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    [post_date] => 2015-12-06 00:30:30
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    [post_content] => I believe in the unseen. That two atoms of hydrodgen, bonded to an atom of oxygen, comprise this substance that we call water.

I believe in the turbulent force of water. The power to shape a landscape, roar, and influence a regions weather patterns.

I believe in stripping down to ones undergarments and running though holy waterfalls while Tibetan children, screaming at the top of their little lungs, are precariously carried like awkwardly shaped footballs through glacial melt water by their fathers.

I beleive that one person's efforts can make a significant and lasting impact. That in the case of Sinoduji the Tibetan hunter, we as humans often must know evil before we are able to rectify our wrongs and work to improve the human and environmental conitions under which we exist.

I believe in devotion. I do not yet know what I will devote my lifes work and efforts towards, but when I do, I hope that I will have the courage to devote myself entirely to the endeavor, just as Tibetans devote themselves to their religious and cultural practices.

I believe that Gong Jia Ju is tougher than the heroic Chuck Norris, as there is no way that Walker Texas Ranger would be hiking only one week after splitting his entire shin open, without stitches or a medical professional's treatment.

I believe that rural China is a place where traditional values and livelihoods that have changed little over the course of centuries can instill a humbling respect for the country's past and all that has changed throughout the last three decades of breakneck growth.

I beleive that even though the rural areas of China are often regarded as a backwards afterthought, much can be learned about living off the land in a sustainable manner, in comparison to the imbalance between development and environment in China's mega-cities that leaves its populations under a dome of pollution.

I believe that China's attempts to control water and engineer its way around environmental constraints are fundamentally flawed and that its large-scale hydropower and water diversion projects will have irreversibly negative environmental and social impacts.

I believe that the paranoia of the Chinese Communist Party will be its undoing. The suppression of human rights, grossly unethical social-enginering experiments, and attempts to dilute traditional minority cultures will have extremely harmful repurcussions that will continue to tarnish China's international reputation.

I believe that for many Laotians the concept of time and the idea that the efficient use of time as having an inherent economic value is eroneous. Like the Mekong, for many Laotians, time is something that just flows by and is not to be troubled over.

I beleive that the Mekong River has been instrumental in the development of Laotian culture and is as vital of a resource to the country, economically speaking, as oil is to many Persian Gulf states.

I beleive that the impact of water and its role in people's lives is all too often taken for granted.

I beleive that water is so much more than its every day practical uses, water is spiritual. But I believe that the spiritual powers of water extend well beyond religion. Floating in the Mekong's current, bouncing along the river bottom as if you were a clump of sediment, and watching a sunset's orange rays and red hues as water buffalo take an evening bath is beyond spiritual, the sublime beauty is overwhelming.

I believe in the healing powers of water. That a day of frustration and stress can be alleviated by the total submersion and subsequent weightlessness that water provides.

I absolutely believe in the necessity of regular adrenaline rushes. Finding naturally occuring objects, the higher the better, to jump off of into water's embrace. Swinging like a monkey and falling from the trees surrounding the Blue Lagoon allows one to revert to a childhood state of adrenaline fueled joy.

I believe that water is an intricate part of defining who I am. Growing up along the shores of Lake Michigan has instilled in me a deep respect for water. This reverence for water will hopefully see a major portion of my life's work be devoted to preserving this resource and ensuring that all humans have access to sustainable and improved sources of water.

Yet, I belive that Laos, in its quest to become the battery of Southeast Asia through its mainstream dams on the Mekong River, is commoditizing the river's resources at the expense of transboundary fisheries and the ecological stability that provides a livelihood for millions of downstream users.

I believe in the increasingly adverse impact that climate change is inflicting on vulnerable populations. That because of a more volatile climate, the Tonle Sap Lake's low water-level is resulting in decreased fish catches and an inability of the floating villages on the Lake's periphery to support and feed themselves.

