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    [post_date] => 2013-12-02 09:43:06
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-12-02 16:43:06
    [post_content] => Friends and families at Archer,

Welcome home! We hope that you have found new appreciation for the comforts and familiarity of home and are settled into life with a new perspective, a slightly stretched worldview.

Several years ago I made the boat ride across the dazzling jewel of Lake Atitlán to IMAP (Instituto Mesoamericana de Permacultura) to meet with Ronaldo Eleazar Lec Ajcot for the firs time. As we strolled amidst countless species of bananas, malanga, achiote, papaya, and katuc he told me about the state of agriculture in his community, about the recent war and ongoing violence, the loss of family members to the struggle for land rights, the recent arrival of electricity to San Lucas, and the myriad and dramatic changes he's seen over his short life. "What was the single greatest change you've seen Rony?" expecting him to respond by talking about electricity, the paved road, or the impact of the way. "Coffee," he replied.

The ferocious demand for coffee here in the United States and Western Europe fueled an agricultural revolution amongst farmers tending land on the fertile slopes of Santiago and Atitlán volcanoes outside of San Lucas. As a result, the milpa system of agriculture, developed over thousands of years to work in harmony with the local ecosystem was abandoned for large-scale monocropping of an agro-export. Great swaths of forest were cleared along steep slopes and soil run-off deposited huge amounts of soil humus into the lake, and migrant workers from deeper in the highlands made seasonal pilgrimages to the area increasing the intensity of social disfunction.

Rony's story emphasized two key teachings: 1) A people's relationship to land is fundamental to every aspect of their life, from individual health, to religion and economy. We as a technocratic society have exported our somewhat dysfunctional relationship to land to places like San Lucas by fueling a revolution that, in some ways at least has led to new local challenges and poverty. But most of all his story reminded me that 2) The choices we make as consumers in the economically powerful North deeply impact the livelihood strategies available to campesinos in faraway places. We "vote with our dollars" was the phrase that came through my head again and again. Bananas, coffee, sugar, palm oil, and other products that we regularly indulge in here in the States have profound and far reaching effects on communities elsewhere.

Our generation heralds the power of our global interconnection. We are able to study Japanese with a native speaker via Skype, access information from anywhere on the planet, jump on a plane and be in another continent in less than a day's time, and consume products from just about any corner of the globe at our local grocery store. With this power comes the overwhelming burden of understanding the backstory. In San Lucas we find that cup of coffee from Lake Atitlán is heavy.

This morning I am filled with pride and joy that the 17 of you made the journey to San Lucas to hear that story, to include that as a part of your own life story, and to be truly open to the joys and sorrows of those lives that are intimately and intrinsically interconnected to our own. Now you return home as more deeply informed, and personally connected global citizens to live the rest of your lives... ? How? Although the answers will not come easy, it is decidedly better to feel the weight than blunder forward in ignorance. Another quote... "if you keep living the questions, the answers will develop over time."

Here at Dragons there are many of us who have gone out into the world and come back. We too have struggled with the implications of our learnings in Guatemala and elsewhere. We too struggle with how to pick up where we left off before departure. We're always excited to get a call from past students or families grappling with some of the more complex conundrums of the return home. We hope that you will continue to check in with Liz and Ariel, Travis and Sue. We also encourage you to please reach out to us at any time: 303 413 0822 ext 13. We hope to see you again down the road, and thank you for all that your courage, openness and curiosity. Thank you parents for your support and continuous guidance. Thank you Archer administration for your desire to provide authentic experiences for your students abroad.

Warmest Regards,

Simon Hart and the Dragons Administration
    [post_title] => Interconnection
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Interconnection

Simon Hart,Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

Description

Friends and families at Archer, Welcome home! We hope that you have found new appreciation for the comforts and familiarity of home and are settled into life with a new perspective, a slightly stretched worldview. Several years ago I made the boat ride across the dazzling jewel of Lake Atitlán to IMAP (Instituto Mesoamericana de […]

Posted On

12/2/13

Author

Simon Hart

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    [post_date] => 2013-11-30 10:50:59
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-11-30 10:50:59
    [post_content] => Good morning parents and friends,

 After a last day packed full of souvenir shopping, a service learning lesson and a closing ceremony, your daughters (and their two fabulous teachers) got only a few hours of sleep before waking before sunrise to board their flight to the US.

 We have been impressed with their stamina, their willingness to continue learning and exploring every moment on our ten day course. We have loved their curiosity in the world that surrounds them and their authenticity as they wresstle with their place in it. They are taking home so much perspective and growth. They have been stretched.

 They are off, and we are sad to see them go. Most of them tired from their travels and their continuous learning. Do not be surprised if rest is what they need, and perhaps some home-cooked comfort food. Some of them have some lingering upset stomaches, that we hope pass as they settle into their normal diet at home.

 We encourage you to listen and ask questions about their experience. They are blessed to be returning to the Archer family that is supportive and will continue challenging them to make meaning of this journey.

 As instructors, we hope our role can also be ongoing. Be in touch and share with us your journey.

