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As of this moment I am interested in four of the many topics we had to choose from. The Asian Elephant, Tigers, bears, and large predators, perceptions of western medicine vs. traditional healing, and traditional healing.

I am interested in the first two because I have always been interested in animals and have always been fasinated by them. I don't know exactly what these topics entail, and I'm guessing most of it is left up to your own creation? I would love to study the elephant or large predators. Whether this means getting up close with captive animals or more along the lines of studying their habitat and the effects from humans, Im down for any of it.

I am also very much interested in science, and the next two fell under the medical category. I think it would be very interesting to study the perceptions of western medicine among these growing nations, since I have no idea if they use western medicine often let alone have opinions about it. And second, I would be very interested in the traditional healing and how it may vary from country to country. From my life experience I can say that natural remedies often work better than pharmacuticals, so I'm interested todiscover the secrets of the orient.

I know I'll have to narrow these choices down eventually, but these are the options I'm playing around with right now.

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Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

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ISP topics

Robyn Reeder,Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

Description

As of this moment I am interested in four of the many topics we had to choose from. The Asian Elephant, Tigers, bears, and large predators, perceptions of western medicine vs. traditional healing, and traditional healing. I am interested in the first two because I have always been interested in animals and have always been […]

Posted On

01/29/10

Author

Robyn Reeder

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My name is Jonathon Luckett but all my friends think that sounds too proper so they just call me Jony. I’m from Santa Fe, New Mexico and graduated class of 08’. Once I graduated from high school, the thought of taking a year off and exploring life outside the boundaries was definitely an option, but in the end I decided to continue with my schooling.

Fall of last year I entered into a new world in many ways. I attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The year had its ups and downs, similar to anyone’s freshmen year. But about the time I arrived back to school from winter break I realized that Vancouver wasn’t the place or me. I then applied to some other schools that fit my new out look on college. I finished freshmen year in Vancouver and had a fun rest of my time there, but felt like moving on to the next step of my life, in a different direction, was a healthy choice.

My outlook on college and life in its entirety changed hugely in that year; although I always knew about the rewards of slowing down and taking the time for life, its importance became more apparent while at UBC. I learned that there is no need to rush things, as long as life is on a path of progression. That’s how I ended up on this trip. Just like most of you guys the importance of seeing the world is at the top of my list. Not to boast and brag to my friends, but to slowly get a better grasp of what is out there.

Just so you guys have a little bit more information to break the ice, I love being active. I have played soccer and snowboarded most of my life. Three years ago I picked up skiing and now love it just as much. The need to get up and go sometime annoys my friends.

Art is a large focus in my family. Because of growing up around it, I excelled in art more so than any other class at school. Over my fall semester, I travelled with a group out of London to Italy. In Italy we travelled from north to south for seven weeks studying both classical and modern art.

At first I may be a little quiet, but it will change don’t worry. I look forward to meeting all you peeps soon. Have a good rest of your time packing/anticipating, and I will see most of you guys in L.A. [post_title] => A Little Something About Me [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-little-something-about-me [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-01-27 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=49203 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 395 [name] => Mekong Semester, Spring 2010 [slug] => mekong-semester-spring-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 395 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 257 [count] => 152 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 22.1 [cat_ID] => 395 [category_count] => 152 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Mekong Semester, Spring 2010 [category_nicename] => mekong-semester-spring-2010 [category_parent] => 257 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2010/mekong-semester-spring-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Mekong Semester, Spring 2010 )

Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

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A Little Something About Me

Jonathon Luckett,Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

Description

My name is Jonathon Luckett but all my friends think that sounds too proper so they just call me Jony. I’m from Santa Fe, New Mexico and graduated class of 08’. Once I graduated from high school, the thought of taking a year off and exploring life outside the boundaries was definitely an option, but […]

Posted On

01/27/10

Author

Jonathon Luckett

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Sabaidee and greetings from Laos!!! I’m working my way around Laos scouting out additional service learning projects, homestay villages and treks for our group to participate in over the next few months together. Laos is like a warm hug to me and the people I’ve spent time with here over the last week have been some of the kindest I know. It’s going to be an incredible journey friends!

