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Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester


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    [post_date] => 2013-12-06 09:26:17
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    [post_content] => Dear Andes & Amazon Students & Families,

It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families:

December 6th, 2013
American Airlines AA 922
Depart: La Paz (LPB) 7:40am
Arrive: Miami (MIA) 4:15pm

We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day. Starting on Friday, 12/6, should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 760-709-0848.

We wish all students a great trip home!

Sincerely,

Boulder Admin
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Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

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Return Group Flight Information

Dragons Admin,Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Dear Andes & Amazon Students & Families, It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of the return group flight information […]

Posted On

12/6/13

Author

Dragons Admin

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    [post_date] => 2013-12-06 09:25:51
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    [post_content] => After many great adventures and moments together, this is it: the big goodbye!

All nine students are now safely on board flight American Airlines 922 to Miami. Those are Eliot, Rosa, Seth, Charlotte, Isaac, Jon, Kira, RB and Andreas.

Peter and Ryan continue their travels later today and Danny will fly out on Sunday.

As instructors we feel incredibly fortunate to have worked with such a fantastic group of motivated and engaged students. We already miss them all! We wish everyone the best of luck with their future plans and we hope they stay in touch and keep us updated on their new adventures.

Un fuerte abrazo!

Ben, Julianne, Jackson and Pedro
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Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

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Emotional goodbyes in La Paz airport!

Ben, Julianne, Jackson, Pedro ,Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

After many great adventures and moments together, this is it: the big goodbye! All nine students are now safely on board flight American Airlines 922 to Miami. Those are Eliot, Rosa, Seth, Charlotte, Isaac, Jon, Kira, RB and Andreas. Peter and Ryan continue their travels later today and Danny will fly out on Sunday. As […]

Posted On

12/6/13

Author

Ben, Julianne, Jackson, Pedro

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    [post_content] => As I look back  on these past three months, countless number of learning experiences manifested through my journey. Unexpected challenges arised, and were met with willingness and strengh.  Long days in the field trekking tirelessly through a pristine backdrop, culturally exploring various towns along the way, and eating endless amounts of exotic  food were all a highlight.  What resinated with me most through my journey was the simplicity of my homestay. After a month in Peru, most of which was spent trekking.  I was more than ready to settle into a routine and cultural immerse myself in a foreign city. We were to reside in the small town of Tiquipaya, just outside of Cochabamaba. Arriving after a night bus ride from La Paz, and a minor incident where our bus collided into another vehicle, I was more than ready to meet my Bolivian Mom. Many thoughts came into mind, how would she receive me? What cultural differences would I have to adapt to and become acustomed to?  After a briefing on a Homestay experience, my mother arrived at the Dragons around 1 pm.  She was small, cheerful, young, and very funny.  We instantly hit it off.  With my bags in hand we arrived at what was to be my home for the next month.  A modest house, north of Calle Reducto, the main street going through Tiquipaya, was tucked away from the street.  Opening the door, the floors were made of blue tile, the walls had crucifixes on them, and old wooden furniture. My room was simple, a bed, dresser, and desk was all it had. Which was all I needed.  My mom, Maebel and I walked into town, later going to Church together. We spent our time cooking and chatting together throughout my days. I love that woman. When I plan to return, I will stay with her.  By far my favorite part of my trip was living with Maebel.
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Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

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Everything Ends

Daniel Louis Trongale,Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

As I look back  on these past three months, countless number of learning experiences manifested through my journey. Unexpected challenges arised, and were met with willingness and strengh.  Long days in the field trekking tirelessly through a pristine backdrop, culturally exploring various towns along the way, and eating endless amounts of exotic  food were all […]

Posted On

12/5/13

Author

Daniel Louis Trongale

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    [post_date] => 2013-11-29 14:09:10
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-11-29 21:09:10
    [post_content] => Its the last Thursday of November, so for all of you friends and family at home this day marks a lot of family, football, and turkey. For me however, this day marks just over a week before my trip here in South America ends. This realization evokes a wave of emotion that makes it difficult to identify any one feeling. On one hand my family's faces have made regular appearances in my day dreams on long bus rides and silent nights before bed, so the idea of seeing them face to face always makes me smile. On the other hand, the students and instructors I have gotten to know on this trip are some of kindest and most intellectual people I have encountered in recent memory and the idea of leaving them is daunting. I hate to sound cliché but in many ways my peers and I have created an environment that is very similar to that of a family. After all that we have endured together family is the only word that seems fitting. We have trekked through the rain, somehow made each other laugh on 18 hour bus rides, and picked each other up at some of our lowest moments.

