Photo of the Week
Indonesia
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2014-12-08 06:37:42
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-12-08 06:37:42
    [post_content] => Dear (former) students—by which I mean future friends, collaborators, sources of inspiration, change makers, critical minds, cross-cultural bridge builders:

I'm writing to you from Rome, where I'm staying just a few blocks from the Vatican. Yesterday, when I arrived from Indonesia, I got to my hotel early and spontaneously went to Saint Peter's Cathedral just in time to have Sunday morning audience with the Pope. What a life!

No doubt because I am in the center of the religion of my ancestors, I've been thinking about my experience of going to church as a child. Sitting down this morning to write to you, I find myself remembering something our reverend would say at the end of each Sunday.

"The worship is over. The service now begins."

As a kid, these closing words always puzzled my unseasoned intellect. "Isn't this the service? Isn't it ending now? Why would he say it was beginning as we walk out?" Today, however, at the close of our magical three-month journey together in Indonesia, this is what I would like to say: The trip is over. The service now begins.

The last three months have been a training in service. Go to the heart of Dragons' Core Values—Global Citizenship, Leadership, and Awareness of Self—and you will find service in each one. Remember the incredible love of your host families in Indonesia, the connectivity and closeness of the communities where we lived. Contemplate the times we instructors were there for you, offered you advice, cleaned your wounds, or challenged the way you see the world. Return to the urgency you felt as you learned about deforestation, coral bleaching, climate change, human rights. All of this and more has prepared you to return to America as a servant of the world.

As each of you experiment with how to integrate your experiences, growth, new knowledge and new friendships into your lives in America, try to see how everything you do can be an act of service. When you struggle to integrate your new identification with people living in poverty into your privileged lives in America, know that your struggle is a form of service. When you share your wiser, more conscious self with friends and family, know that your sharing is a form of service. When you smile at a stranger and strike up conversations with everyone you meet—like Indonesians do—know that your smile and generosity of spirit are forms of service. When you find yourself frustrated with people's lack of awareness of the social, economic, and environmental consequences of their actions try not to be angry or judgmental. Do not condemn them. Do not fall into despair. Ask questions. Surround them with love. Know that you can only raise a person's consciousness if you approach them as a servant of their wisdom. Because consciousness-raising, too, is an act of service.

I'll leave you with that for now. Our conversations this semester about all of the above and more were only the beginning. You know that. The trip may now be over but our collective work for this world has only just begun!

Sending love to you and your families from Roma,

Matteo
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Indonesia

View post

The Service Now Begins…

Matt Colaciello,Indonesia

Description

Dear (former) students—by which I mean future friends, collaborators, sources of inspiration, change makers, critical minds, cross-cultural bridge builders: I’m writing to you from Rome, where I’m staying just a few blocks from the Vatican. Yesterday, when I arrived from Indonesia, I got to my hotel early and spontaneously went to Saint Peter’s Cathedral just in time to […]

Posted On

12/8/14

Author

Matt Colaciello

Category

Indonesia

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    [post_title] => Safe Travels Onward!
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View post

Safe Travels Onward!

Dragons Field Support,Indonesia

Description

Posted On

12/5/14

Author

Dragons Field Support

Category

Indonesia

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    [post_date] => 2014-12-05 09:44:22
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    [post_content] => Hi families and friends!

Team Indo has boarding their International flights! They are all looking forwards to be home, meet families and friends.

Many thanks! ( terima kasih!)

instructor
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Indonesia

View post

Team Indo has boarding their international flights!

instructor,Indonesia

Description

Hi families and friends! Team Indo has boarding their International flights! They are all looking forwards to be home, meet families and friends. Many thanks! ( terima kasih!) instructor

Posted On

12/5/14

Author

instructor

Category

Indonesia

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    [post_content] => Dear Indonesia semester families,

It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure in Indonesia! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their plane back home. Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families:

Returning Flight:
December 6th, 2014
Cathay Pacific #798
Depart: Jakarta (CGK) 12:05am
Arrive: Hong Kong (HKG) 5:40am

December 6th, 2014
Cathay Pacific #898
Depart: Hong Kong (HKG) 10:05am
Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 6:40am

If you have any questions or concerns about the return – and you’re calling outside of our normal office hours – please leave a message at 800-982-9203 x 130.  Should you need to reach our staff during students’ return travel days (outside of normal office hours), please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078.