Each week on our course we are asking one student to deliver a short lesson on an article of their choice from the Mekong Reader. In the past this has been a really fun way for our students to show off their knowledge and interests while taking a strong leadership role. Choose an article you are passionate about, or are interested in, from the Mekong Reader. Read it thoroughly and come up with a few discussion questions to provoke an interesting debate.

We’re asking that each student choose a topic of their choice, post a yak containing the name of the article of their choice and make sure to read it carefully before you leave. It even wouldn’t hurt to read a few additional online articles to supplement your knowledge. Once everyone has chosen their topics Michael and I will discuss what the best order is for you guys to present in. Our thought is that the entire group of students will read the article you have chosen (or watch a movie, look at photographs you’ve provided, etc.) in the week of your presentation, then you can present for just five minutes on what you’ve learned through your research and then we’ll have a 20 minute discussion. This gives the whole group a chance to share their opinions too and it often ends up in a really great debate. I can do the first one so you guys know what we're looking for.

Note: this is separate from your ISP. Last semester our students called this the Research and Development role of the week – it’s an opportunity for student-to-student learning through research that you take ownership of before the trip begins. The ISP will take place solely on the course, your instructors will guide you through the the process of gathering information in-country, meeting mentors, etc and ISP presentations will be at the end of the course.


So right now we are asking you to do four things on the yak board: one, post a letter of introduction about yourself and what you are excited about; two, write about your ISP topic interests; three, choose an article from the Mekong Reader and post your choice; and four, post questions you have regarding the trip. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Also, Michael will be calling those he has not reached yet to check in and see how you’re doing. If you would like an additional phone call from me, please send me an email allana.hearn@gmail.com and we can try to arrange a time between the time zones that works for both of us. Michael and I are putting in a lot of hard work pre-course and we’re very excited for this adventure to begin!!!

Best,

Allana

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Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

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Student Lessons

Allana Hearn,Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Sabaidee and greetings from Laos!!! I’m working my way around Laos scouting out additional service learning projects, homestay villages and treks for our group to participate in over the next few months together. Laos is like a warm hug to me and the people I’ve spent time with here over the last week have been […]

Posted On

01/26/10

Author

Allana Hearn

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So here is some thoughts that i have regarding your so far Yak board.

I went on the Mekong semester this fall with Allana and am actually going to return with dragons back to Kunming China this spring to do the internship there.

First off i want to say how jealous I am of Allana right now being in Laos and perhaps right around Luang Prabang. You guys are going to LOVE this trip!! Theitineraryis amazing and flows so well to provide you with through provoking ideas as you travel comparing each area to the next. And no doubt you guys also have an advantage as we found out some things that have been changed (to my knowledge with my talks with Allana) to make your time even moreincredible.

So some advice....

1. dont bring travelers checks!!!!! the culture you will be in does not believe in Credit. the idea of a check to them does not makesense. They save money by putting in a shoe box under their bed then go to buy a car with 10,000 bills in a suitcase at the dealership. So to make this story short, most banks do not even accept the travelers checks, and to make it more annoying you need your passport to cash one which the leaders will behandling so it is a hassle to get it from them. Also bring a lot of US one and 5 dollar bills. At boarder crossings it is a better exchange rate also everywhere accepts US dollars so it is a good fall back if you are low on cash.

2. Do your homework!!! each one of you take that assignment that Allana gave you seriously. We did not and i regret it, we all do. One of our biggest complaints in the middle of the course was that there was not enough intelectual conversations. By reading the reader and going througharticlesonline before you go you will be a step ahead. It is SO important and i cant tell you that enough untill you realize it when you are in country in a totally foreign environment.

Heather, That is amazing! i did the same thing, i traveled by my self in Japan for 2 weeks before I meet everyone and it was so worth it. Also i went on by myself after everyone had left to finish the river down into vietnam to the south china sea. (remember that we went north to south while you are going south to north because of weather issues and the rainy season) It was so worth it and Dragons prepares you so well for travel on your own afterwords. I actually yaked myexperiencein Nam if you want to read it the post is on our page, it was such anincredibletime and if you want to get a taste of what your trip is going to be like, read it, because i can not think of anexperiencethat is more dragons than that one.

If you guys have any questions or just want to talk feel free to email me. Chrismegrue@gmail.com

I will see you all in Kunming. I know that you will fall in love with SEA the minute you have your first interaction with Mara and get a glimpse of the culture through him.

