally isolated and lived on islands they constructed from reeds. Our Travel to Do Good intention was to visit the school there and bring gifts, and more importantly to embrace their culture and lifestyle. As we arrived, the children were the first to embrace, greeting the travelers with hugs and songs and inviting us into their school. The sharing that began was immediately mutual.
The entire school is one room, with tables set up in a U-shape, with the teacher’s desk at the front. The children sat around the tables in their chairs and then the visitors came and stood behind them. As we gave out the circles from Sonia, Diane (the leader of the group) and Roslyn (our travel agent assistant) explained the Global Mandala to them, interpreted through our Peruvian-born member Vilma. All in the room were completely enthralled by the moments that followed, each one amazed at the other’s presence. The children embellished their circles with pictures, colors, and abstractions as they expressed their individual visions of peace. Sharing ideas and feelings, we were all one, the spirit of the mandala.
We brought fruits as a gift from the local store, and each child received one banana, one apple, and one orange. They were thrilled for this big, very rare treat. We also came bearing school supplies and presented the children with three large bags of crayons, coloring books, pencils, and all kinds of paper. Lori Light, a member of our traveling group, and author of the children’s books, Stress-Free Kids, also presented the school with a complete set of her books.
The Global Mandala is radiating around the world. Sonia’s vision and hope for humanity is felt in every heart from Atlanta, Georgia, USA to Uros Island, Lake Titikaka, Peru, and now travel to do good destinations around the world. It is an amazing initiative and we were excited to be a part of it.