Many thanks,

Dragons Administration
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Indonesia

View post

Return Group Flight Reminder

Dragons Administration,Indonesia

Description

Dear Indonesia semester families, It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure in Indonesia! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their plane back home. Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families: Returning Flight: December 6th, 2014 Cathay […]

Posted On

12/1/14

Author

Dragons Administration

Category

Indonesia

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    [post_date] => 2014-11-30 19:29:06
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    [post_content] => We don't exactly know where we all will be in the future but here are our hopes.

Larkin: 10 days - "In boulder, co, repainting my childhood bedroom, going to coffee shops and researching the world"

10 Months - "Starting 2nd semester at middlebury college, looking forward to cross country ski season in Vermont, still going to coffee shops and getting passionate, active and invigorated about the world"

10 Years - "Working somewhere in Asia, learning from people and places, seeking out beauty, participating in social activism, and finding the pathways to live life intentionally, environmentally, and with all the joy and purpose that comes with good work"

Gwen: 10 Days - "I will be in philly, pa, curled up to my dog Raina hopefully watching the snow fall."

10 Months - "I'll be starting college."

10 Years - "Loving life and doing something with art"

Stephanie: 10 Days - "I will be enjoying a perfectly roasted turkey with my parents on our belated thanksgiving."

10 Months - "I will be starting my second semester at Middlebury"

10 Years - "Either being a professional underwater basket weaver while exploring the world"

Isabelle H: 10 Days - "at home with family and friends, snuggling with my puppies"

10 Months - "Starting college at Tufts"

10 Years - "Figuring my life out, hopefully some place amazing"

Erin: 10 Days - "Eating a nice meal from my lovely family"

10 Months - "Hopefully starting some form of school"

10 Years - "Either traveling or teaching at an elementary school"

Ashley: 10 Days - "with my family and puppies sitting by the fire sharing stories about Indonesia"

10 Months - "Starting my second semester at middlebury and exploring Vermont"

10 Years - "Hopefully doing work that makes the world a better place and traveling"

Isabelle W: 10 Days - "sitting down to a home made family dinner sharing my pictures and stories from Indonesia"

10 Months - "Starting college at the University of Toronto"

10 Years - "Having some sort of degree in medicine/conservation traveling the world, helping people, plants and animals"

Crissy: 10 Days - "eating good food at home with my family by the fire"

10 Months - "Eating good food in New Orleans starting school at Tulane University"

10 Years - "Eating good food and hopefully traveling the world, doing work I love"

Hope: 10 Days - "Eating sushi take out with my family, watching all of the action movies I have missed"

10 Months - "Hopefully starting my first semester of college in a new state"

10 Years - "Ending my last few years of studying medicine and working at medical clinics around the world"

Craig: 10 Days - "sleeping"

10 Months - "At school in St. Pete, FL"

10 Years - "I don't know."

Bubby: 10 Days - "laying on my couch with my family watching movies while it's snowing outside"

10 Months - "Starting school at Savannah College of Art and Design"

10 Years - "Living in Portland, Oregon, quitting a design job at Nike to start my own company making shoes"

Matt: 10 days - "I'm going to be en route from Rome to the tiny village my ancestors are from in Italy on an adventure with my mom."

10 Months - "I'm going to be planting a garden in California or India, celebrating finally settling in after a decade of incredible travels."

10 Years - "hopefully being a really great dad and working on a combination of social justice issues, performance art, Buddhist practice, and education—exactly as I hoped I would be from the time I was 16 or so"

Jen: 10 Days - "I'm going to be in Bali wandering through temples in the jungle and doing yoga on the beach, contemplating how much I miss my students."

10 Months - "I would like to be working throughout all of the Dragons programs setting up conservation and nature focused projects that inspire students to gain a deeper understanding of our connection."

10 Years - "I will be running my own initiative called "Women For Wildlife" that empowers women around the world who are dedicated to wildlife conservation."

