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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012


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Writing from the John F. Kennedy International Airport, located here in the city of El Alto/La Paz, Bolivia to tell all that this group of intrepid travelers have just past through the security gates and are boarding American Airlines Flight 922, set to take off at 6:20am (Eastern Time). They are safe and sound and on their way home.


We bid our time together farewell and watched our students and friends cross the security barrier and embark upon the final steps of their journey, the courageous passage "home." In the distance, snow-capped Illimani will provide the final farewell just as he had welcomed the group three months ago.


As our students boarded the plane, we instructors gathered together just as dawn spread its wings over the altiplano and laying out our manta on the earth conducted a final ceremony of gratitude. We gave thanks first of all to our beautiful students, who have endured and learned and taught us so much in the past months. We also gave thanks for their families back home, the people responsible for the bright individuals that they are and that gave them the gift of this journey. We also thanked Chris Yager, the visionary behind what we do, and the rest of the Dragons community that makes this possible. We thanked each other, our companeros, friends and guides, who helped to make this experience so rich and rewarding. Finally, we thanked the Pachamama, the Apus, and this vibrant country that has cradled us in it's arms and brought us strength, humility, learning, and endless joys.


The next phase of the Andes to Amazon Semester begins now! This can be the most difficult part as we strive to keep the learning and memories alive and find where our past experiences can be adopted into our future paths. As we enter into this chapter, our role as instructors wanes and we humbly pass the torch onto all of you. As friends and family, you possess a huge ability to support and influence the lives of these newly returning travelers. They have climbed mountains, both literally and metaphorically, and each has walked off with something unique and will process that in their own way. Be patient with our friends, share your wisdom, listen to their stories, and explore future adventures alongside them. And know that we look forward to hearing about the continued journey. Jallalla!

With love,


Alan, Julianne, and Cat

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

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And they’re off!

Los Instructores,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

Description

Writing from the John F. Kennedy International Airport, located here in the city of El Alto/La Paz, Bolivia to tell all that this group of intrepid travelers have just past through the security gates and are boarding American Airlines Flight 922, set to take off at 6:20am (Eastern Time). They are safe and sound and […]

Posted On

05/12/12

Author

Los Instructores

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1. The first day I had severe altitude sickness and was freezing on the bus from La Paz to Chulumani and Liz put her puffy parka over me while I was sleeping.

2. Playing 3 minutes of fame after dinner in Chulumani. My favorite response was when Connor said he saw a fishing/gambling cruise liner business idea in his future.

3. Staying up until 3 am with Joey, Dom, Levi and Liz playing ¨Yengha¨ and betting dares during orientation week.

4. After a 10 hour travel day, finally arriving in Santiago de Okola on Lake Titicaca´s shores and eating chicken soup with Robbie at our homestay.

5. Group spuma and water balloon fight with locals at Carneval in Oruro.

6. Eating at Cafe Joy Ride with all the guys and all coming together to help Joey whenhe had altitude sickness.

7. 10 Fingers game with entire group at Mama Vicki´s.

8. Second day on the Sucre trek; getting to the top of the crater as an entire group and camping on the grassy clearing.

9. Going to the Museum of Natural History in Cochabamba with Joey and Guthrie and relaxing in the garden with a sunflower.

10. Democracy Center workshop with Dom, Joey, Guthrie, Larrisa, Izzy, and Julianne in Cochabamba, and an awesome plan of attack against a Texas oil company trying to tap California´s resources to accompany it.

11. Group lunch in Cochabamba to say goodbye to Chandler.

12. Preparing for the Aptapi at program house with all the homestay families; delicious cunapes and lentil burgers courtesy of Izzy´s gluten-free recipe book.

13. Talking with Izzy about life the whole bus ride (20 hours!) from Cochabamba to Cusco.

14. Arriving at hostal Resbelosa the first morning in Cusco and relaxing with the whole group on the balcony looking at plaza D´Armas (the happiest the whole group has been in my opinion).

15. Group dinner with instructors at Peruvian rstaurant in Cusco. Sharing amazing Alpaca meat with Dom and Levi.

16. Reaching the summit of Salkantay with the entire group, conquering the wind and snow.

17. Talking on a rock overlooking the bay at Isla del Sol about life.

18. Sun bathing with Molly and Izzy on the banks of the glacial lake at Tuni.

19. Swimming in the river with Dom, Levi, Robbie, and Joey at Huacaria.

20. Making 27 eggs with Connor and eating them with our homestay family for dinner.

21. Running from the base to the top of Waynapichu with Alan and Miguel and looking at the aerial view of Machupichu.

22. Talking about development and service with Cat on the Machupichu trek.

23. Visiting all my ISP mentors and discussing the Bolivian economy with Julianne.

24 and 25. The gratitude circle and ending ceremony followed by a group bonfire.

Im going to miss everyone that I have shared these past 3 months with.

