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Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester


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    [post_content] => Jallalla!!!  Saludos from your local instructor!!!  Imaynalla mis amigos.

Hi everybody, my name is Alan Condori Flores. I am really happy and excited to meet you all and together make this trip the most amazing and fantastic experience of our lives. Congratulation for taking the first step to be a traveler and discover the many wonders that exist in this marvelous world, and thank you for choosing Andes and Amazon.  It is the place where I come from (the Bolivian Andes)and I am really happy to be part of your experience in these following months which are going to be full of adventures and a lot of learning by experience. The only requirement that I will ask is that you bring a positive attitude and full energy with you. The mountains or Apus (the spirit of the mountains  as the locals call them) in the Andes and the jungle in the Amazon are waiting for you.

I just want to say get ready for this amazing trip in order to interact with the places and talk with the local people, both here in Bolivia and Peru. Welcome to Andes and Amazon Fall 2013.

And now I would love to introduce myself.

I was born and raised in a mining town and thanks to my mother I was introduced to travel with her to the countryside to trade with other communities, which is how I added Quechua, one of the first of many additional languages, to my linguistic tool belt. I studied high school in Cochabamba (La Llajta as we call it. It means the hometown, because, once you are there, you feel as you are at home) It is a place where I have lived around 6 years. You are lucky, this semester you are going to do your longest home stay with local people there.

After high school I completed my obligatory military service for one year where I learned about mountain survival skills, first aid and emergency response, skills that have served me well as a mountain guide. I attended university at San Francisco Xavier of Chuquisaca in Sucre where I studied tourism, culture, and languages; now I speak Spanish, Quechua, English and French. I also had the opportunity to live with and study the diverse indigenous traditions thriving in Bolivia and Peru today both in the highlands, the Andes, and the lowland Amazon.  This is going to be my sixth program as a Dragons instructor in the Andes and Amazon.

I am really excited to share with you my culture, our lifestyle, and our worldview.  We will share some ceremonies for the Pachamama, ‘mother earth’. We thank the pachamama for our life, our family, friends, food, and energy because she takes care of us everywhere we go, she is always there no matter where we are.

See you soon travelers,  espero que esten emocionados por visitar mi pais y tener la major experienca de sus vidas. Jallalla a ustedes!!!

 

Alan
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Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

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Imaynalla from your Instructor!

Alan Condori Flores,Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Jallalla!!!  Saludos from your local instructor!!!  Imaynalla mis amigos. Hi everybody, my name is Alan Condori Flores. I am really happy and excited to meet you all and together make this trip the most amazing and fantastic experience of our lives. Congratulation for taking the first step to be a traveler and discover the many wonders that […]

Posted On

07/26/13

Author

Alan Condori Flores

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    [post_content] => Dear Semester Students and Parents:

We would like to call your attention to the rabies pre-exposure inoculation. Please reference page 14 of the Parent Support Kit for the following response:

Question: Should we get the pre-exposure for rabies?

Answer: Ask a professional physician. (That’s our answer for most inoculation-related questions.) We can tell you, however, that Rabies is a uniformly fatal disease transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal.  In the developing world, dogs are the most common carriers of rabies.  Rabies pre-exposure vaccine exists and is effective, but even with these vaccines, exposure to rabies requires follow-up therapy. The pre-exposure vaccination does not eliminate the need for additional therapy after a rabies exposure; however, it simplifies therapy by eliminating the need for human rabies immune globulin (HRIG). HRIG, suggested by the CDC as part of the post-exposure treatment, is NOT AVAILABLE in many developing countries, and families who wish to treat potential exposure with HRIG may have to evacuate to a country where HRIG is available. Students who have been inoculated with pre-exposure vaccine will not need to evacuate if bitten. Students who have not been inoculated with pre-exposure vaccine and who require evacuation will incur evacuation costs not covered by Dragons.

Our experiences in Latin America have shown that dogs are a prevalent risk that we actively mitigate through training and other proactive measures. However, we have also learned that in the case of a dog bite, HRIG is not readily available in most Latin American countries. Therefore, depending on the circumstances of the bite, students without the rabies pre-exposure inoculations would likely need to be evacuated to the US where HRIG is available. This cost would not be covered by Dragons evacuation insurance, and it could compromise a student’s ability to finish the program. On the other hand, students who already have rabies pre-exposure inoculations would not need a HRIG treatment in the event of a dog bite; instead, students with pre-exposure vaccination can safely rely on the available in-country post-exposure treatment.

