Perry Suden, of Cornville, Arizona, is an elementary teacher and a longtime friend of Heart Walk Foundation. He brings the natural world into the classroom, inspiring children with a holistic education. This includes the Native American students of Peach Springs, Arizona.

Perry knows no language barrier and connects with people through the portals of his huge heart. He has joined HWF on four service expeditions into the remote Q’ero villages. A medical crisis kept him home in 2008, but he recovered to return to Q’ero lands with us in 2009.

Perry wrote about his 2009 visit to the Q’ero villages in an essay he entitled, Dancing with Francisco:

His stone hut deviated from the others. Francisco’s had a dividing wall separating the room in two, with a small window that allows an open view from one side to the other. The smaller section was used for cooking, conversation, and eating, and the larger room for storage and sleeping. Like the other dwellings, it was built of rock walls with small doorways and a dried grass thatched roof. There was mostly straw on the floor, old hand-woven woolen blankets, and two or three one-seat wooden benches about six inches off the floor.

Francisco and his family live in a small hamlet at slightly over 15,000 feet with fifteen other families scattered in a valley in the majestic Andes Mountains where sacred appreciation is as common as the melting glacier water they drink. I have known Francisco several years. Our languages are different. Both our faces have many lines. His from the bright sun of the Andes Mountains, and mine from the Arizona side of the equator. Through these lines our eyes met, he being on the cooking side of the wall and me on the sleeping side. For an instant in time, we mirrored each other…we saw ourselves as the other, a brief transcendence. We began to move, we began to smile…we began to dance.

Perry lives the vision of Heart Walk Foundation that native communities can serve as living models from which we can learn wholeness, balance, and harmony. He donates annually to HWF to support projects in the villages. He also helps to raise money for us through the sale of instruments, textiles, and other hand-crafted products made by the people we serve. This allows the Q’ero villagers a global market for their wares without having to leave their ancestral homelands to support their families.