I'm not just describing my groups kindness and closeness from what I have witnessed, but also from what I have experienced first hand. Tomorrow will mark exactly one month since I dislocated my right knee cap while playing a friendly game of soccer with my group. It was truly a freak accident of just landing awkwardly after a jump but the injury was substantial. As I lay on the hot cement with my leg looking awkwardly twisted, my only question was why? I have experienced many injuries as a soccer player, skateboarder, and adrenaline fueled teenager, but why would such a horrible injury make an appearance now during one of the most adventurous and joyful times in my life? As far as I was concerned in that moment, my trip was over the only question was how soon I would be leaving, two days? A week? The pain in my leg was substantial but was easily dwarfed by the agony in my mind.

As I rode in the back of a cab on the way to the hospital my mind quickly spiraled into dark thoughts. The past two months had been an amazing mix of personal development, novel experiences and wonderful people, why was all of that being stripped away from me prematurely? I felt angry and scared on the long 10 minute cab ride to the hospital and by the time we made it to there I almost didn’t feel the pain in my leg anymore.  After my knee was relocated, I had time to stare at the ceiling and just think about all of the things I was going to miss out on, all of the people I would have to leave early, and just how unlucky I was in general. Then, out of nowhere the faces of my wonderful peers were staring at me upside down and I got up to see all of the group standing at the head of my bed holding an ice cream for me. In that moment, my entire perspective changed on the situation. Sure it was terrible luck that such an injury would hit me at this time, but really how lucky was I to have had the chance to meet these amazing people and experience the things we did in such a short amount of time? In the following days my group played a huge role in keeping my mindset positive on my situation, from Elliot and Charlotte visiting me at my home stay with a blow up tiger and a donut, to lunchtime conversations with Andreas about staying positive and how lucky we are to have met through Dragons. Now, almost a month later not only am I still in Bolivia but I have also experienced the Amazon, the world’s biggest salt flat and the world’s highest city. All while walking without the use of a crutch or brace.

So as I think about the trips end close at hand, I try to remember that as difficult it is to say goodbye to Elliot, Charlotte, Kira, Andreas, Isaac, Ryan, John, Peter, Seth, Danny, Rosa, Pedro, Julianne, Jackson, Pablo and Ben, the opportunity to have met them and experience the things we did is such a blessing. It’s for that reason that even though I walk with a limp, I have a huge smile spread across my face. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
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Best Notes From The Field, Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

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What a Blessing

RB Ganon,Best Notes From The Field, Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Its the last Thursday of November, so for all of you friends and family at home this day marks a lot of family, football, and turkey. For me however, this day marks just over a week before my trip here in South America ends. This realization evokes a wave of emotion that makes it difficult […]

Posted On

11/29/13

Author

RB Ganon

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    [post_content] => 1. You must devise a strategy for getting yourself and your belongings into your tent as quickly as possible, so as to avoid any bugs entering your tent.
From our experience, we have found that first you must collect all the items you will need for the night from your backpack, then while swatting mosquitoes away from your face, queue up in front of your tent door. Next, find a friend to unzip the tent flap so that you may launch with full force your belongings into the tent. Then using your belongings as padding, launch yourself into the tent while simultaneously preparing one arm to immediately zip the flap closed. You have now successfully entered your tent in the Amazon.

2. If you need to bathe (and you will because you will have sweat your body weight just by standing outside) a muddy river will do.
We took advantage of the nearby river every afternoon. Either after a strenous soccer match against the local community team, or after carrying 5 loads of sand bags to and from the river bank to help the community build a water tank, we would indulge in the warm chocolate-colored river. And it felt great.

3. If you feel at all dehydrated or in need of a pick-me-up, drink some fresh coconut water and then enjoy some sweet coconut meat.
To do this, simply grab the nearby 20 ft. bamboo rod and knock down a coconut Gilligan´s Island style, ensuring not to knock yourself out when it falls down. Once you have acquired your coconut, head to the closest house and ask to borrow their machete. Once you have the machete find a flat rock and start hacking.

4. Take an afternoon to weave your own personal palm frond fan.
This is a life-changing object. It serves two great purposes: drying your sweat and scaring off mosquitoes. Additionally, you will get to spend an afternoon learning this skill with the very kind women in the village. Their speed at this task and patience for your ineptitude is remarkable.