Chris Megrue

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Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

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Advice from a Mekong Manatee

Chris Megrue,Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

Description

So here is some thoughts that i have regarding your so far Yak board. I went on the Mekong semester this fall with Allana and am actually going to return with dragons back to Kunming China this spring to do the internship there. First off i want to say how jealous I am of Allana […]

Posted On

01/26/10

Author

Chris Megrue

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Hey!

I'm writing this post from smelly, smelly Varanasi, India. For the past two weeks or so I have been traveling in northern India with my family, and have grown accustomed to (and fond of) the bouncing, unsettling feeling of the constant go go go that I think may partially define our next several months. Soon I leave my family and will travel on my own a bit further south until I fly toPhnom Penhto meet up with you guys. I am so excited to get to know you all; I am sure we will share so manyincredible, frustrating, rough, and life-changingmoments in our time together.

Here's a bit of my story: When I'm at home, I live in little Rockport, MA, about 45 minutes north of Boston. For high school, I attended a small independent day school called Pingree, and I just graduated this past June. After high school, I made that oh-so-controversial, wonderful decision to leap of the conveyor belt towards college for a bit and follow my heart EAST -- this is something I know many of you are familiar with. This past fall, I was handed this insane opportunity to volunteer teach and liveat a tiny, brand-new and ultra-progressiveschool in Sikkim, NE India called Taktse for three months. It was an awesome experience, and they are always looking for volunteers (hint, hint, Taylor!) Other than traveling, I like to ski, sing, play a bit of soccer and sail. A self-described nerd, I also obsess over history and math, and I love to read. Next fall, I will be going to the University of Chicago.

I am so stoked about the upcoming trip. Looking over the program options, I was instantly drawn to the Mekong semester -- the comparative cultures and environmental aspects of it, and the long homestay sound like my kind of thing. Also, having spent time in a culture of Mahayana Buddhism (Sikkim), I am really excited toget to knowTheravada and compare the two.

Can't wait to see you in Cambodia! Don't have too much fun on the plane ride without me!

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Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

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Hello new friends! (introduction)

Heather Lyon,Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Hey! I’m writing this post from smelly, smelly Varanasi, India. For the past two weeks or so I have been traveling in northern India with my family, and have grown accustomed to (and fond of) the bouncing, unsettling feeling of the constant go go go that I think may partially define our next several months. […]

Posted On

01/26/10

Author

Heather Lyon

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    [post_content] => Hey guys! 

Great questions and phenomenal introductions!!! I'm so excited to meet each of you - I think we're going to have a really tight group. Thanks to those who have taken the time to write such incredible introductions. To all students, please also post yaks with:

a) your ISP topics

b) lesson choice

You can find these in yaks I've posted named aptly "ISP Topics" and "Student Lessons" :-)

Recent questions:

  1. Credit Cards and Traveler's Checks - this is the note from the Course Preparation Manual:

    Participants will need money for personal expenses such as souvenirs, snacks, laundry, post cards, postage, and airport taxes. We suggest a total amount of $50.00 to $75.00 per week, in a combination of an ATM card, some cash, and traveler’s checks. As ATMs are increasingly common in China, Laos and Cambodia and are the fastest and easiest way to obtain cash, we recommend bringing only a small amount of cash while keeping the majority of funds in your ATM. A few travelers’ cheques are suggested as a backup in case you misplace your ATM card. IMPORTANT: If relying on an ATM card, we recommend that the student sends his/herself an email containing the PIN information, and calls the issuing bank before leaving on the Mekong semester to let them know when and where he/she will be traveling. If carrying traveler’s checks, keep in mind that American Express checks are the most widely accepted, and please make sure that the signature on the checks matches that on your passport! Also, ensure that you bring your receipt of purchase with you as many banks insist on viewing this before they will cash your traveler’s checks. Please do not plan on sending additional money by wire or in the mail. With our busy schedule, it will be too difficult to arrange a pick up.