While Dragons cannot formally recommend any inoculation, we want to clearly communicate the benefits of the pre-exposure vaccine, available through any travel clinic and through most family physicians, since in the rare event of an animal bite it may allow a student to remain in-country without program disruption and additional expense.
Sincerely,
Dragons Administration

 
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Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester, Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

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Important information about Rabies Inoculation

Dragons Administration,Andes & Amazon "A" Fall 2013 Semester, Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Dear Semester Students and Parents: We would like to call your attention to the rabies pre-exposure inoculation. Please reference page 14 of the Parent Support Kit for the following response: Question: Should we get the pre-exposure for rabies? Answer: Ask a professional physician. (That’s our answer for most inoculation-related questions.) We can tell you, however, […]

Posted On

07/22/13

Author

Dragons Administration

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-17 16:29:47
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    [post_content] => Dear Semester Students and Parents:

We would like to call your attention to the rabies pre-exposure inoculation. Please reference page 14 of the Parent Support Kit for the following response:

 

Question: Should we get the pre-exposure for rabies?

Answer: Ask a professional physician. (That’s our answer for most inoculation-related questions.) We can tell you, however, that Rabies is a uniformly fatal disease transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal.  In the developing world, dogs are the most common carriers of rabies.  Rabies pre-exposure vaccine exists and is effective, but even with these vaccines, exposure to rabies requires follow-up therapy. The pre-exposure vaccination does not eliminate the need for additional therapy after a rabies exposure; however, it simplifies therapy by eliminating the need for human rabies immune globulin (HRIG). HRIG, suggested by the CDC as part of the post-exposure treatment, is NOT AVAILABLE in many developing countries, and families who wish to treat potential exposure with HRIG may have to evacuate to a country where HRIG is available. Students who have been inoculated with pre-exposure vaccine will not need to evacuate if bitten. Students who have not been inoculated with pre-exposure vaccine and who require evacuation will incur evacuation costs not covered by Dragons.

Our experiences in Latin America have shown that dogs are a prevalent risk that we actively mitigate through training and other proactive measures. However, we have also learned that in the case of a dog bite, HRIG is not readily available in most Latin American countries. Therefore, depending on the circumstances of the bite, students without the rabies pre-exposure inoculations would likely need to be evacuated to the US where HRIG is available. This cost would not be covered by Dragons evacuation insurance, and it could compromise a student’s ability to finish the program. On the other hand, students who already have rabies pre-exposure inoculations would not need a HRIG treatment in the event of a dog bite; instead, students with pre-exposure vaccination can safely rely on the available in-country post-exposure treatment.

While Dragons cannot formally recommend any inoculation, we want to clearly communicate the benefits of the pre-exposure vaccine, available through any travel clinic and through most family physicians, since in the rare event of an animal bite it may allow a student to remain in-country without program disruption and additional expense.
Sincerely,
Dragons Administration
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Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

View post

Important information about Rabies Inoculation

Dragons Administration,Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Dear Semester Students and Parents: We would like to call your attention to the rabies pre-exposure inoculation. Please reference page 14 of the Parent Support Kit for the following response:   Question: Should we get the pre-exposure for rabies? Answer: Ask a professional physician. (That’s our answer for most inoculation-related questions.) We can tell you, […]

Posted On

07/17/13

Author

Dragons Administration

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-17 16:22:55
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    [post_content] => Hello upcoming Amazon travelers!

As you are all likely beginning to visit travel doctors and make a plan for vaccinations and medication, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide some additional information, especially with regards to malaria prophylaxis.

Dragons has no specific stipulations or requirements regarding malaria and you should know that it is up to your discretion. We hope the following information from us can supplement info you’ve already received.

As a caveat, and in line with all of our literature, please consult your travel doctor for ALL medical recommendations. We do our best to provide clear information, but also recognize that we at Dragons are not medical professionals and cannot give specific medical advice. This is to be worked out with your doctor, but we encourage you to come to them with questions because it is not uncommon for many doctors to offer blanket-prescriptions while not considering the specific details of their client’s travels.

Also note that many malaria prophylactics have side effects that should be considered and tested before committing to 13 weeks of travel in a foreign country. In addition, it is important to note that medications for malaria do not prevent you from contracting the disease, but they do lessen the associated symptoms.
An important way we can help in your decision with your travel doctor is to give you a very clear breakdown of the regions and altitudes where we will be, which are the two determining factors in coming up with a plan for malaria prophylaxis. And we can also provide informative references and ultimately, we are in full support of whatever regimen your travel doctor has prescribed.

THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL REFERENCES
The CDC website for Bolivia (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/bolivia.aspx) states the following:
“Areas of Bolivia with Malaria: All areas <2,500 m (<8,202 ft) in the following departments: Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Pando, Santa Cruz, and Tarija. None in city of La Paz.”

