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Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007


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It’s More Complicated Than It Looks

International Development/Philanthropy - A compilation of first-hand experiences

Over the years, missionaries, aid workers, charity groups and individuals have gone to Africa in hopes of making life better for African people. Some of these efforts have truly improved conditions. However, it’s argued that many of these efforts have unfortunately caused harm to the very people they were intended to assist.

For many of us who are inspired to “make a difference,” figuring out what we can do that will help rather than hurt, can be a real challenge. There are no perfect answers. If there were, conditions would be quite different in the world today!

One of the most important things we can do is to first realize that, it’s more complicated than it looks! This isn’t intended to diminish one’s enthusiasm. It’s actually to help us grow our enthusiasm as we figure out how to best use our resources to help those less fortunate than us.

Development theories abound. Some experts believe that it’s just a matter of investing more money in order to see conditions improve. Others believe that aid dollars have just been a waste, causing dependency and lack of initiative. Others believe that aid is necessary but is only beneficial if led by the recipients themselves and that projects and conditions not be dictated by the donors.

One thing is clear. The longer one stays in a place, one’s perspective can change greatly as one sees the longer term impact of investments made. Putting in a water pump in a village can look like a tremendous success to a donor who has sent funds to a local NGO to oversee the project. The donor flies in for the ceremony- hearing speeches, seeing the women dance in celebration, seeing clean water emerge in a convenient location, knowing that there will be healthier children and that the women can save hours by having this pump so close to their homes. What could be wrong with this scenario?

Unfortunately, a great deal.

For example, when not done correctly, we’ve seen some of these pumps stop working, and the water stop flowing in as few as six months!

Having a long-term perspective can make a big difference to the success of a project.

To increase one’s chance of truly helping to improve conditions, one must first gain a better a understanding of development and it’s complexities, to learn from those who have significant experience living and working in the field and most importantly, to learn from those you are trying to assist.

We’ve gathered stories from people who have worked in development in various countries and the lessons that they have learned from their experiences in trying to make a difference. As you work with your local partners to empower and improve conditions, we hope that you’ll find these “lessons learned” to be helpful.

Daniela Papi, www.pepytours.com

In the rural Cambodian district where we work at PEPY, most people were drinking directly from the local pumps. We had the water tested and found high levels of bacteria so we identified what we believe to be the best and most affordable filter and decided to try to get these used in the community. We saw that there was a man in a town 10km away who had begun selling these in his shop and we were able to purchase them and have them delivered to our target area to be sold for the same price at $11.50.

We invited someone from the organization where the filters are made to come explain how they work, how they are made, and how best to take care of them. The teachers were given charts with this information and were taught how to then present this information to anyone who was purchasing a filter.

The filter program worked well and the teachers were able to get over 150 water filters into local homes. The price for the filter is not insignificant, but the community had seen the results of having clean water as we had been using the filters in the local schools and had drastically increased attendance at school as absences due to sickness went down. We were excited about the benefits these new filters would have on the overall community health.

Then a foreign funded group came though, looking to “help the poor people” of the area. They began selling the same filters at $3 each, far below what they had paid for them. In one day, without knowing it, they actually greatly HARMED the potential for health increases in the area.

They thought they were “doing good” by giving things away, or subsidizing them, but instead, without knowing much about the area, they:

• damaged the market potential for both our teacher’s filter sales program and the nearby shop owner

• built mistrust as the community now thought the filters really should have been much cheaper or that they should hold off on buying them as someone might come give them one

• did not do the training/education necessary to actually help people understand how/why they work - so people are not taking care of them, thereby undermining the power of the very filters they distributed

• created a situation where the richer (all relative of course) people no longer want that product. It is now viewed as “cheap” - subsidized to the poor people, so it must not be good, in their minds. Those who can afford it have now been saving up for the nearly $20 filters being marketed by Korean groups which are much more high tech looking but actually do not remove bacteria from the water, but with a higher price tag, no education coming with the product, and community trust damaged, some are using their very limited budgets to buy a product which is often essentially one month’s worth of income and not effective.

In this case, “giving things away” took away the very thing they were trying to provide: a chance to have clean water.

Priscilla Macy www.globalsojourns.com

This first story comes from my experience of living in Cuamba, Mozambique for 3 years. At that time, Mozambique was the poorest country in the world and we lived in the “forgotten province” where people were just trying to survive on subsistence farming. I was conducting cultural anthropological studies on women’s lives. This is a very simple story and yet it spoke volumes to me regarding assumptions that I had made.

I was interviewing a woman outside her one room mud home and we were chatting about her crops. She said that she had a good harvest. I responded saying, “That’s wonderful. You must be very happy!” Instead of getting any sign of joy from her, she looked quite stressed as she said, “No! The neighbor’s crop did not do well this year. They are going to be jealous of me and this will cause trouble. Maybe they will even have a spell put

on me.”

This next story comes from a visit I made to an orphanage just north of Johannesburg in South Africa:

I was visiting with the manager of an orphanage when a visitor (travel agent from New Zealand) full of enthusiasm, ran up to say good-by. This visitor had come with a friend to see if this would be a good place to send some of their clients during their travels to do some short-term volunteer work. The gal and her friend had spent the day at the orphanage, working hard with the younger children- helping to bathe and feed them. That same day, there were two flight attendants from an airline that provides funding to the orphanage. When flight attendants from the airline have a free day in Johannesburg, they often drive up to spend a day or afternoon playing with the kids. The two flight attendants had been outside playing with the older kids and it looked like everyone was having a grand time.

In her good-bye to the manager, the agent from New Zealand said that she was already “recruiting” for the orphanage and had gotten an enthusiastic response from the flight attendants that they would definitely come back to play with the kids.

After she left, I could tell that the manager was quite uncomfortable. I asked her what was wrong and after awhile, she opened up. “It’s not good for the children to have these people coming and going. They get confused and wonder why these people don’t come back. What’s most important is that the children develop strong, consistent bonds with the caretakers who work here. We are happy to have volunteers come to help us with the building projects such as repairing the fence but we don’t feel it is good for the children to have all these people coming and going.”