    NOTE ON EMERGENCY $: Dragons makes available an outstanding evacuation policy which will cover emergency response and evacuation costs; however, medical costs incurred once a student arrives at a medical facility are NOT covered by our emergency provider. If overseas medical treatment is required, the student/family will be required to pay up-front for medical care. Parents are therefore strongly advised to provide their children with an “emergency-use only” credit card so that they may reliably cover medical emergencies on short notice while overseas. Another good option would be to include an “emergency stipend” in the debit account for those students who plan on accessing their money via ATMs. Parents are also encouraged to check with their insurance provider before the course to ask: a) whether or not their child will be covered for hospitalization and medical care outside of the US, and b) whether or not pre-approval is required.

    Basically, I would bring the majority of your money overseas on your debit card, or credit card with pin. Bring perhaps a few hundred dollars in American ExpressTraveler's Cheques as a backup in case your card doesn't work or it's lost or stolen. MostATMsaccept most international cards - those cards with a PLUS orINTERAC square on the back of the card are the most likely to work. It is very rare that any international card is not accepted. Does this answer your question? If not,send a more detailed question and I'm happy to answer.
  2. In terms of the homestaygift, how many do you suggest? The CPM says: GIFTS A few simple things to present to home-stay families and to give away to people who help make our course special. Postcards of home, small calendars, buttons/pins, and inflatable globes are great, as well photos of yourself.You'll definitely want a presentfor your homestay family in PrekPdao, Ban Xieng Mene and a few extras.It's hard to say how many, as it depends on what you decide to bring. If you're bringing larger items like calendars, frisbeesor globes perhaps 4 or 5 is enough. If you're bringing smaller items like pins, postcards or photos of yourself/family/hometown thenmoreis possible.
  3. How will laundry generally be done? Should we bring biodegradable soap or our own stuff to clean? Probably about half the time we will be doing our own laundry by hand either in a homestay or guesthouse. If you'd like tobring biodegradable soap I think that's incredible. Soap is available here, but you may not find anything enviromentally friendly! The other half of the time we'll have the option of having our laundry done by a local service in the city. If students are interested in paying for this, itis apretty cheap service (just over a dollar for1kg of laundry). Otherwise we can always doall ourlaundry by hand - it becomes pretty fun!
  4. Is polyester a good travel material? I'm looking at bringing a polyester jacket for when it gets colder in China and a polyester skirt. Should I look at getting another kind of material?Polyester, and polyester blends, are just fine for traveling. Check out an article by REI on great materials for travel wear. http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/travel+clothing.html
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Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

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Questions and requests

Allana Hearn,Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Hey guys! Great questions and phenomenal introductions!!! I’m so excited to meet each of you – I think we’re going to have a really tight group. Thanks to those who have taken the time to write such incredible introductions. To all students, please also post yaks with: a) your ISP topics b) lesson choice You […]

Posted On

01/26/10

Author

Allana Hearn

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Hi Everyone,

My name is Calypso and I am another New Englander- from a, currently, very stormy New Hampshire. I am on my Gap year and also came back from traveling this autumn with a parasite (although a Chinese one) and a chest infection—thanks pollution! I spent the first half of the year with another similar program, beginning in Costa Rica and ending in Cambodia, spending most of my time planting trees in Ecuador and teaching English in China. I cannot wait to set out again and see more of the world.

India has always fascinated me and I am so excited to have the opportunity to finally go there! In terms of ISPs— I’ve been brought up using holistic medicines so I am really interested in Ayurvedic medicine. Photography and the film industry, philosophy, and many of the volunteer placements also interest me. It is going to be tough to decide, as everything sounds incredibly appealing. I would love to work with children and be involved in other community service. I cannot wait to learn more about India and to meet all of you.

Good luck getting everything together and see you soon!

Calypso

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Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

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Intro

Calypso Thomson,Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Hi Everyone, My name is Calypso and I am another New Englander- from a, currently, very stormy New Hampshire. I am on my Gap year and also came back from traveling this autumn with a parasite (although a Chinese one) and a chest infection—thanks pollution! I spent the first half of the year with another […]

Posted On

01/25/10

Author

Calypso Thomson

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    [post_date] => 2010-01-25 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Man I love reading these! Taylor, we have a lot in common, really excited to meet you, you are not a creeper, people watching is among my favorite pastimes, i can't wait for the bonding!!! haha :)

I like that some student's gender is a mystery, I don't think we should put up pictures

Japanese Encephalitis, not going to worry about it, five cases for foreigners since 1981 have been reported, that said, I feel a bit emotionally manipulated by my doctor.

