Sixteen year-old, Ardenne High School student, Brayan Serrano Taylor, will be transported back to the time of Christopher Columbus’ ocean voyages, when he participates this summer in the Ruta Quetzal, courtesy of the Government of Spain.
The Ruta Quetzal is an adventure tour, named for Christopher Columbus’ voyages (Ruta) and the Mexican bird (quetzal) worshipped by the Aztecs and Mayas. The tour recreates the adventures of past times when groups went on journeys of discovery. This year, about 270 teenagers from about 40 countries will participate in the educational tour.
At a ceremony on June 11 at the Embassy of Spain in New Kingston, Brayan said he was very happy to participate, as he would get a chance to “learn about new cultures and meet new people.”
During the ceremony, he was presented with his travel documents and the equipment he will need on the trip.
The trip was originally slated to take him to Chile in July for three weeks, and end in Spain with a meeting of the Spanish monarchs. However, due to the worldwide outbreak of the H1N1 Virus, the itinerary has been changed. As a result, he will spend July 7 to 25 in Spain, then journey to Chile in December when, it is hoped, the outbreak would have been controlled.
Ambassador of Spain to Jamaica, Jesus Silva (left), presents Ardenne High School student, Brayan Serrano Taylor, with special gear for his participation this summer in the Ruta Quetzal, an adventure tour recreating 15th century explorations by Spaniards like Christopher Columbus. The trip, sponsored by the Spanish Government, will take Taylor to Chile and Spain. He was presented with his travel documents and equipment for the trip, during a ceremony at the Embassy of Spain in Kingston, on June 11.
Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, Jesus Silva, said the trip began in 1979 in anticipation of the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas. In addition, Ambassador Silva noted that it was seen as a way of “renewing the old ties between Spain and this part of the world.”
“The only (thing) that is expected is that they are knowledgeable in the command of Spanish Language, and that is why we do a selection process where the candidates have to write an essay about a topic related to the trip that they are going to undertake,” stated Ambassador Silva, as he explained how persons qualified for the trip.
Participants are expected to be fluent in Spanish, as the entire programme is conducted in that language.
Brayan’s mother, Veronica Taylor, informed that along with the help he received at school, his Spanish-speaking ability was also nurtured at home. Both his parents are Spanish speakers, as his father is from Cuba and his mother spent many years in that country.
The tour is extensively covered by the Spanish media and each day can be tracked on the official Ruta Quetzal website; www.rutaquetzal.com. Jamaica, the only English-speaking Caribbean country to participate in the tour, has been part of the adventure since 2003. Eight Jamaicans have so far represented the country on the tour.