5. Don´t pee outside.
No explanation required.

6. Take time to enjoy the scenery.
As we learned, the Amazon is full of unique and scary plants and animals. From trees that can walk to bugs with glowing eyes to hot-dog-sized millipedes, you never know what you´ll get the chance to see in the world´s most diverse ecosystem.
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Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

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Bear Grylls: Amazon Edition

Charlotte Posever and Eliot Meade,Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

1. You must devise a strategy for getting yourself and your belongings into your tent as quickly as possible, so as to avoid any bugs entering your tent. From our experience, we have found that first you must collect all the items you will need for the night from your backpack, then while swatting mosquitoes […]

Posted On

11/22/13

Author

Charlotte Posever and Eliot Meade

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    [post_date] => 2013-11-21 14:18:45
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    [post_content] => I would love to post more photos but today bolivian internet has decided to continue to be bolivian internet.... and so if you would like to see more photos of our trip thus far add me on facebook, my name is Ryan Gasper and I am from Colorado, and if that is not specific enough search through your students friends list for me, Ryan Gasper and give em´ a gander.

I send my regards from down here in Bolivia where everything just moves a little bit slower, which isn´t always a bad thing.

chao

Ryan
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Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

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Some Visuals p.2

Ryan Gasper,Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

I would love to post more photos but today bolivian internet has decided to continue to be bolivian internet…. and so if you would like to see more photos of our trip thus far add me on facebook, my name is Ryan Gasper and I am from Colorado, and if that is not specific enough […]

Posted On

11/21/13

Author

Ryan Gasper

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    [post_content] => The Amazon, rich in biodiversity, wildlife, and bugs larger than your hand.  A walk through the jungle possesses endless possibilities of scenery that can only be witnessed in a landscape so dense and diverse. Walking carefully is a necessity, ants and other insects that you can only imagine from books can have bite more painful and powerful than a simple bee sting.  As you stand still you are surrounded by a countless number of mosquitos that make you realize you are in their territory and have to remain aware. Having the opportunity to bear witness to this remote and biodiverse landscape allows you to appreciate a delicate ecosystem that is in constant jeopardy. The indigenous communities that reside in the Amazon know of this constant struggle to maintain this sacred landscape.  With the endless depth of vegetation that surrounds the tributaries you travel on by boat, it is obvious to see that most of the jungle has seen little to no human contact. But among this dense landscape there have been communities rich in tradition that have been living within them for many centuries.  These communities have a sense of understanding and respect for the properties these vast jungles provide. Sadly, these properties and resources have been sought out by westerners and corporations for exploitation for many years. Anthropologists, archeologists, and geographers are beginning to reassess the possible global environmental implication. "Conservationists and ecologists warn that the Amazon is sliding towards catastrophe so rapidly that saving it must become a global priority (Mann)." The local Indian societies in the Americas have built up a remarkable body of knowledge about how to manage and improve their environment. "By denying the very possibility of such practices, these researchers say, environmentalists may hasten, rather than halt, the demise of the forest (Mann)." I believe that preserving the  tranquil beauty of the Amazon is a top priority for our ecosystem and a heightened sense of awareness should be brought to the public. The Amazon is truly one of the last "wild places" left in this world.
    [post_title] => The Amazon
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Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

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The Amazon

Daniel Trongale,Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

The Amazon, rich in biodiversity, wildlife, and bugs larger than your hand.  A walk through the jungle possesses endless possibilities of scenery that can only be witnessed in a landscape so dense and diverse. Walking carefully is a necessity, ants and other insects that you can only imagine from books can have bite more painful […]

Posted On

11/21/13

Author

Daniel Trongale

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    [post_content] => I won´t lie, Bolivia is a little more rugged than I had expected. One thing our group jokes about is "Bolivian time." Today I was on Bolivia time, running a little behind all morning. What this really means is that Bolivians in general have a different relationship with time itself; this frustrated me at first,  but now is one thing I love most about Bolivia.

Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise ends up winning after the hare falls asleep after sitting down.

I take issue with this. Why even bother to run a race if you´re going to trudge through the whole thing without stopping to take a look around?

That´s all it is. Bolivian time compared to United Statesian time. Here it isnt as important to win the race, so sometimes people are a little relaxed in their schedule. For me at least, the result of this is a much less stressful lifestyle. More than just the time aspect,  emphasis is placed more on family and relationships.