I’ve heard this type of comment from a number of people running/working at orphanages. Long-term volunteers are generally quite welcome and when there are babies, having short-term visitors come to hold them can be positive. But more often than not, the feeling is that having multiple visitors can be disruptive and have a negative impact on the children. Just one of those examples of how things can look one way on the surface and be quite different when you get to understand the situation better.

McOwiti O. Thomas Native Kenyan

During the mid to late 1990s, some well meaning organizations started distributing insecticide treated mosquito nets as part of a project to study the efficacy of the treatment. The nets were issued to randomly selected, mostly poor families in several districts, including the area around my home. My family was among the lucky ones, and on one visit home I found one of the nets hanging over my bed. Considering that I only visited home once or twice a year and I could afford to buy one for myself I asked if I could give it to someone else who needed it more-- My father insisted absolutely not.

My father explained that they were under strict instructions not to remove the nets at whatever cost, even if nobody was using them. I later learned that the researchers didn’t think the locals would understand what they were doing (i.e., the true purpose of the nets)--in other words, they feared that some people would sell their nets thereby exposing themselves and their children to malaria and defeating the purpose of the study, so the only remedy was to tell everyone that the nets were meant to stay put until they were told otherwise. The researchers also were afraid that they would bias the study if they revealed its true intent, so they left people in the dark.

The end result was the complete opposite of what they had intended: In the absence of reliable information, it wasn’t long before rumors started flying around that the nets were cursed and would kill whoever slept under them (apparently, some child had died after having slept under one). Some people swore that the nets caused them to feel as if they were suffocating whenever they slept under them.

It turned out that some of the people who had missed out on the nets started the rumors, not with the intention of sabotaging the study (which they didn’t know about), but out of jealousy. They simply wanted to scare their relatives and friends into getting rid of the nets so that everybody was equal. I don’t know what results the study eventually reported, but they couldn’t have been pretty or very reliable/accurate [my feeling]. So, although the researchers meant well, their lack of understanding the local culture (i.e., we should all strive to be equal) probably doomed their study.

But that was not all: after the study ran its course, those who had the nets sold them off to others, often at a fraction of their true cost. By now the more enlightened folks (who had access to news sources and reliable information) had learned the true purpose and benefit of the nets. But their poorer brethren, who had been kept in the dark and who fell for the rumors, were only too glad to get rid of them at what they thought was a neat “profit” because they hadn’t paid for them in the first place, rather than burn them as some were doing. The whole purpose of the study and the potential benefit of the project was lost even further.

So, the researcher made two critical mistakes that doomed their study/project:

1) they did not trust the people to understand their objectives and failed to come clean about the true nature and purpose of their study, and 2) they did not take into account the local culture.

Peter Macy International Water Engineer

Time Concepts

In preparing for one project, I was to go to villages that had the potential of being selected to receive funding for a new school. So, for one potential village, I drove out at the appointed time, 10 AM and arrived to find no villagers to talk to. I waited 15 minutes, 30 minutes and then 1 hr before leaving – having seen no one the entire time I was there. This was curious as I knew they wanted a school and were quite energetic. Why didn’t anyone show up? This was repeated a second time on a separate day to the same village. When I came back from my 2nd frustrating visit I asked a local school teacher why this was happening. He smiled, stuck his arm out and swept it from the horizontal position until it was pointed at the sun. He said, the villagers had a different concept of time and 10 AM meant little to most of them. They thought I meant “meet at approximately this time, approximately when the sun was at such a location in the sky”. So I went the 3rd time, with only an approximate morning time frame (I think I actually came late) and found the villagers and village elders ready to talk about their new school. Lesson learned – different cultures have vastly different attitudes about time.

Operations and Maintenance

In the early days of my career in development I would talk to my local partners about operations and maintenance. In my mind, I was thinking about oiling parts, replacing worn washers, exercising valves, checking on the condition of moving parts, etc. During these discussions, my partners would nod their head in agreement and say, in essence, ‘yes, we understand O&M, we do it all the time, and will continue to do it’. But, time and time again, maintenance was never done. I’m sure I wasn’t being lied to, so what was going on? Apparently, every time the word “maintenance” left my mouth, the word “repair” (because something completely broke) entered their ears! Yes, the concept of maintenance, when nothing had completely broken, was a completely foreign concept. And, my partners would be thinking ‘why invest any time and money doing something [maintenance] when nothing had broken yet?’ They preferred, and had a history of only working on systems after they had completely failed. To assist them with understanding the need for maintenance was a significant and recurring effort.

www.globalsojourns.com

Does Foreign Aid Do More Harm Than Good?
Posted By eric-lewis On October 31, 2009 @ 8:12 am In From the Editor | 14 Comments

Some say yes, calling foreign aid a form of neo-colonialism that does not alleviate poverty, but in fact perpetuates it.


I had a particularly privileged friend during high school—let’s call him Joe. On Joe’s sixteenth birthday, his father bought him a brand new Audi, a truly sweet piece of machinery. After several months of joyrides and speeding tickets, the engine block locked up, and the Audi was finished. Joe had never changed (or even checked) the oil. His father was furious and refused to foot the steep bill of repair.


What did Joe do? He got motivated. He mowed lawns and cleaned gutters every weekend until he could afford a twelve-year-old jalopy. And he cared for that clunker with the proud dedication of a doting mechanic. Was Joe’s sudden maturity unusual, or was it a natural result of his newfound self-reliance?


The bigger questions for our purposes are:
1. Does the weight of liability change human behavior?
2. If so, how should this inform the first world’s approach to extreme poverty in the third world?