And for Peru the following
“Areas of Peru with Malaria: All departments <2000 m (6,561 ft) except none in Arequipa, Moquegua, Puno, and Tacna. Present in Puerto Maldonado. No malaria in highland tourist areas (Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca).”

OUR ITINERARIES
Our semester will begin in the La Paz and/or Cochabamba departments at altitudes between 2600 and 5000 meters above sea level. Our travels will then take us to various parts of the mountains in the La Paz department or perhaps to Peru in the Cuzco and Madre de Dios Departments at similar altitudes (over 2600 meters). Your groups will descend to the Amazon Basin sometime in the first eight weeks of the course and until that time we will be at altitudes higher than 2600 meters. Once we have descended to the Amazon lowlands students should expect to spend a maximum of three weeks at altitudes between 400 and 1600 meters (either in the La Paz, Cochabamba and/or Beni Departments of Bolivia or in the Madre de Dios and Cuzco departments of Peru).

PLAN
While we cannot give specific medical advice, note that the CDC does say the cities of Cochabamba, La Paz, Sorata, Cuzco, and other areas we will travel outside of the immediate Amazon are at altitudes that are above malarial risk areas.

Additionally, we can plan for the specific day that we drop into the Amazon lowlands and can advise each of you in advance to begin your medications. And then when we come back up to the mountains, the divide is very clear as well and we can come up with a plan for finishing the prescription.

Our total time in malarial risk zones, according to the CDC, will be no more than 3 weeks.

Please talk to your travel doctor about this, bringing a print-up of this yak as well as the sample itinerary offered on our website and in our catalog and see what they recommend. We will work with whatever recommendations your doctor makes.

VISAS AND MOSQUITOES
It is imperative that you bring an ORIGINAL COPY of your Yellow Fever Vaccination Card (the yellow paper that many people just staple to their passport) for entry to Bolivia.  This is not just to get across the border in Bolivia for your visa, but also to board the international flight from Miami to La Paz.  American Airlines has been known to be a stickler on this one.

We hope this helps, and please send us an e-mail or give us a call if you have any questions. We hope all your other preparation is going well!

Best,

Julianne Chandler and the Dragons Administration
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Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

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Information on malaria in the Andes and Amazon

Julianne Chandler,Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Hello upcoming Amazon travelers! As you are all likely beginning to visit travel doctors and make a plan for vaccinations and medication, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide some additional information, especially with regards to malaria prophylaxis. Dragons has no specific stipulations or requirements regarding malaria and you should know that it is […]

Posted On

07/17/13

Author

Julianne Chandler

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-16 18:00:24
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-16 18:00:24
    [post_content] => Hello Friends and Parents!

Our Yak Yak bulletin boards provide a wonderful place for students to post reflections, insights, and observations, and share their journey with those who are vicariously participating from home.  The boards also serve as a great “e-memoir” for students to return to post-course to observe their growth, revisit ideas, and renew their inspiration.  Of course, Yak Yak is equally valuable to potential Dragons students and families, who can dig in and gain honest insight into past field experiences.

For these reasons, we prefer to reserve our bulletin boards for postings that are of interest to the entire viewing audience.  As most groups will have regular access to web-based email services, we request that personal notes to individual students be sent to students’ personal email accounts.  If you would like to share a message with the entire group, post an article that is relevant to the country your student is traveling in, or submit your own composed reflection that is relevant to the country and/or applicable to the viewing interest of all general observers of Yak Yak, we invite you to post!

If there is anything that you would like to communicate to Dragons’ administrative staff, please email your question/comment directly to info@wheretherebedragons.com and we’ll respond as quickly as possible. In addition, you are always welcome to phone our office 800-982-9203.

Thank you again for your active interest in the upcoming adventures!

Sincerely,

Dragons Administration
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Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

View post

For Friends and Parents: A Note on Yakking

Admissions1,Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Hello Friends and Parents! Our Yak Yak bulletin boards provide a wonderful place for students to post reflections, insights, and observations, and share their journey with those who are vicariously participating from home.  The boards also serve as a great “e-memoir” for students to return to post-course to observe their growth, revisit ideas, and renew […]

Posted On

07/16/13

Author

Admissions1

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-16 17:33:55
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    [post_content] => To all Participants:

It’s great to have the yak boards coming alive!  This is a very exciting time of year for all of us, and while we know that you are anxious to meet your traveling companions, we have a request for you: please don’t direct your fellow travelers to social-networking sites before the course.  Let us explain: our interest here at Dragons is in providing you with the best experience possible, and over the past 20 years, we have learned that that you will get the most out of your Dragons program if you’re able to make fresh introductions on the day that your course begins.  We welcome you to introduce yourself here (without photos, please), and we hope that you will use this site to voice your goals and ideas for this course and to begin forming a group identity.  But we’d like to avoid students forming any sort of “cliques” online before even departing on this program.   We certainly know that you can all find each other on Facebook quite easily, and while we cannot (and don’t want to) forbid such networking, we encourage you to abstain from doing so and invite you to show up to meet your group without pre-judgment and with a willingness to expose yourself to everything new, different, wild and other.  We wish you the best as you prepare for your adventure!