 With much love and respect for our 13 students, Travis and Sue.

- Ariel & Liz

 
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Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

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Students are off to LA!

Ariel + Liz,Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

Description

Good morning parents and friends,  After a last day packed full of souvenir shopping, a service learning lesson and a closing ceremony, your daughters (and their two fabulous teachers) got only a few hours of sleep before waking before sunrise to board their flight to the US.  We have been impressed with their stamina, their willingness […]

Posted On

11/30/13

Author

Ariel + Liz

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    [post_date] => 2013-11-28 20:34:36
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    [post_content] => Happy Thanksgiving from Guatemala! We have reached our final day at San Lucas Toliman on the banks of Lake Atitlan.  The girls are currently busy shopping for goodies for their 'fiesta de despedida' or good-bye party to which they have invited all of the wonderful people they have met here.  Today, the girls spent the morning at IMAP working on a project to build a sink and bring water to the village school so that students can wash their hands after using the restroom.  In the afternoon, we learned about building school, family and community gardens.  We ended our time their with a beautiful debriefing session beside the lake where the girls also learned words in the local Mayan language.  Yesterday, we took a half-an-hour trip to the nearby town of Santiago where we learned about synchretism, or the unique blending of Mayan and Catholic traditions and practices.  Tomorrow morning, we head back to Antigua where we´ll wrap up this thought-provoking course and buy any last minute goodies we'd like to bring back as gifts or souvenirs.  We look forward to seeing our families at the airport on Saturday!
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Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

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Santiago de Atitlan and good-bye to San Lucas

Travis Nesbitt,Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

Description

Happy Thanksgiving from Guatemala! We have reached our final day at San Lucas Toliman on the banks of Lake Atitlan.  The girls are currently busy shopping for goodies for their ‘fiesta de despedida’ or good-bye party to which they have invited all of the wonderful people they have met here.  Today, the girls spent the […]

Posted On

11/28/13

Author

Travis Nesbitt

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    [post_date] => 2013-11-27 08:46:26
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More pics…

Ariel and Liz,Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

Description

Here are the photos that did not go through last time!

Posted On

11/27/13

Author

Ariel and Liz

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    [post_date] => 2013-11-27 08:37:33
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    [post_content] => 

Greetings from San Lucas Toliman!

As we pass our half way point on this course it is hard to believe everything we have seen, done and learned! As instructors, we are pleased with the girls engagement and insight around all the topics we have been exploring. The past three days have been especially special for many of the girls, as they have become inspired by Permaculture and the Mayan Cosmovision. We have learned about how mayans perceive the world and pushed ourselves to think about our own wolrdviews. Through talks and a Mayan ceremony we have the privilege to see first hand how another culture defines and lives "environmental justice". Through permaculture ethics (people care, earth care,  &share the surplus) we are challenged to think about  our every day decisions from where our food originates, to where we give our surplus time and money. Our journey here in San Lucas has not been on our own, as we are joined with nine girls from a local school in San Lucas. It has been a special few days and we look forward to what is to come. Please enjoy these pictures of the following:

The girls learning from Ramiro how to build an herb snail.

Our group after finishing the construction of an herb snail.

Allie showing off her tortilla making skills

Liv grinding pumpkins seeds for our native plants lunch

We are thinking of all our friends and family, and look forward to sharing everything we have learned when we get home!

Ariel and Liz

Attached Documents

Click the link to download

http://wheretherebedragons.com/wp-content/uploads/formidable/IMG_0043-100x100.jpg
http://wheretherebedragons.com/wp-content/uploads/formidable/IMG_0046-100x100.jpg

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Pictures!

Ariel and Liz,Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

Description

Greetings from San Lucas Toliman! As we pass our half way point on this course it is hard to believe everything we have seen, done and learned! As instructors, we are pleased with the girls engagement and insight around all the topics we have been exploring. The past three days have been especially special for […]

Posted On

11/27/13

Author

Ariel and Liz

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-11-26 15:12:36
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    [post_content] => How do we guide ourselves? The girls from Archer have had the honor of exploring the Mayan cosmovision and how the Mayans use the sun and the other forces of nature to guide themselves, their relationship with the Earth and their relationships with each other.  They have also learned how this cosmovision influences the local practice of permaculture, a cultural, ethical and agricultural philosophy that emphasizes respect for the Earth, respect for humanity and the fair and equitable distribution of surplus.  Yesterday, we hiked for an hour and half around scenic lake Atitlan to reach IMAP, the Mesoamerican Permaculture Insitute where we toured the facilities and learned more about the pracitices of permaculture.  Today, we returned and used plants and seeds grown there to make our own tamales, tortillas and candies.  As a teacher, I have been so impressed and proud of the Archer girls for their curiosity, respect, humility, insight and hard work.  This course has been both transformative and enjoyable.  The girls are not only learning but they are also having great fun!
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Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