In the realm of sustainable development and foreign aid (that is, not emergency-relief aid), there are no easy answers. The ongoing debate comprises a plethora of polemics, but I discern three main viewpoints among them:


1. Big money, top-down “planners”

The proposition: Extreme poverty is a big, multi-level problem that requires big, multi-level solutions. We need large-scale plans—ambitious, multi-billion dollar initiatives by resource-rich outfits such as UNICEF and USAID.
Top-down planners advocate a comprehensive strategy due to the interdependency of factors inherent to poverty. That is, economic invulnerability depends on diversity of employment options, which depends on access to quality education, which depends on reliable infrastructure and students’ health, so we must build roads and hospitals and distribute mosquito nets. . . and on and on. Everything relies on everything else.


The opposition: Ineffective penetration, lack of accountability. Big aid money goes to governments rather than the people, as money gets siphoned off at all levels. This approach enables corruption and encourages irresponsible governance.
Grandiose schemes are poorly implemented due to insufficient understanding of ground conditions. In short, there is too much distance between planners and intended beneficiaries.


Also, such aid smacks of neo-colonialism. Gift money brands recipients as junior partners in the exchange, and thus paternalistically prohibits self-reliance by perpetuating need.


The tone here is negative: “We pity you, so here’s some help. But we won’t invest and trade with you on equal terms, because you’re beneath us.”


2. Small money, bottom-up “searchers”
The proposition: Lasting gains are intrinsically incremental. Establishing improvements that actually benefit the poor requires ground knowledge. Aid workers must go to the bottom rung, learn the environment, and search for ways to improve conditions within quantifiable parameters.
Unlike top-down aid, bottom-up aid focuses on building capacity within target communities to become active participants in the determination and execution of development projects. This approach aims to level the exchange, so beneficiaries are gradually empowered to take up their own cause. Weaning is essential, hence these NGOs have an exit strategy.


The opposition: The process is slow, but hunger and disease don’t wait. And as with top-down aid, the onus of responsibility is lifted from local government. Government officials can sequester resources while remaining nominally responsible for the progress made by NGOs within their jurisdictions.


Though subtler, bottom-up aid is still paternalistic. It feigns home-grown development, but foreign influence is undeniable, especially in cases where community “input” amounts to locals saying yes to whatever is proposed by those holding the checkbook.


3. The “bootstraps” faction
The proposition: Foreign development aid is a self-perpetuating, growing institution and has actually harmed the third world. Aid fosters dependency, encourages corruption, and in turn exacerbates poverty. Top-down aid fails to create jobs or other lasting improvements, and likewise most bottom-up aid functions on the condescending presumption that target communities cannot participate unassisted in the open market.


This position calls for a sea change in the mindset of aid recipients, who have been conditioned to believe that foreign aid is the solution to their plight. They have been systematically incentivized against their own initiative.


Big money, top-down aid is more culpable for increased disenfranchisement in the developing world than the bottom-up variety, because its magnitude of misguided funds has more solidly entrenched corrupt leaders.


“A largely libertarian approach may have worked for North America and western Europe, but these same countries arguably caused many of the developing world’s problems through imperialism.”


Bottom-up aid in which “searchers” prepare locals for full participation in the free market is non-ideal, but not necessarily harmful. The answer lies in pro-market measures: microfinance, foreign direct investment, trade, floating bonds—systems that encourage innovation and foster self-reliance.


The opposition: There is no definitive, causal link between foreign aid and extant poverty. The two are correlated, but there are too many excluded variables—access to water and other resources, quality of soil, geopolitical history, and so forth—to place the blame squarely on aid. Removal (even a phase-out) of aid in highly dependent areas could be disastrous.


A largely libertarian approach may have worked for North America and western Europe, but these same countries arguably caused many of the developing world’s problems through imperialism. And owing to this differing root of poverty, it may be beyond the capacity of today’s third world to elevate itself out of the poverty trap.
So, what’s the solution?


I don’t know. Like most development workers, I am ambivalent about what exactly the developed world should be doing. My views both align with and diverge from certain arguments proffered by each stance. Every approach seems to have some merit, yet they contradict one another.


My intent is to raise the right questions, not offer answers. That’s where you come in. Share your opinions and experiences in the comments section!


A




To Think Big, Start Small
Rule #38
If you want to think big, start small.

I’m sitting in Stockholm in the open room that serves as the catchall meeting space for the Swedish branch of the KaosPilots—“the best school for the world.” More chairs are set up than usual. There’s an inner circle of chairs for the students and a second, outer circle for friends, family, and supporters. Today is a special day: Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus is visiting the KaosPilots. These young stude nts are paying their own tuition rather than attend one of Sweden’s many state-funded colleges because they want to learn the skills of a social innovator. Who better to learn from than Muhammad Yunus?

Yunus isn’t one for speeches. He sits quietly at the front of the room under the banner with the playful KaosPilots logo and invites questions from the students. He’s so downto-earth, honest, matter-of-fact, and authentic that it takes only a few awkward opening questions from the slightly awed students before they forget that the man dressed in his signature Bangladeshi vest is the founder of the Grameen Bank and a genuine Nobel laureate.

Yunus goes around the circle inviting each student to ask a question. Finally, one student asks the question that many have been thinking.

“There’s so many things that concern me, so many problems that need working on,” she says. “I don’t know where to start. Global warming, poverty, AIDS. Where do you think I should start?”

It’s the question of a generation that genuinely wants to change the world. But in a world that needs so much changing, the biggest problem is getting started.

Yunus’ answer is simple, direct, and practical.

“Start with whatever is right in front of you,” he advises. “Start with whatever is within your reach. That’s how I got started. With one woman who needed a little bit of money to get out from underneath a loan shark.”

He takes a few minutes to recount the grassroots origins of what later became the Grameen Bank. A famine struck Bangladesh shortly after the country gained independence. One morning, in the village of Jobra, Yunus came across Sufiya Begum, an impoverished woman, sitting in her muddy yard crafting small stools out of bamboo. Yunus asked her why, despite her hard work, she was still living in poverty. The answer: she could borrow the money to buy the bamboo for her furniture only from a loan shark who also bought all she produced at a price he set. She was in virtual economic slavery. After a week of research Yunus learned there were forty-two other people in the village in the same circumstances. Together they owed the loan shark less than $27—a small sum, perhaps, but more than they could afford. Yunus went to the local bank to see if it would provide loans to rescue the families from the loan shark. The bank said it couldn’t loan money to those people—they were poor! Finally, with $27 from his own pocket, Yunus freed the forty-two families from the loan shark. It was the first small step toward the birth of the Grameen Bank.