Sincerely,

The Dragons Admin
    [post_title] => Social Networking: A Request from WTBD
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Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

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Social Networking: A Request from WTBD

Admissions1,Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

To all Participants: It’s great to have the yak boards coming alive!  This is a very exciting time of year for all of us, and while we know that you are anxious to meet your traveling companions, we have a request for you: please don’t direct your fellow travelers to social-networking sites before the course.  […]

Posted On

07/16/13

Author

Admissions1

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    [post_content] => Welcome to your Where There Be Dragons Yak Yak bulletin board! As you’ll soon discover, this board is a valuable forum for self-introductions, for building community, and for addressing any and all questions that arise during the upcoming months.

Until the start of your course, this will be THE place to find important notices related to your course’s development and itinerary design. It’ll also be the place to learn about your fellow students and instructors. So please, post a personal introduction! It may reflect any number of things about you, like your interests, reasons for choosing Dragons, independent study considerations, or any other thought or inspiration. Please also consider posting your packing and prep-related questions here. Don’t be shy – if you have a question, it’s likely that someone else in your group has been wondering the same thing! Your instructors have a lot of experience and many, many tips that they’re excited to share with you. So please, ask away.

Setting up the Yak board, in many ways, marks the start of your course. It’s the first step in establishing the community that will support you throughout the journey that lies ahead. Together, you will learn to walk, dress, eat, talk and think in an entirely new way. You will see landscapes that will cause your jaw to drop, and meet people that will touch, change and inspire your life forever. Although your course’s official start date is months away, we would like to remind you that your adventure actually began the day you made the choice to join Dragons. Choosing to make your dream a reality took immense amounts of courage, and all of us congratulate you on taking that first, and most important, step.

Welcome to Dragons. We’re excited to share in your adventure!

Sincerely,

Dragons’ Administrative Staff
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Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

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Welcome to your Yak Board!

Admissions1,Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Welcome to your Where There Be Dragons Yak Yak bulletin board! As you’ll soon discover, this board is a valuable forum for self-introductions, for building community, and for addressing any and all questions that arise during the upcoming months. Until the start of your course, this will be THE place to find important notices related […]

Posted On

07/16/13

Author

Admissions1

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    [post_content] => Dear friends,

Welcome to the Andes & Amazon Fall 2013 semester!!  I hope this letter finds you in the throes of summertime, enjoying the long days and escapades of mid-July.  As we begin to look towards the fall I imagine that flutter of excitement has begun to take flight in your stomachs, inciting day-dreams and questions about the journey to come.

In just over 7 weeks you will step off the plane at the El Alto Airport, the highest international airport in the world, to the embrace of your instructors and a magical journey that will challenge and change you in marvelous, unforeseen ways. As you begin to prepare for your semester in Bolivia and Peru I invite you to use this space, the Yak Yak board, to begin to build community with your instructors and fellow students and voice any questions or concerns you may have. Both in the pre-course process and during course this will be an important venue for getting to know each other, sharing information, and then translating your journey to friends and family back home. I encourage you to make use of this forum to set intention and build motivation for your upcoming adventure.

Here I would like to introduce myself as well as share a few things with you about our course. The Andes and Amazon program is very close to my heart, and I honor each and every one of you for your courage in signing up for an experience of this kind. With Dragons we strive to step off the beaten path, to jump into the unknown and embrace dramatic places and breathtaking landscapes. In this process you will be immersed in the magic and beauty of South America. You will also discover valuable things about yourselves. I congratulate you in taking that important and brave first step!

I am the Program Director of the Andes & Amazon semester course, and this fall I will also be working as an instructor with Group A.  We are lucky enough to offer two distinct courses next semester, which means we will have two instructor teams.  As I’m sure you are all eager to know which group you will be a part of and who your instructors will be, we ask for a bit of patience as we finalize our teams and delineate student groups.  In the meantime please feel free to be in touch with me directly or post queries and letters of introduction on the Yak Yak board.  I have been involved with the Andes & Amazon program for close to three years and am 100% available to participants and families in the pre-course planning process.  Soon enough we will let you know which group you will be on for the coming semester.