One example of this: Julianne told me a story once about how her husband Pedro our other instructor´s relatives were completely unphased by a fifteen hour bus ride for a weekend visit. If there are two things I would like to learn from Bolivia, it is the toughness and altruism that most Bolivians seem to embody.

Lastly I want to say thank you to everyone who made this program possible, from my family to those working behind the scenes at the dragons office, to my amazing instructors. Expedition has begun, meaning we have much too little time left.

Peace and love all!
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The Tortoise and the Viscacha

Jon Vredenburg,Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

I won´t lie, Bolivia is a little more rugged than I had expected. One thing our group jokes about is “Bolivian time.” Today I was on Bolivia time, running a little behind all morning. What this really means is that Bolivians in general have a different relationship with time itself; this frustrated me at first, […]

Posted On

11/21/13

Author

Jon Vredenburg

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    [post_content] => There is a distinct difference between a tourist and a traveler. Having been both, I know the difference personally. A tourist is someone with a checklist, going from place to place, country to country only to take pictures in front of the most famous places to have proof that they were once there. This kind of travel only allows a person to experience the surface of what a country has to offer. The knowledge gained from tourism is knowledge one can learn from a book, there is no true understanding acquired. When I was at Machu Picchu I learned many things about the architecture, what the building were used for, and why it is considered a wonder of the world. Yet after being there I don’t know how life was for the people that lived there and I don’t understand how they made the rocks fit so perfectly together to the point where cement was not needed. One difference of a traveler is that they emerge themselves in a culture to better understand what it is like to live in that place.

An example of where I was emerged in a culture would be National Q’eros. Instead of seeing the ruins of an extinct civilization, I saw a lively community where they worked together to live. They all had their own properties and material; the interesting thing is that if one needed help with one’s property another member of the community wouldn’t hesitate to help the other, or if a llama was lost a neighbor would donate one of their llamas to the neighbor that lost the llama. They really understand the idea of a community and live by it in their everyday life. Being in the communities of Q’eros I realized the effort is takes to live of the land and acquire food. I witnessed the work of farming and the process of obtaining meat.  After witnessing the slaughtering of three sheep I have a whole new understanding of where my meals come from. Seeing the live in the sheep’s eyes turn to cold stone made me see life and death in a new light as well. These are experiences that only a traveler can obtain, they don’t just see the places they visit, they feel them with their hearts and minds.
    [post_title] => The Traveler's Eye
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Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

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The Traveler’s Eye

Seth Otto,Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

There is a distinct difference between a tourist and a traveler. Having been both, I know the difference personally. A tourist is someone with a checklist, going from place to place, country to country only to take pictures in front of the most famous places to have proof that they were once there. This kind […]

Posted On

11/21/13

Author

Seth Otto

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    [post_content] => We just came from our two week excursion from the Andes to Amazon, and Charlotte, Eliot, and I were compiling a list of things we learned from the Amazon.  Well we came up with quite a few.  So if you ever decide to head to the Amazon, you should follow these few tips...

1. If you hike for two weeks, your clothes will smell.

2. When you go to the bathroom, you will be bitten on your behind.

3. If you leave trash and apples in your backpack, a pig will attack it!

4. If you don´t have a shower, the muddy river will do just fine.

5. If you leave your tent open, it will be an itchy night.

6. If you leave your tent open, cockroaches will invite themselves in.

7. You should always have a coconut in one hand.

8.  If you decide to stack rocks for the morning, remember to bring water and sunscreen.

9. Playing soccer without a shirt is a really, really, bad idea.

10. Do not have a discussion in the grass at twilight, you will be eaten alive.

11. If you leave your backpack open, a tarantula will scare you for the room.

12. The best way to get exercise is to play soccer with the native team. (you will lose)

13. Hand woven fans from palm fronds are a must.

14. Please try to always move quickly in and out of the tent.

15. Lastly, while you are there, enjoy every moment of every day.  You are experiencing something that most of the urban world only dreams about.  You will see bugs of every shape and size, wild boars, macaws, other exotic birds, capibaras, and so much more. You are in for the trip of a lifetime, and no matter the bugbites, its an absolutely amazing couple of days!
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Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

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Lessons from the Amazon

Kira Schubot,Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

We just came from our two week excursion from the Andes to Amazon, and Charlotte, Eliot, and I were compiling a list of things we learned from the Amazon.  Well we came up with quite a few.  So if you ever decide to head to the Amazon, you should follow these few tips… 1. If […]

Posted On

11/21/13

Author

Kira Schubot

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