It’s a familiar story, but hearing it from Yunus’ own mouth makes one thing profoundly clear: Muhammad Yunus didn’t set out from home one morning with the goal of ending poverty in Bangladesh or raising tens of millions of people around the world out of poverty. He wasn’t thinking about starting a bank or a social movement. He certainly wasn’t game-planning how to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He saw a woman in a village who needed help and, as he told the students in Stockholm, “I could not not help her.”

It started out, in other words, as a solution in a petri dish, like so many other world-changing social projects. What it offers is an instructive model for crafting solutions that work, one that applies equally well to for-profit and not-for-profit entrepreneurs.

Start small. Do what you can with something you care about so deeply that you simply can’t not do it. Stay focused, close to the ground, rooted in everyday reality. Trust your instincts and your eyes: do what needs doing any way you can, whether the experts agree or not. Put practice ahead of theory and results ahead of conventional wisdom.

Start small. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t work, change what you’re doing until you find something that does work. Start small, start with whatever is close at hand, start with something you care deeply about. But as Muhammad Yunus told the KaosPilots, start.

So What?

“Get big or get out.” That’s conventional wisdom when it comes to venture-capital-backed Web start-ups.

There’s another model emerging today, one made smarter, faster, and in some ways inevitable by the Web. Think of it as the Muhammad Yunus approach to change.

It starts with small experiments undertaken by people who aren’t experts—which may be their key advantage. They don’t accept what the experts have already decided: for instance, that you can’t loan money to poor people. They don’t know that it takes an ironclad business plan before you can launch your project. They don’t know that bigger is better. They do know that they’re determined to make a difference.

It’s a model that Yunus personifies, one that he spreads wherever he goes and whenever he speaks. On one occasion he spoke at Stanford University and in the audience was Jessica Jackley. She heard Yunus talk about using microfinance to change the lives of people who were poor but had untapped entrepreneurial skills. That speech was the start.

In 2004, when she and her husband, Matt, had been married only a few months, Jessica flew to East Africa for the Village Enterprise Fund, interviewing entrepreneurs who had used grants of $100 to $150 to start their own businesses. Matt joined her for two weeks and filmed some of the interviews. What they saw convinced them that even the smallest loans could make a huge difference in the lives of poor people living in Africa.

When they got back to San Francisco they went to work, figuring out how to build a microfinance bridge between people who wanted to help and people in rural Africa who needed help. Finally, after a year of sometimes frustrating discussions with experts, they decided that the best way to begin was simply to begin. In March 2005 Jessica and Matt launched their beta site. They raised $3,500 from about thirty-five people to make loans to seven Ugandan entrepreneurs, a Yunus-like beginning. Six months later, every loan had been repaid.

In October 2005 Jessica and Matt announced the world’s first peer-to-peer microlending Web site: Kiva.org. In year one Kiva.org got $430,000 from 5,400 people and made loans to 750 people in twelve countries. Two years later Kiva. org had grown to a total of $39,536,810 spread over 55,935 loans, with funds coming from 329,406 lenders. Seventy-seven percent of the loans went to women entrepreneurs, and the repayment rate was 98.45 percent.

“With Kiva we had huge dreams but we were practical about getting started,” Jessica says of starting Kiva.org. “We knew we had to begin with something specific and doable. In fact, I think that’s the only way to start, period—small, specific, and focused. We’re still a relatively small team, so we can be nimble, responsive, and innovative. Sometimes to address the big injustices in the world lots of tiny, context-specific, tailored solutions are appropriate.”

I could have told you the story of Cameron Sinclair and Architecture for Humanity, or Sasha Chanoff and Mapendo Inte rnational, or any one of the 150 nonprofits that are started every day in the United States as young people turn their attention from making as much money as possible to making as much change as possible.


Get big or get out?
How about start small and stick with it?

Contributed by: Alan M. Webber, co-founder of Fast Company Magazine and former editorial director of the Harvard Business Review.

Excerpted from his new book, Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning At Business Without Losing Yourself with full permissions.



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Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

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Introductory Development Articles and Testimonies

Dragons Administration,Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

Description

It’s More Complicated Than It Looks International Development/Philanthropy – A compilation of first-hand experiences Over the years, missionaries, aid workers, charity groups and individuals have gone to Africa in hopes of making life better for African people. Some of these efforts have truly improved conditions. However, it’s argued that many of these efforts have unfortunately […]

Posted On

02/1/10

Author

Dragons Administration

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This is a Sample itinerary for the Central America Roots of Rebellion Semester. The actual itinerary may vary.

Week 1: From bustling Guatemala City, our journey will begin with an escape to the verdant countryside of the Pacific Slope. Driving past coffee, sugar, and palm plantations we’ll make our way to Finca Nueva Alianza, a community-based organic macadamia and coffee cooperative and plantation. This gorgeous farm, with waterfalls, swings, and endless orchards will be our base and living classroom as we orient ourselves to the major themes and logistics of our course. While building a strong foundation within our group, we’ll also listen to the communal struggle for local resource management, work in the dairy and orchards, swim in crystalline rivers, and learn about important medicinal plants of the region.


Weeks 2, 3, 4: Heading up the mountains from the Pacific Slope, past rushing mountain rivers and into the valley of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second largest city, we’ll set up a base outside the city in the peaceful hamlet of Pachaj, a small agricultural community made up of Q’iche’ Maya. Living with indigenous families, we’ll split our days between one-on-one language instruction, farm work, and participation on communal reforestation and water management projects. From Pachaj we will make frequent field-trips into the city of Quetzaltenango (known locally as Xela) to visit with NGOs, community clinics, and up to the summit of surrounding volcanoes.