I believe in resiliency. From Cambodia's troubled history and many personal stories of extreme suffering comes great inspiration and strength. Cambodians have a wonderfully indomitable human spirit.

I believe in potential. That Cambodia's dynamic and young population has the potential to build a better nation that will not succumb to previous pitfalls.

Lastly, I beleive in the campassionate actions and wise words of the deceased Cambodian Buddhist leader and peace activist Maha Ghosananda:

"Cambodia has suffered deeply. From deep suffering comes deep compassion. From deep compassion comes a peaceful heart. From a peaceful heart comes a peaceful person. From a peaceful person comes a peaceful family and community. From peaceful communities comes a peaceful nation. From peaceful nations comes a peaceful world".

After a journey lasting 80+ days and thousands of miles along the banks of the mighty Mekong, this is what I believe...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
    [post_title] => This I Believe - Mekong Edition
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Life along the Mekong

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This I Believe – Mekong Edition

Brendon Thomas,Life along the Mekong

Description

I believe in the unseen. That two atoms of hydrodgen, bonded to an atom of oxygen, comprise this substance that we call water. I believe in the turbulent force of water. The power to shape a landscape, roar, and influence a regions weather patterns. I believe in stripping down to ones undergarments and running though […]

Posted On

12/6/15

Author

Brendon Thomas

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    [post_date] => 2015-12-05 10:29:34
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    [post_content] => Hi everyone!

Our students who are flying home are through security.
We had a great final day complete with sunset boat ride to say farewell to our constant companion and faithful guide, the mighty Mekong!

It has been an incredible journey to say the least.

Thank you endlessly for all the support,

Team Mekong
    [post_title] => Heading home
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Heading home

Team Mekong,Life along the Mekong

Description

Hi everyone! Our students who are flying home are through security. We had a great final day complete with sunset boat ride to say farewell to our constant companion and faithful guide, the mighty Mekong! It has been an incredible journey to say the least. Thank you endlessly for all the support, Team Mekong

Posted On

12/5/15

Author

Team Mekong

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    [post_date] => 2015-12-02 13:49:15
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    [post_content] => Dear  Mekong 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, 2015

China Eastern #760

Depart: Phnom Penh 12:15 am

Arrive: Shanghai 4:55 am

China Eastern #583 

Depart: Shanghai 1:00 pm

Arrive: Los Angeles 9:05 am

We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day.   Starting on Saturday, 12/5, should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 303-921-6078.

We wish all students a great trip home!

Sincerely,

Boulder Admin

 
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Life along the Mekong

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Return Flight Information

Anne Koenning,Life along the Mekong

Description

Dear  Mekong 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 […]

Posted On

12/2/15

Author

Anne Koenning

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2015-11-30 23:05:33
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-01 06:05:33
    [post_content] => 
Dear friends and family, We have been loving Cambodia so much we had trouble finding the time to post, but better late than never! After several days of travel we found ourselves in Siem Reap, exploring the ancient temples of Angkor and meeting with local NGOs. Then in recognition of the skills the students had built over the past two and a half months traveling, we turned the course over to them for the next 8 days! During their expedition the students were responsible for working together to design and manage all aspects of our adventure together. They came up with and delivered a very ambitious itinerary which included visiting the artsy town of Battambang, staying one night at a Buddhist monastery, looking at the effects of climate change on the fisheries if the Tonle Sap lake and meeting with the communities that reside in floating villages there. The student expedition concluded in Phnom Penh where we visited historic sites and learned about yhe tragic history of the Khmer Rouge genocide. Heading south and leaving the bustle of the city behind, we arrived in time for the full moon water festival at the island of Koh Ksach Tonlea on the Bassac river. Over five short days we were able to connect deeply with our homestay families and only wish we could have stayed longer in this incredibly warm and vibrant community. With the end of our time together drawing near, we are taking the last few of days of our course to reflect on where we have been, what we have learned, how we can carry this experience forward with us into the future. We are savoring four sweet days on Rabbit Island in the Gulf of Thailand to play together, celebrate, and marvel at how far we have come, both figuratively and literally, from the high mountains of Tibet to the coastal waters of Cambodia. It has been a miraculous journey and we are deeply grateful to you all for supporting us and making the profound learning and adventure of the past three months a reality. Much love from Cambodia Team Mekong [post_title] => Savoring every moment in Cambodia [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => savoring-every-moment-in-cambodia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-20 11:06:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-20 18:06:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128628 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 120 [name] => Life along the Mekong [slug] => mekong-fall-2015 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 120 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 236 [count] => 69 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4.1 [cat_ID] => 120 [category_count] => 69 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Life along the Mekong [category_nicename] => mekong-fall-2015 [category_parent] => 236 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/mekong-fall-2015/ ) ) [category_links] => Life along the Mekong )
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Savoring every moment in Cambodia