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Exploring worldviews

Travis Nesbitt,Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

Description

How do we guide ourselves? The girls from Archer have had the honor of exploring the Mayan cosmovision and how the Mayans use the sun and the other forces of nature to guide themselves, their relationship with the Earth and their relationships with each other.  They have also learned how this cosmovision influences the local […]

Posted On

11/26/13

Author

Travis Nesbitt

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    [post_date] => 2013-11-24 11:00:14
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    [post_content] => Yesterday, we learned a brief history of Guatemala.  Then, we debated the United Fruit Company situation in Guatemala during the Cold War.  We each got different perspectives, President Eisenhower, the guerrillas, etc.  Instead of just listening to the history, we got to participate in it.  We felt the emotions of the Guatemalans and the Ameicans equally as strong.  In adition we learned about how the colonization of the Maya was so different than other civilizations.  Because the Maya did not have one central government, it was difficult to conquer them.  Also, the Spainiards gave up fairly quickly at first because they did not find gold and silver.
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Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

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Guatemalan History

Syd, Ari, and Kimia,Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

Description

Yesterday, we learned a brief history of Guatemala.  Then, we debated the United Fruit Company situation in Guatemala during the Cold War.  We each got different perspectives, President Eisenhower, the guerrillas, etc.  Instead of just listening to the history, we got to participate in it.  We felt the emotions of the Guatemalans and the Ameicans […]

Posted On

11/24/13

Author

Syd, Ari, and Kimia

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-11-24 10:58:39
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    [post_content] => Yesterday we went to a macadamia nut farm called Valhalla. We learned the process of picking, sorting, and packing the nuts. We also had these amazing macadamia nut pancakes with macadamia nut butter on top, it was delicious! It was an incredible experience to learn about the process of the macadamia nut and and we got the pleasure of buying some of the products made on the farm ( for example chocolates, coffe, lotion, oil). There are many different ways to use the macadamia nut and this farm was all natural and organic. They also gave trees to communities in need which was really cool. Overall it was a great experience and we learned so many interesting facts about the macadamia nut.
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Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

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Macadamia Nut Farm

Lucie Freemamn, Eva Bombeck, Allie Simon,Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

Description

Yesterday we went to a macadamia nut farm called Valhalla. We learned the process of picking, sorting, and packing the nuts. We also had these amazing macadamia nut pancakes with macadamia nut butter on top, it was delicious! It was an incredible experience to learn about the process of the macadamia nut and and we […]

Posted On

11/24/13

Author

Lucie Freemamn, Eva Bombeck, Allie Simon

WP_Post Object
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    [post_content] => The food in Guatemala has been amazing so far. On the first day in Antigua we went to a great little restaurent and had eggs, beans and cheese. We also a fantastic drink made from oatmeal. On the second day we went to a macadamea nut farm and had amazing pancakes and rich hot chocolate and coffe. We then took a tour of the farm and got to try salted macadamea nuts and white chocolates with nuts in them. Everything was delicous. For lunch we went to rainbow cafe and eat great sandwiches and soups, we then celebrated a birthday with delicious cheesecake. For dinner we went to a local pizza place and got to watch a documentry about the effects of mining in Guatemala. All the food so far has been amazing and I am looking forward to eating more amazing things while we are here.
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Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

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The food in Guatemala

Isabel Malina ,Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

Description

The food in Guatemala has been amazing so far. On the first day in Antigua we went to a great little restaurent and had eggs, beans and cheese. We also a fantastic drink made from oatmeal. On the second day we went to a macadamea nut farm and had amazing pancakes and rich hot chocolate […]

Posted On

11/24/13

Author

Isabel Malina

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    [post_content] => We finished our last day in Antigua, Guatemala with pizza and a documentary, "El Orro O La Vida" AFter we watched the documentary, we were very fortunate to have a question and answer session with the documentary director. Some of us even bought the film to be enjoyed in The United States, you can also view it on youtube. The documentary depicted the negative impact that the mining industry has on the indigenous communities of Guatemala and their land. In these communitites, the mother earth is the basis of their culture and existence. The documentary portrayed how the pollution from the mining affected not only the land but the health of the people as well. The opening scene was of an older woman speaking to her priest about her bleeding eyes and how this was never an issue earlier in her life when the mine was not there. After this scene, our group was completely absorbed in the film, the director even commented after the viewing that we barely blinked.
This film relates to the objectives of our trip because it conveys some social and environmental injustices that are impacting Guatemala. Our group would never have had the opportunity to learn about this signficant issue if we had not come to Guatemala. We discovered that we all had a passion for this issue despite being oblivious to it prior to the documentary. Travel opens our eyes not only to new beauties of the world but new tragedies.
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Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

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The Price of Gold

Emerson Krull, Chloe Hallinan,Guatemala Archer - 2 weeks

Description

We finished our last day in Antigua, Guatemala with pizza and a documentary, “El Orro O La Vida” AFter we watched the documentary, we were very fortunate to have a question and answer session with the documentary director. Some of us even bought the film to be enjoyed in The United States, you can also […]

Posted On

11/24/13

Author

Emerson Krull, Chloe Hallinan

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