Week 5: Moving deeper into the highlands of Guatemala, we embark on a three week segment of rugged travel to our final destination in Nicaragua. We start by exploring the mystical pine forests of the Cuchumatanes Mountain Range. Trekking through small indigenous communities, we listen to testimonies of the civil war, and the people’s ongoing struggle against the oppression of the Guatemalan Army.


Week 6: Continuing East through Nebaj and Uspantan, we arrive to the cloud forests of Coban where we wash off the dirt from the road at Semuc Champey in crystal clear multi-colored pools of water. From Coban we move north, to the Maya Biosphere Reserve and visit Uaxactun, where community members have long maintained themselves from nontimber forest products and current efforts at conservation are heatedly underway. Here we also visit the world-renowned ancient city of Tikal and enjoy the wildlife and archeological wonders this national park holds.


Week 7: From Guatemala we travel south to El Salvador, stopping for several days to visit unions and workers who share their story of moving from the country to the city to work in factories, or maquiladoras. We’ll take a look at U.S. Central America relations, free trade, the response from El Salvador, and also take a break along one of El Salvador’s many hidden beaches to rest.


Weeks 8,9: Arriving in the highlands of Nicaragua, we make our way to the intriguing small city of Esteli where we’ll spend a few days meeting with local activists, working on our Independent Study Projects, and taking our second round of Spanish classes. We also collaborate with a local women’s environmentalist group.


Week 10: In the highlands around Esteli, we will collaborate with local community-based projects in drip irrigation, communal gardens, energy efficient stoves, and habitat conservation. During this period we’ll be staying in peasant community homestays, working on agricultural and sustainable development projects, speaking a lot of Spanish and hiking in the green hills of Northern Nicaragua.


Weeks 11, 12: Moving down into the lowlands of Nicaragua, we take two weeks to put into action all that we’ve learned thus far. These two weeks are open and flexible for student input and decision-making. Options include field trips to the southern coast of Nicaragua to explore ecotourism, and development, excursions to the isolated east coast of Nicaragua where few travelers venture, or the rainforests of Southern Nicaragua in the Santa Maria protected area. The colonial city of Granada, or extended time in the highlands are all possibilities.


Week 13: We cross the water of Lake Nicaragua and under the twin shadows of the mighty Maderas and Concepcion volcanoes on the island of Ometepe we debrief our semester in Central America. Staying at a permaculture farm and sustainable living center, we spend our final days winding down, sharing our independent study project presentations, and exploring the beaches and lagoons of this magical island.

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Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

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Roots of Rebellion in Central America Sample Itinerary

Dragons Administration,Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

Description

This is a Sample itinerary for the Central America Roots of Rebellion Semester. The actual itinerary may vary. Week 1: From bustling Guatemala City, our journey will begin with an escape to the verdant countryside of the Pacific Slope. Driving past coffee, sugar, and palm plantations we’ll make our way to Finca Nueva Alianza, a […]

Posted On

02/1/10

Author

Dragons Administration

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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2009-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons' Andes & Amazon Semester Program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, future itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course's Yak board for additional itinerary-related postings and updates.

Week 1-2: Fly to Sucre for course orientation in the mountains outside the city, learning cultural norms, coming together as a group, goal setting, etc. This orientation time will continue to our first four-day trek, taking advantage of Sucre’s more arid mountains since we’re still in the rainy season in the southern tropics. From here we’ll have five days of home stays and Spanish study before moving back toward the highlands near La Paz. We'll find that our time in Sucre, the country's judicial capital, greatly contrasts our coming experiences in the Bolivian highlands.

Week 3: Carnival in Oruro! Come back from Sucre by bus to Oruro and visit the spectacular carnival celebration here, one of the most important celebrations in all of Bolivia. Costumed traditional dances and water balloons define the occasion and will give a great perspective on celebration and ceremony in the Andes. Carnival continues for a couple of days, during which time travel is difficult and so we’ll take the time to be in La Paz to continue observing the celebration. We will have time to explore the city, watch more parades and possibly work with local artisans and development workers.

Week 4-6: Sorata time, first extended home stay and more language study. Dive in to ISP's, workshops on politics, agriculture, Andean shamanism and cosmology, etc. Weekend trip to Lake Titicaca: Agricultural-ecology expedition: to Santiago de Okola for three nights: traditional fishing village on Lake Titicaca, with home stays, in-depth look at agriculture and cultural traditions of afarming and fishing community. Further inquries into historic Andean Agriculure techniques and crops.

Week 7-8: Apolobamba expedition: From Sorata we travel to the Apolobamba. Hiking the Pacha Trail or High Apolobamba trail to the Kallawaya town of Kaata, with focus on ecological tiers, Andean ayllus (community-structures), etc. Finish with 4-day home stay in Kaata, a traditional Quechua village renowned as healers, shaman and artisans, in a dramatic setting facing the stunning southern Apolobamba skyline and the sacred Cerro Akhamani.

Week 9: Andes to Amazon expedition: Returning from the Apolobamba to La Paz, we will begin our next expedition into the Amazon. We start by hiking the Yunga Cruz trek from La Paz to Chulumani, again focusing on ecological tiers from the high Andes to the lowland Amazon and then visiting our last ecological tier, the yungas – focusing on issues around coca, sustainable development and other workshops.

Week 10-11: Amazon Expedition: From Chulumani we will make our way by bus and then boat to Pilon Lajas Biosphere Reserve: heading first to the Amazon town of Rurrenebaque and then into the forests up the Beni and then the Quiquibay Rivers to the Biosphere Reserve, looking at indigenous issues in the Tsimane-Moseten communities along the Quiquibay, Amazon cosmology, environmental conservation, resource issues, etc. At the end of this time we will travel back to La Paz to regroup and plan for our final two weeks.

Week 11-12: Final course expedition, student led to Southern Peru with opportunities to visit Cuzco, Choquequirao, Ausungate, Machu Picchu or other areas.