The Setting:

Currently Bolivia is closing out its annual celebration of Inti Raymi, or the Aymara New Year, in which the Andean people honor the God of the Sun.  Falling on the winter solstice (summer solstice in the United States) Inti Raymi is the most important celebration of the year, and this past June marked 5,521 years on the Aymara Calendar.  It is customary for people to travel to ancient ruins on the solstice and celebrate the sun at first light as its golden rays fan across the horizon.  For this reason many Incan and Pre-Incan sites are constructed around a sacred arch that is perfectly aligned to illuminate the first rays of the sun at dawn on June 21st.  I have had the opportunity to observe this ritual and it is a powerful testament to the rich and enduring traditions of the Central Andes.

Just after the solstice, on the 23rd, people gather all across Bolivia and Peru to celebrate la Noche de San Juan, in which fire is used to further harness the purifying energy of the sun.  Families and neighborhoods gather around large bonfires to share food and burn unwanted items from the previous year, thus literally and symbolically burning away the weight of the past year.  This celebration sets the tone for good blessings in the coming year and serves to infuse warmth into the coming spring.  It also marks the beginning of planting season on the agricultural cycle.

You will be arriving in Bolivia on the tail-end of these celebrations, the end of the dry season and an ideal time to explore the majestic peaks and fertile valleys of the Andes.  Bolivia and Peru are known for being lands of extremes; massive snow-capped peaks descend at an astonishing rate into the lush lowlands tropics, where rivers function as the only roads and jungle communities live much as they did 500 years ago. Bolivia is home to the family of Simon I. Patiño, a decadent tin baron and one of the wealthiest men of all time, in addition to claiming one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. It is these extremes that make this region of the world a fascinating and sometimes tragic place of study.

The setting for your course will be the city of Cochabamba, situated in the heart of Bolivia in an agriculturally-rich valley between the high Andes and the lush Amazon below. At 8,500 feet, Cochabamba is sheltered by mountains on one side but also boasts a temperate climate year-round. Temperatures in Cochabamba, where you will be participating in your longest homestay, generally stay in the mid-seventies during the day but expect cool nights and some rain as you head into the last month of your course.

Known for its vibrant political activism, Cochabamba is an ideal place for delving into Independent Study Projects, daily Spanish classes with our excellent local teachers, and nestling into life in a semi-rural Quechua community where our Program House is based. You will spend approximately four weeks of your course living with a local family outside of Cochabamba, an extremely rewarding opportunity for getting to know a local community and immersing yourself in the culture. From Cochabamba we will depart on extended excursions – into the high Andean peaks, around Lake Titicaca to the colorful communities and historically vibrant landscapes of Peru, and down into the lush Amazonian tropics. Your journey will be highlighted by the extraordinary diversity – cultural, political, spiritual and ecological – that defines this region of the world.

A bit about me:

I first came to Bolivia as a young girl and have been captivated by this part of the world ever since.  In addition to my work with Dragons, I have worked as a Program Coordinator for the Foundation for Sustainable Development in Cochabamba, have participated in a range of sustainable development projects across Latin America, and have led experiential learning programs on three continents. After completing my Masters degree in Development Studies I moved back to Bolivia in 2009, which has been my home ever since. I live in Cochabamba with my Bolivian husband and a cat named Quilla (moon in Quechua), and this will be my fifth semester as an instructor on the Andes & Amazon program.  Dragons continues to nourish my enduring passion for learning, adventure and personal discovery.

A magical world awaits you; a world of endless beauty and adventure, of life-long friendships and personal discovery, of shamans and ceremony, jungle and laughter, of dizzying peaks and profound questions. This world awaits you, but it is also a journey of your own making. I want to encourage you to make the most of this dazzling opportunity. Your time on course will be both a gift and a challenge. It is my hope that each of us may embrace this gift with humility and gratitude, with an open heart and eager mind, and with intentionality for a powerful and successful experience. I assure you, you won’t regret it.

Un abrazo,

Julianne Chandler

andsandamazon@wheretherebedragons.com

“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.”

-Aleister Crowley

 

 

 

 
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Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

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A Warm Welcome from your Program Director!

Julianne Chandler,Andes & Amazon "B" Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Dear friends, Welcome to the Andes & Amazon Fall 2013 semester!!  I hope this letter finds you in the throes of summertime, enjoying the long days and escapades of mid-July.  As we begin to look towards the fall I imagine that flutter of excitement has begun to take flight in your stomachs, inciting day-dreams and […]

Posted On

07/16/13

Author

Julianne Chandler

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