Rita: 10 Days - "chill in jogja"

10 Months - "in the jungle again playing with cuscus"

10 years - "traveling to America to visit everyone"
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Indonesia

View post

10 Days, 10 Months, 10 Years

Bubby Vernon,Indonesia

Description

We don’t exactly know where we all will be in the future but here are our hopes. Larkin: 10 days – “In boulder, co, repainting my childhood bedroom, going to coffee shops and researching the world” 10 Months – “Starting 2nd semester at middlebury college, looking forward to cross country ski season in Vermont, still […]

Posted On

11/30/14

Author

Bubby Vernon

Category

Indonesia

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    [post_date] => 2014-11-30 19:24:26
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    [post_content] => We’re deep in the rain forest of Seram, one of the larger islands in Maluku. These shores are the origin place of unique and wild tastes like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg- edible experiences so valuable that they brought the first concepts of capitalism into the world. Here men discovered, in a time long before Islam or Christianity, that they could sell the plants that grew in isolation on their land to other islands. Soon Malukans were sailing all the way to India, then further on to Rome, and then the Dutch began to sail to Maluku.

Even with all this capitalism, quote ‘civilization’ never made it past the ports of Ambon. Somehow the center of this island has remained unconquered by the cement and dust of modern man. Tribal peoples can still walk through the rainforest, accustomed and attuned to its danger and beauty. They still live in this place, surviving, loving, and dying here, free to speak their native language and to wonder the thoughts their people have wondered for thousands upon thousands of years. In other words; they are the same as us, except that their street lamps are bioluminescence in the ground, their showers are cold fresh mountain waterfalls, and their perfume is that of a thousand bright flowers clinging to the branches of a single tree, enveloped in a cloud of butterflies. Their feet are wide and their toes move like sturdy, undulating fingers, gripping earth and rock to steady the walker’s stride, just as ours would be had we never thought to imprison them in shoes and rather had let them grow tough and strong. I have never met these people, but I have heard of them from the guides of Masihulan and I see the threads of that life still present in the lives of the people here. I have also seen their place and walked through their forest, though my feet were in shoes. I have too few words in my mind to describe this rainforest well. It is simply too large, too beautiful. It speaks to me of majesty.

To this day, majesty is a concept that holds me in the heart much more than in the mind. It is so difficult to capture in these words – in the language of the mind. Maybe majesty starts with the air. It certainly has something to do with breath. There’s an indescribable quality to it, as with so many important things. It seems the experience of majesty itself reflects the unconquerable, untrammeled awe of the beheld in through the eyes of the beholder, so that the mind can mirror this raw beauty as a sensation in the heart.

I have found majesty is here, in the moment of thought upon realizing beauty, in the joy that follows, and then again waiting like the gift of a sweet welcome home each time the memory returns. I've found it here in the heart and mind and there in the place of its birth, as it is really only a product, and effect of a great expansive beauty. To me, it is the awe that we feel when we brush against those indescribable, big things that feel like something greater. Something so infinitely large and more important than ourselves, so strong and secure in its existence, filled with beauty and age and life.

There is nothing like waking up in a rainforest canopy. Nothing to compare it to, nothing to win over it, so few words to describe it. But even then, as the sun rose, even in that momentary experience of majesty I thought what I was seeing was somehow permanent. Of all things on earth, this existentially beautiful natural wonder deserves to be eternal. To my fleeting mind, it feels like its eternal. I wish with all my heart this were true, that it was somehow indestructible. But I know now that this great forest is like the Cuscus calling in the dawn light, followed swiftly by the gentle stirring of Cockatoos and Hornbills and Lorikeets and bees and bats and all the other beautiful, unique conscious creatures. These places are like the animals that inhabit them. They are endangered. So too, the human experience of majesty is endangered.

It makes me wonder - when this rainforest is gone, what will man do? When we cannot gawk, humbled, and stand in realization that we are so small and so strange and so much less important in all our capacities and capabilities than this – the forest – that has breathed for millions of years, watched millions of sunrises, supported billions of life forms and now is threatened with complete annihilation. Brought now to die, broken, shuddering into nonexistence because of the greed of our species. What will man do when he cannot look at the stars and wonder if there is something greater than himself? When he cannot have that question answered by the flash of a dying comet because the smoke cloud is blocking out the light? Will he forget that the stars were ever there? He was a child. He never saw them. The skies are pollution now. That’s just the way it is.