Week 13: Return to Sorata and do course-end activities and workshops, etc. Bringing the whole experience home!

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Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

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Andes and Amazon Semester: Sample Itinerary

Dragons Admin,Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons’ Andes & Amazon Semester Program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, future itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course’s Yak board for additional […]

Posted On

01/1/09

Author

Dragons Admin

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 52827
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2008-10-23 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons' “Life Along the Mekong” semester program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course's Yak board for additional itinerary-related postings and updates.

Weeks One-Two:

Fly from Los Angeles to Kunming, Yunnan Province: Orientation and quick introduction to this laid-back, contemporary Chinese capital. Overnight bus to Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern Yunnan: Visit prominent Gelukpa lineage monasteries, learn about Tibetan Buddhism, and wander through Tibetan villages beneath snow-clad mountains; witness the impacts of Chinese development and tourism programs; sit along the edge of the Upper Mekong and marvel at the beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage Three Rivers Region. Begin challenging, high-mountain trek along sacred pilgrimage routes beneath the 6,740m Mt. Kawa Karpo, one of the holiest mountains in Tibetan Buddhism. Travel south along rough roads through the Mekong gorge towards Weixi, a remote town along the Yunnan/Tibet border.

Weeks Three-Five:

Student-directed portion of the itinerary. Working under the advice of course instructors, students choose from a variety of travel options as we make our way towards the base of our program in Laos. Option 1: Travel along the China/Burma border to stay within rural villages of the Tibeto-Burman ethnicity; learn about the Burmese political situation, border issues and drug trade, and the unique cultural ecology of this subtropical region. Option 2: Travel into Sipsongpanna, the land of "12,000 rice fields": Learn about the ancient kingdom of the Tai minority; visit the botanical gardens of Meng Lun and study the remarkable biodiversity of the region; visit tea plantations producing some of the most highly regarded Pu'er tea in China. Option 3: Travel directly to the China/Laos border and head into the Lao provinces of Luang Nam Tha, Bokeo, and Udomxai: Explore rugged hills inhabited by the largest variety of hill tribes in Laos; visit the site of the Nam Tha dam; dig into the tiny outpost town of Xieng Kok at the heart of the notorious Golden Triangle, along the edge of the Mekong between Laos and Burma.

Weeks Six-Nine:

Settle into an extended community-stay outside of Luang Prabang, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Live in rural villages on the outskirts of town, learn about traditional agriculture and subsistence farming, local customs, and local communities' relationship with the nearby Mekong River. Gather in town for classes in Lao language, learn from development workers and historians, and engage in discussions regarding the environmental and cultural impacts of tourism in the region. Learn about sustainable development and collaborate with local organizations on service efforts. Marvel at Luang Prabang's royal architecture and golden temples, and explore the beauty of the surrounding countryside by foot and by bicycle. Gather for afternoon soccer matches or swimming along the banks of the slow-moving Mekong.

Weeks Ten-Twelve:

Travel from Luang Prabang through Southern Laos, into Cambodia. Learn about the region known as Isan, a conglomeration of Thai provinces that are of historical Lao origin; discuss the permeation of culture across natural and political boundaries, and consider a visit across the river to witness Thailand's most impoverished region, which benefits little from Thailand's booming tourism industry. Continue along the river through southern Laos: Explore famous Buddhist temples and Hindu ruins, learn about coffee and banana cultivation, and navigate a beautiful stretch of the Mekong called the 4,000 Islands. Follow the river into Cambodia: Volunteer with the Cambodia Rural Development organization in Kratie, learn about Cambodian water issues by visiting "floating" communities on the great Tonlé Sap lake, and partake in Cambodian village life—living with Khmer families along a tributary of the Mekong just north of Phnom Penh.

Week Thirteen:

Vietnam's Mekong Delta: Visit floating markets; explore the country's primary source of fish, rice, fruit, and other agricultural products; learn from local farmers and fishermen regarding the noticeable impacts of upstream development. Conclude the course with a reflective couple of days recounting our journey and contributing ideas to lesson plans which will support the academic studies of future student groups. Travel to Ho Chi Minh City and prepare for the flight home.

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Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

View post

Mekong Semester: Sample Itinerary

Dragons Administration,Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons’ “Life Along the Mekong” semester program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course’s Yak board for additional […]

Posted On

10/23/08

Author

Dragons Administration

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 55497
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-12-14 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

So I have decided to write my second Yak Yak of all time. Arent you proud of me Timmay!? I first want to thank you all for such an amazing adventure and express to you how much I love you and miss waking up with all 15 of you ever day. Dragons taught me so much and set me on a path following my passions in the world of international development. Tim and Slade, we finally found the answer, and it does not involve conditional aid or Jeffrey Sachs. It begins with one of the humblest, fun, and most genuine people i have ever met, Muhammad Yunus. The trip to Costa Rica and Guatemala excedeed our expectactions and left me yearning for knowledge and action. Our days were packed full of Yunus speeches, meetings with borrowers, and insightful conversations. From the presidential palace in Guatemala to the nicest hotel in San Jose, it was a stark contrast from a dragons experience to say the least. We offered to stay in hostals to cut costs, but they wouldnt hear of it. Our leather seated, air conditioned and spacious bus (with police escort) had nothing on our mini bus though. I really dont think i have ever learned more in such a short period of time, as every meal and bus ride was packed full of developmental, environmental, and political discussions with Yunus or one of the other presidents or board members of Grameen operations and Whole Foods. It seemed that they loved our vivacious spirits and genuine passions for the subject matter, and made immense efforts to teach us as much as possible. It was so incredible, and I cannot thank them enough for the opportunity. Dinner consisted of Professor Yunus, Latifee(his right hand man), the president of Whole Planet, the president of the Costa Rican operations, and then a couple of kids, just kicking it and talking casually about some development over a gin and tonic and some pasta. There were also these other really cool kids (23 and 24) who were just signed by Universal records and are travelling around playing concerts at Yunus's speeches. Their band is called the Green Children, and they have done incredible things in the world of micro-credit, including donating a million dollars to build a hospital in Bangladesh. We kicked it off well with them, and they invited us to be their spokespeople and honorary "Green Children", with personal bios and interviews on their website. (coming in january) The whole movement is so exciting and inspiring, and i encourage any of you who are interested to check out their website, www.theGreenchildren.org. I thank all you of guys for inspiring me in this field and helping me find where my passion lies. The future is full of opportunities ranging from internships in new york, to Guatemala, to Bangladesh, Colombia, etc and i couldnt be more excited. If you do not know much about micro-credit, you should look into it, as it seems to be the most effective and responsive way of alleviating poverty. Hundreds of millions of borrowers are being empowered by micro-credit worldwide to decide their own futures, a welcomed change from the developed world deciding it for them. Tim, Slade, and Elizabeth, you guys are really responsible for pushing me in debates and furthering my drive for knowledge, so thank you. Hopefully our paths will cross again soon. Cant wait to see every one of you as soon as possible and hope that your transitions have been smooth. Much love,