Last day of work was on friday, dang it's getting close, I'm going to miss bgcp so much!! but I am so excited!

Also, I want to only bring the KSO vibram five fingered shoes on the trip, they are so easy to pack and good for everything (seriously), I hope they're good for snow (are we going to be in snow?), would anyone know?

Can't wait guys.. more introductions please! :)

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Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

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oh yes

Paige Montgomery,Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Man I love reading these! Taylor, we have a lot in common, really excited to meet you, you are not a creeper, people watching is among my favorite pastimes, i can’t wait for the bonding!!! haha 🙂 I like that some student’s gender is a mystery, I don’t think we should put up pictures Japanese […]

Posted On

01/25/10

Author

Paige Montgomery

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    [post_date] => 2010-01-25 00:00:00
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Hello again!

I have two quick questions,

If you bring a credit card, what do you recommend regarding traveler's checks?

Also in terms of gifts for the home-stays, how many do you suggest?

Thanks!

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Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

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Traveler’s checks/ homestays

Robin Bartels,Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Hello again! I have two quick questions, If you bring a credit card, what do you recommend regarding traveler’s checks? Also in terms of gifts for the home-stays, how many do you suggest? Thanks!

Posted On

01/25/10

Author

Robin Bartels

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    [post_content] => 

Hi everyone!

Thanks for your introductions, Allana, Michael, Paige, Robyn, and Robin! Thanks to all the past students for posting too, your advice has been really helpful!

I'm a gap year student as well and graduated in June 2009. I spent the fall semester in the Turks & Caicos Islands with the School for Field Studies, and had a fantastic time scuba diving and studying marine ecology. My two main interests of study in college are oceanography and international relations, particularly with China. I'm looking at going to either University of Washington in Seattle or Oregon State in the fall. I was originally signed up with the China semester program, but not enough people signed up so Dragons told me I could choose another program. I picked the Mekong semester because it seemed closest to the kind of thing I was looking forward to in China. Although its not what I expected, I'm equally as excited, if not more, about Southeast Asia as I was about China, and sometimes surprises can be a good thing! It's fun to deal with the unexpected every now and then.

Its always impossible to imagine, no matter how hard I try, what we'll be experiencing and how our personalities will mix together, but even though I know relatively nothing about the exact details of the trip, I've got faith it'll be an amazing adventure for all of us! And thats one thing I really like about what seems to be the Dragons philosophy - the flexibility/spontaneity that'll teach us to learn by LIVING instead of out of a textbook, which is another reason I really wanted to take a gap year.

As mentioned, I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to talk and get to know each other, but a few quick things about me: I love writing and I'm always reading more than one book at a time, I take lots of photos, I've played soccer since I was 4 and am in love with playing pretty much all sports, I grew up in Ohio then moved to Virginia for high school, I'm terribly aware of how sentimental/cheesy I can get, I used to be a nationally ranked chess player and take great pleasure in acting the dumb blonde part before kicking some unsuspecting nerds butt, Flight of the Conchords cracks me up, and I adore, above all else, nutella.

I'm sure you're all beautiful, interesting, and deep people with a lot to share and I can't wait to start learning from you and to start this journey!

Kim Kenny

A few questions/things I'm still unsure about/whatnot....

Is polyester a good travel material? I'm looking at bringing a polyester jacket for when it gets colder in China and a polyester skirt. Should I look at getting another kind of material?

How will laundry generally be done? Should we bring biodegradable soap or our own stuff to clean?

About how many presents should we bring for families? It seems like we'll be guests a lot throughout the semester, and I'd like to be able to give at least something little to each of our generous hosts.

Thanks!

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Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

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Introduction :)

Kimberly Kenny,Mekong Semester, Spring 2010

Description

Hi everyone! Thanks for your introductions, Allana, Michael, Paige, Robyn, and Robin! Thanks to all the past students for posting too, your advice has been really helpful! I’m a gap year student as well and graduated in June 2009. I spent the fall semester in the Turks & Caicos Islands with the School for Field […]

Posted On

01/22/10

Author

Kimberly Kenny

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