What would I do had I not woken up to the sound of the Cuscus in the moments before dawn began? If I hadn’t let my sleepy mind process the gentle stirring of the breeze and if I had not listened, gradually captivated by the quiet beginning of birdsong? Had I not been able to look out from my subtly unbalanced hammock, wrapped warmly and safely in my sarong, and watch in wonder as the light crept over the forested mountains and began to fill the bowl of air with light from horizon to horizon? As the light poured in and the day began its sweet crescendo, the birds heard the call and rose, number by number, adding their music and reminding me to wake up. Wake up, and see the light. Find rapture in the beauty of our world. This is a dawn you’ll never see again. Experience it, and hold it in your heart until tomorrow. Let the light that fills the air fill you as well. Wonder at the beauty of our forest. Wonder at the beauty of our lives. Let the pain of breathing rest, for this small moment, and open your heart to the beautiful things. You exist, and this exists, and together that existence is love and community in this one heartbeat of consciousness.

Who would I be, had I never stumbled upon majesty? Had I not been lucky enough to open my eyes and see this, this infinite world, stretching in vast leaps of light beyond me and my kind and my time and through into the infinite present, infinite future, infinite horizon? Who would I be had I not been one of the lucky ones, to stand breath taken in the experience of beauty?

Would I be willing to fight for this, our world, if I had never even realized it was there? If I never even knew this kind of feeling, this wild mass of emotions that carefully packs itself into the word majesty, that all this beauty and consciousness and light even existed? Would you?
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Best Notes From The Field, Indonesia

View post

Majesty

Larkin Barron,Best Notes From The Field, Indonesia

Description

We’re deep in the rain forest of Seram, one of the larger islands in Maluku. These shores are the origin place of unique and wild tastes like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg- edible experiences so valuable that they brought the first concepts of capitalism into the world. Here men discovered, in a time long before Islam […]

Posted On

11/30/14

Author

Larkin Barron

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    [post_content] => Dear Indonesia Semester friends and families,

We wanted to let you know that we received an update this morning from the instructors from their remote jungle camp on the island of Seram. They have completed their stay in the community of Masihulan and are now spending three days taking turns sleeping in tree platforms, high in the jungle canopy. They have seen an abundance of wildlife and been fully immersed in the jungle life-style for this time.

We look forward to more stories and updates when they leave the jungle on Friday morning. Best regards and happy Thanksgiving,

Dragons Admin
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Indonesia

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An update from Masihulan

Dragons' admin,Indonesia

Description

Dear Indonesia Semester friends and families, We wanted to let you know that we received an update this morning from the instructors from their remote jungle camp on the island of Seram. They have completed their stay in the community of Masihulan and are now spending three days taking turns sleeping in tree platforms, high […]

Posted On

11/26/14

Author

Dragons' admin

Category

Indonesia

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    [post_date] => 2014-11-15 13:02:37
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    [post_content] => I slowly make my way over the mounds of jagged rock and coral leading up to my homestay house.  I've gotten used to the unevenness, ready to trip me at any moment, but after another packed day of swimming and exploring I have to be careful that my tired legs don't betray me.

My ibu, bapak, and 13-year-old sister are perched on the deck of the house, chuckling quietly as they watch my struggle. I make it to the deck and plop down next to them with a relieved sigh.  We say good evening and exchange smiles.  The deck doesn't quite fit all four of us, but it gets an unbeatable evening breeze.  My ibu disappears and quickly returns with two steaming bowls.  One is full of fluffy white rice and the other is piled with freshly grilled fish.  She fills three plates of food, kindly making sure to offer one to me even though she knows I've already eaten at the program house.

We talk as they eat.  My bapak always has questions for me about America.  He wants to know what the weather is like: is it always hot like here, or does it get cold?  I assure him that it can get very cold, but I struggle to describe it.  There's nothing here that's really comparable to a New England winter.

He asks more questions about my life, my family, etc.  Often I'm unsure of how to fully respond in Bahasa Indonesia, and we'll end up smiling and laughing at our clear language barrier.  My sister giggles as I mess up some word or phrasing and patiently corrects me, helping me figure out what to say.  And sometimes, when we have absolutely no idea what each other is trying to communicate, my sister takes my hand and squeezes it, reassuring me that it's alright.

Eventually the conversation starts to dissipate. We've covered all the topics for one night, and the laughter and confused smiles are more frequent than the actual words.  Then, the silence settles and we sit, not saying anything, listening to the sounds of the night.