Chris

ps. There is hope in corporations as well, Whole Foods seems to be doing some pretty innovative and conscious stuff, check it out.

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Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

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A shocking transition and micro-credit

Chris Temple,Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

Description

So I have decided to write my second Yak Yak of all time. Arent you proud of me Timmay!? I first want to thank you all for such an amazing adventure and express to you how much I love you and miss waking up with all 15 of you ever day. Dragons taught me so […]

Posted On

12/14/07

Author

Chris Temple

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    [post_date] => 2007-12-09 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => (I wrote this while sitting in the Miami airport, shortly after arrival back in the States) 

[December 8th, 2007]

Bienvenido a Miami! Here I m back in Miami, the United States. Efficiency, English and sanitation are humming all around me. We were in flight for about 6 1/2 hours over night (piece o' cake) from La Paz last night. Then, in one moment - a moment that skipped by at a rate I hadn't experienced for months anywhere in slow-paced Bolivia or Peru - we were landing on the paved airstrip, bathed in the firey corals and oranges of the Miami sunrise. After getting through customs we were all spread apart quickly, frantically hurrying to catch tight flight connections, or else just getting lost in the overwhelming confusion of being HOME. I, for one, was snatched away from the opportunity at being able to say goodbyes to everyone except for Barnyard and Geoff who I shared a hurried departure with in the Dunkin' Donuts line... In truth, I didn't regret the quick separation. With goodbyes I tend to be painfully emotional and so I prefer to just do things quickly - rip off the departure bandage so to speak. In this way, instead of the threat of tears and unreachable words, I just close my eyes and love each of these individuals across the distance, silently sharing my appreciation and pride for them with my new companion - the empty space around me. A new companion that has now replaced those 15 others and that overwhlems me with the anxious anticipation of WHAT COMES NEXT?What will I do with microwaves? Stoplights that you are actually expected to yield to (which they don't in Bolivia)? Wireless internet? Being able to drink water exempt from that all too familiar tangy, Iodine taste? Supermarkerts with aisle after aisle of packaged foods, origins unknown...
When I entered the Delta terminal, I went to a Starbucks, ordered a coffee (no instant Nescafe, thankyou!) and a fruit cup (no need to wash this fruit for fear of getting a nasty GI infection) and had to restrain myself from bargaining with the cashier to let me pay only $5.60 as opposed to the $5.92 which I didn't have sufficient change for. I was even a little hesitant as to whether my quarter was actually a quarter, as opposed to a nickle.

So strange, so familiarly foreign. Now I anticipate more bewidlering rememberances while I await my flight back home - a home that sadly no longer means myriad points of destination and expanses of transit, and a motley, yet tight, crew of 15 other Dragons.

Here insert a *LOVE TOSS* from me to all of you. I love you all Elizabeth, Chris, Moz, Barnyard, Alex, Geoff, Miwa, Alana, Hell, Kyle, Jackson (keep me updated on future art exhibits), Slade, Olivia, Tim, Lewis!
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Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

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miami airport journal excerpt

Maren Rhodin (Ronz),Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

Description

(I wrote this while sitting in the Miami airport, shortly after arrival back in the States) [December 8th, 2007] Bienvenido a Miami! Here I m back in Miami, the United States. Efficiency, English and sanitation are humming all around me. We were in flight for about 6 1/2 hours over night (piece o’ cake) from […]

Posted On

12/9/07

Author

Maren Rhodin (Ronz)

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-12-08 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Hello all friends and family of the Andes and Amazon semester! I have just spoken with Slade, and all the students should be on their way home, if they have not already arrived.

We apologize for the Yak Yaks that went missing, we will be working on getting them all transferred early next week from your semester.

Thank you for lending us your loved ones, and we hope that they return full of inspiration and joy for the holiday season.,

Best,

Dragons Admin

[post_title] => On the ground, safe and sound [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => on-the-ground-safe-and-sound [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-12-08 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55513 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 191 [name] => Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007 [slug] => andes-amazon-semester-fall-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 191 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 68 [count] => 37 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 31.1 [cat_ID] => 191 [category_count] => 37 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007 [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-semester-fall-2007 [category_parent] => 68 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/andes-amazon-semester-fall-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007 )

Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

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On the ground, safe and sound

Dragons Administration,Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

Description

Hello all friends and family of the Andes and Amazon semester! I have just spoken with Slade, and all the students should be on their way home, if they have not already arrived. We apologize for the Yak Yaks that went missing, we will be working on getting them all transferred early next week from […]

Posted On

12/8/07

Author

Dragons Administration

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 55516
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2007-12-07 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => So, we just got back from taking everyone to the airport and now my post dragons experience is officially starting. It was weird and kind of surreal watching everyone go. The last week has flown by with little time for thinking about the fact that it was almost over. We went to sorata and stayed in the absolutely beautiful new program house where we did our de-orientation and left our mark as the first dragons andes and amazon semester. It was really cool working on this beautiful piece of land that has so much potencial. I felt like I was uncovering a secret garden. Over the three days we cleared out much of the back patio of the beautiful hacienda, uncovering incan like stone steps that were completely over grown, building a flower bed where we planted some herbs and strawberries, and starting a pathway leading from the back door down into the gardens. Then we also chose a gorgeous spot on the land to build a ceremonial firepit, bringing up large rocks from the river that forms one border of our land and building simple wooden benches for people to sit on around the fire pit. We christened the pit our last night in sorata, cooking burgers over a fire and marveling at the idea that this pit would be a meeting spot for potencially hundreds of future dragons students.