Team Mekong,Life along the Mekong

Description

Dear friends and family, We have been loving Cambodia so much we had trouble finding the time to post, but better late than never! After several days of travel we found ourselves in Siem Reap, exploring the ancient temples of Angkor and meeting with local NGOs. Then in recognition of the skills the students had […]

Posted On

11/30/15

Author

Team Mekong

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    [post_date] => 2015-11-29 11:31:14
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    [post_title] => My Cambodian Brothers: Li Huan, Pitou, and Chai Leung
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My Cambodian Brothers: Li Huan, Pitou, and Chai Leung

Ilan Goldberg,Life along the Mekong

Description

Posted On

11/29/15

Author

Ilan Goldberg

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    [post_date] => 2015-11-22 14:24:36
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imageimageimageimage
[post_title] => It's pretty here too [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => its-pretty-here-too [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-11-22 14:24:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-22 21:24:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128318 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 120 [name] => Life along the Mekong [slug] => mekong-fall-2015 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 120 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 236 [count] => 69 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4.1 [cat_ID] => 120 [category_count] => 69 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Life along the Mekong [category_nicename] => mekong-fall-2015 [category_parent] => 236 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/mekong-fall-2015/ ) ) [category_links] => Life along the Mekong )

Life along the Mekong

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It’s pretty here too

Mackenzie Davis,Life along the Mekong

Description

Posted On

11/22/15

Author

Mackenzie Davis

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    [post_content] => I don't write much poetry but here is a poem I wrote about a cute little girl I hung out with on our home stay in Laos.

 

your toothless smile rests easy on my shoulder

your Frozen dress sure does smolder

our pink costumes both really match

we should both get more temporary tats

Attached Documents

Click the link to download http://70.32.66.57/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/image1077-100x100.jpg [post_title] => Nam [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => nam [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-11-22 14:22:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-22 21:22:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=128309 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 120 [name] => Life along the Mekong [slug] => mekong-fall-2015 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 120 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 236 [count] => 69 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4.1 [cat_ID] => 120 [category_count] => 69 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Life along the Mekong [category_nicename] => mekong-fall-2015 [category_parent] => 236 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2015/mekong-fall-2015/ ) ) [category_links] => Life along the Mekong )

Life along the Mekong

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Nam

Wilder McCoy,Life along the Mekong

Description

I don’t write much poetry but here is a poem I wrote about a cute little girl I hung out with on our home stay in Laos.   your toothless smile rests easy on my shoulder your Frozen dress sure does smolder our pink costumes both really match we should both get more temporary tats […]

Posted On

11/22/15

Author

Wilder McCoy

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2015-11-17 09:22:16
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-17 09:22:16
    [post_content] => Don Dohn was one of the best things we have done on this course. Everyone was so warm and welcoming and the scenery was beautiful.  I stayed with Mami Being and Papi Sang and it was incredible how they welcomed me into their house. We shared many great times including fishing with Papi, slaughtering a cow, and celebrating a great Halloween. They also showed me all their pictures of @hayden and it was cool to see how much they love each student who visits. Besides hanging with my family, my favorite part of the island was teaching English at the school. The kids were so cute and eager to learn. It was truly one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Now being in Cambodia I am missing all of our host families a lot. I cannot wait to connect with my sister on Facebook and hope to visit the island again to visit!
    [post_title] => Giving the people what they want
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Life along the Mekong