The neighbor's TV bleats sounds of some popular Indonesian soap opera, and the sea gently laps beneath us.  I lean back against the cracked and weathered wood of the deck and watch as thousands of stars speckle the night sky.  We sit here for a while, wrapped up in the contentment of our quiet and the glowing beauty of the sky.  Some stars fall in their lazy yet deliberate path, and as I sit there with the cool breeze, the ocean, and my Sampella family next to me, I wouldn't wish on those shooting stars to be anywhere else.
    [post_title] => My Nights in Sampella
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Best Notes From The Field, Indonesia

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My Nights in Sampella

Isabelle Hoch,Best Notes From The Field, Indonesia

Description

I slowly make my way over the mounds of jagged rock and coral leading up to my homestay house.  I’ve gotten used to the unevenness, ready to trip me at any moment, but after another packed day of swimming and exploring I have to be careful that my tired legs don’t betray me. My ibu, […]

Posted On

11/15/14

Author

Isabelle Hoch

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    [post_date] => 2014-11-15 08:08:45
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    [post_content] => Dear Friends an Family of the Indonesia Semester,

We wanted to inform you that the recent earthquake in eastern Indonesia has not affected our group, who arrived to the island of Seram today. The instructors left us a message shortly after the earthquake stating that they were aware of the situation and had been alerted to a tsunami warning, but had not actually felt the quake where they were at the time. The Tsunami warning was then quickly lifted for their region and so, for now, our group is safely out of harms way. They plan to travel to their jungle stay in Masihulan tomorrow, and are excited for this final phase of their course. We will continue to monitor for aftershocks, and will keep you posted with any important updates. With care,

Dragons' Administration
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Indonesia

View post

All is well after the earthquake

Dragons Administration,Indonesia

Description

Dear Friends an Family of the Indonesia Semester, We wanted to inform you that the recent earthquake in eastern Indonesia has not affected our group, who arrived to the island of Seram today. The instructors left us a message shortly after the earthquake stating that they were aware of the situation and had been alerted […]

Posted On

11/15/14

Author

Dragons Administration

Category

Indonesia

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    [post_date] => 2014-11-14 18:44:39
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    [post_content] => The night before jungle and all through the night...
It is about 3am and I am up late once again, stealing a few rare
moments to catch up on life back at home before we head off into the
jungle for a few weeks. I have been looking forward to traveling to
Masihulan since signing onto the program and am so crazy excited for
our next adventure that I can't sleep. With all of the talk of snow
and blizzards back home, it is only appropriate to say that I feel
like a kid on Christmas Eve.

One of the students asked me the other day 'if you had to choose the
ocean or the jungle, which would you choose?" I was stumped as I
really do love them both so deeply. Lush trees, hanging vines, singing
birds, nocturnal mammals, massive insects, colorful frogs, humid days
and canopy nights...I adore all that the rainforest has to offer.

Everyone has been missing our ocean life in Sampela a bit and starting
to feel a little anxiousness about our pending departure from the
course, and from one another, in a few weeks time. We have become such
a close knit family, it is difficult to imagine scattering the globe
to the far ends of the world next month. Each and every day has been
filled with so many memories and smiles and endless moments of awe for
all that we are experiencing.

Although our internet connection has been poor-- and about to become
non-existent for a bit--we have more stories than we know how to
possibly share. I know that all of us here on the island of Maluku,
embarking upon our last few weeks of adventures as a team, have grown
in ways we could have never anticipated. I'm deeply grateful for each
and every smile and hug and can't wait to share even more memories in
our upcoming weeks on the island of Seram. The home stay in the
village of Maluku may be our last one all together, but I have a
feeling it will be one we will never forget.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, thank you all for the support, trust
and love you have shown to all of us. We may be having an unusual
Thanksgiving this year...living in the jungle camp...and our meal may
be ferns and sago palm, but I have no doubt our hearts will be full of
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Indonesia

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The night before jungle and all through the night…

Jen Palmer,Indonesia

Description

The night before jungle and all through the night…It is about 3am and I am up late once again, stealing a few raremoments to catch up on life back at home before we head off into thejungle for a few weeks. I have been looking forward to traveling toMasihulan since signing onto the program and […]

Posted On

11/14/14

Author

Jen Palmer

Category

Indonesia

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