Then last night we arrived back in la paz, pulling almost an all nighter as we watched slide shows and videos (courtesy of the instructors) and did a closing ceremony where everyone got to talk about everyone else, giving appreciation ad acknowledgment to how amazing each and every one of us are.

This morning I awoke to the reality that already three of my fellow dragons were on a plane to Guatemala the in less then 24 hours I would be the only student left. The day flew by, full of souvenir and gift shopping and before I knew it we were sitting having our last dinner in the restaurant we had one of our first dinners in La Paz. Then it was a whirlwind, back to the hotel, last minute packing and loading up into taxis, as many of six of us in each, and of course haggling with the taxi cab drivers over prices. As we drove through la Paz and then up through el alto we watched one of the most beautiful sunsets of the semester; Illimani glowed pink, towering over the city lights of a paz, and in the other direction rose Wayna potosi, the two sacred apus that guard the city of La Paz.

As I write the rest of the group is probably in flight, flying over illimani, on there way to the united states. And so we all go our seperate ways, to start new adventures, whether it be college, more travel, working with a nobel peace prize winner, or hiking the AT trail. But I know our paths will cross again in the future and until then I am thinking of you all and already miss you! [post_title] => The final days [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-final-days-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-12-07 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55516 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 191 [name] => Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007 [slug] => andes-amazon-semester-fall-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 191 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 68 [count] => 37 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 31.1 [cat_ID] => 191 [category_count] => 37 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007 [category_nicename] => andes-amazon-semester-fall-2007 [category_parent] => 68 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2007/andes-amazon-semester-fall-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007 )

Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

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The final days

Arielle Miwa Oseki Robbins,Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

Description

So, we just got back from taking everyone to the airport and now my post dragons experience is officially starting. It was weird and kind of surreal watching everyone go. The last week has flown by with little time for thinking about the fact that it was almost over. We went to sorata and stayed […]

Posted On

12/7/07

Author

Arielle Miwa Oseki Robbins

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    [post_content] => There are times where moments come as a surprise no matter the length of anticipation leading up to them. The first day of this course was one of them. This last day is another. I’ve felt as if on a treadmill in these moments, where I am standing still and time is moving me forward. The feeling is surreal, as in a feeling of distance from my feet, my eyes and my heart, none of which is really capable of translating the moment into something comprehendable. And the only thing really moving is time, with us as its passengers. And change is beautiful, to be honest there is an exhalation that comes with even this evenings departure, as I stay in La Paz with Miwa and Lewis and Elizabeth while others are skimming the flanks of the sacred Mount Illimani en route to Santa Cruz and then Miami and their respective homes and loving and expecting families. The exhale comes from a sense of holding on to something we loved that we now must let go and the beauty comes just from the inevitable presence of change in all things, like the movement of wind and rivers, moving loads – spreading seeds. As we move away from this experience on our respective temporal treadmills, there are people eagerly waiting for us along this mill. Fortunately for these 13 students and 3 instructors, we are blessed with loving families, dear friends, and other dear humans eager to connect with us upon our return from this all consuming semester in the Andes and Amazon. From experience, folks moving on this treadmill need compassion, they need patience, and as your sons and daughter return home we ask that you consider this. We have spent the past week reflecting, looking forward, setting goals, preparing for “reverse culture-shock” and generally trying to find parking places for the amazing experiences of the past few months in our respective world views. And undoubtedly this group is leaving with more questions than answered. Questions of self, questions of place, questions of the “good life”, of reconciling beauty and tragedy in our world, of how to be gracious and effect necessary change in the world around us – basically of our cosmically miniscule but seemengly massive role and burden as blessed humans on this planet. There are pieces of home that seem to maybe not fit, pieces of ourselves that maybe no longer feel like the right shape and have been discarded, other pieces that now fit better than ever, and maybe a general feeling of a self that no longer fits into its previous skin. These experiences of difference and otherness that Dragons’ provides often have these effects upon students and instructors alike. And as I wake up tomorrow morning in La Paz I think I may be able to feel a fraction of the “empty nest” that you as family and friends felt three months ago in turning over your most precious possessions (sons and daughters and loved ones) to us. And we have created a family that today has set out around the world, from Ecuador to Costa Rica to California and Connecticut. And we have seeds from the Andes and Amazon that have dispersed by the winds of change. Be patient with the growth that will come from these seeds and have faith that beautiful fruits will come at sometime – if not tomorrow, maybe in a year, or three or ten. These things cannot be rushed and especially in these first few moments of reconnection, patience, compassion and much nurturing are the most important qualities to bring. Thank you so much for trusting us three in facilitating this experience and for allowing Dragons the opportunity to work with such beautiful and giften young men and women. There is such a strong bond of love and understanding that threads our lives from these shared experiences that leave me so full and grateful. Thank you so much Elizabeth, Slade, Alex, Alana, Chris, Molly, Miwa, Lewis, Geoff, Helen, Sam (Barnyard), Sam (Jackson), Olivia, Kyle, Maren and Ben (for those that met him) and all other friends and companions along our journey, both here in Bolivia and Peru and others watching from afar for making this possible. With continued thoughts and love from the Peace, Tim 
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Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

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On change and going home

Tim,Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2007

Description

There are times where moments come as a surprise no matter the length of anticipation leading up to them. The first day of this course was one of them. This last day is another. I’ve felt as if on a treadmill in these moments, where I am standing still and time is moving me forward. […]

Posted On

12/7/07

Author

Tim

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