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Giving the people what they want

aaron,Life along the Mekong

Description

Don Dohn was one of the best things we have done on this course. Everyone was so warm and welcoming and the scenery was beautiful.  I stayed with Mami Being and Papi Sang and it was incredible how they welcomed me into their house. We shared many great times including fishing with Papi, slaughtering a […]

Posted On

11/17/15

Author

aaron

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2015-11-16 09:40:45
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-16 16:40:45
    [post_content] => I feel agitated. My mind is working overtime and I cannot sleep. The past month in Laos was amazing and tonight being our first night in Cambodia I feel blessed to have another month to explore. But I also feel disturbed.

Over the past few days in preparation for our arrival in Cambodia I picked up a book written by a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime. Reading his pained thoughts and slowly putting together the pieces of his memory painted a clear picture of an era of senseless evil that occurred within my parent's lifetimes. How is it that after having spent a decade and a half in school I knew absolutely nothing about the mass killing of 1.7 million innocents during the Khmer Rouge years? And why is it that now that I do read this history over I so clearly see that the world sat witness to the crimes of The Angkar, standing idly by during four years of torture and genocide?

And the chaos in my mind is no less due to the terror attacks in Paris last night. In them I see a showing of pure evil. In the cold blooded killing of innocents. In the incredible fear that hangs over the European Union and over the world. In the hellish and unending war that has engulfed the Syrian people over the past few years. As Bob Dylan asks, "How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?" I don't believe that the answer is floating in the wind. I believe that the answer lies in each of us.

It is not up to politicians, or armies. We have seen that those alone are not enough. To quote Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [ordinary] men to do nothing." And I do not mean that we all have one path to uniting against evil, although I do feel that we can take some necessary steps together. I think that central to the problem is the separation that we create between ourselves and the people of Syria, or of Cambodia or of Paris by labeling them as victims. Their different nationalities and location only serve to separate ourselves further. I think that in order to bring about any change we individually have to realize that those suffering are at their most basic, people just like us being afflicted by the evil of the world.

Then we must realize that if those people are just people that we DO have a responsibility towards their well being and that no matter the size of the world each and every one of us needs to care for the other. There's no need for assessments of practicality, we live comfortable lives wrapped up in our own problems, and we each have so much power for change that we waste when we decide to follow a path only aimed at personal success and fulfillment.

Traveling through countries with a foreign language, different foods, and intriguing new cultures constantly reminds me that my connection to any fellow human being is the same. A connection based purely on our mutual humanity.

Love and good transcend boundaries and language. Tonight my head hurts but tomorrow I wish for a world with a united social conscience of humanity.
    [post_title] => We Are all People
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Life along the Mekong

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We Are all People

Ilan Goldberg,Life along the Mekong

Description

I feel agitated. My mind is working overtime and I cannot sleep. The past month in Laos was amazing and tonight being our first night in Cambodia I feel blessed to have another month to explore. But I also feel disturbed. Over the past few days in preparation for our arrival in Cambodia I picked […]

Posted On

11/16/15

Author

Ilan Goldberg

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    [post_content] => Mekong 2015!! Mekong 2014 here. We have all been following your trip but we want you to post more about your adventures! How was Don Dohn - we miss our host families! Where are you now?

Lots of love xo
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Life along the Mekong

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Message from Mekong 2014

Mekong 2014,Life along the Mekong

Description

Mekong 2015!! Mekong 2014 here. We have all been following your trip but we want you to post more about your adventures! How was Don Dohn – we miss our host families! Where are you now? Lots of love xo

Posted On

11/16/15

Author

Mekong 2014

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