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

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Just a Few of My Favorite Moments with the Group

Judson Taylor,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

Description

1. The first day I had severe altitude sickness and was freezing on the bus from La Paz to Chulumani and Liz put her puffy parka over me while I was sleeping. 2. Playing 3 minutes of fame after dinner in Chulumani. My favorite response was when Connor said he saw a fishing/gambling cruise liner […]

Posted On

05/11/12

Author

Judson Taylor

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The Place: Miami Airport
The Time: 3 Months Ago
The Occasion: The beginning of an Adventure

As the Joester walked around the Miami airport aimlessly searching for his other group members among multitudes of other people, he did not know what he was getting himself into. He had signed up to leave home and join a group of 12 others on an excursion of sorts into Bolivia and Peru. A very long excursion (a 3 month excursion). He came into his experience relatively troubled. He had recently dropped out of a university he had attended for 3 weeks, his confidence was almost completely shot, he only knew a tiny bit of spanish, and he had been living socially isolated for about half a year, withall of his friends being at colleges and universities, leaving him stuck in the burbs of Northern Virginia.

Little did the Joester know, signing up for his 3 month outing would end up insuring his future success. This coming trip would secure him in a University in which he actually wanted to attend, it would restore his shattered confidence, it would teach him a whole lot of Spanish, and it would also give him a community of lifelong friends to always depend on, no matter where he was. But this information is all too sappy for the Joester. Let´s get to some numbers.

The Amount of times the Joester was sick in his 3 months within Bolivia and Peru: 9 Times
The Amount of Animals the Joester killed in his Bolivian homestay: About 200 Pollos(Chickens) (More or Less), 1 Chancho (Pig), 1 Bato (Duck), 1 Cuis (Guinea Pig)
The Amount of Hugs Given and Received by the Joester: 100+ (Courtesy of Cat :P)
The Amount of Times the Joester ate Chicken Milaneza: 20 Times (Give or Take)
The Amount of Times the Joester was forced to eat bugs because of bets he lost: 1 Time (Thank God)
The Amount of Treks the Joester Conquered in his Time in Bolivia and Peru: 2 (AND MORE IN THE FUTURE!)
The Amount ofnew amazingAmigos the Joester made in 3 months: 15
The Amount of times the Joester talked and walked in his sleep (that he knows of) in 3 months: 20 Times (More or Less)
The Amount of Amazing memories and experiences the Joester is taking away from his course:Infinity

Now seriously: When I signed on for Dragons and came on the course originally, I underestimated the impact it would have on me and my future. I thought it would just be a way to escape from home for three months and while yes, it served as an escape, but it also served as so much more. I learned so much about myself and the culturesof Peru and Bolivia on this trip that I wouldn´t trade it for anything. Our group had to endure many hardships during the course, and because of that we did end up losing 6 friends. In the end, however, every individual learned and took away an extremely profound experience.

I´m having trouble writing a close-out yak, just as I´m having trouble saying my temporary goodbyes to all the new friends I´ve met. It´s extremely bittersweet; I´ve been spending all my time for the past 3 months with 15 extremely good friends. Now we need to all return to our homes. It´s going to be quite the transition, but I feel like we have been prepared.

I return home as a radically changed individual. Every single change that has come to me on this course I have enjoyed. I return home stronger, better, happier, and prepared. I´ve been both mentally and physically strengthened in almost every way possible: Joey 2.0

We wrote letters to ourselves on the 3rd day of course and we finally go to read them again yesterday (May 10th). At the end of mineI wrote to myself: ¨Hope you had a great time Future Joey. -Past Joey¨.I certainly did have a great time Past Joey, kudos!

Thank you so much Dragons for the life changing experience and for all the new friends I made out of it!

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Bolivian Psycho

Joseph Peter Romness,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

Description

The Place: Miami AirportThe Time: 3 Months AgoThe Occasion: The beginning of an Adventure As the Joester walked around the Miami airport aimlessly searching for his other group members among multitudes of other people, he did not know what he was getting himself into. He had signed up to leave home and join a group […]

Posted On

05/11/12

Author

Joseph Peter Romness

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...And here we are, with but one day remaining or as a peer described
- one final period of sleep that separates us from a bittersweet
homecoming, a period that has become defined by dreams involved each
member of the group in very strange ways or occasional interruptions
by Joey crashing into furniture as he sleepwalks through our cluttered
room. The next of these periods will be a very disoriented slumber
spent in constant readjustment through various uncomfortable positions
until the flight attendant finally announces to expect mild turbulence
as we begin descent into our destination.

Thus, I am beginning to consider the approach to both my departure and
return, kissing goodbye to the country I have called my home for the
past three months as well as saying hello to an old home I have nearly
forgotten about. I have been trying to take advantage of my last days
here - waking up early to see the morning sun rise from behind the
looming presence of Illimani and illuminate the valley that separates
that great mountain and I, staying up late to gaze at a sky filled
with stars that categorize the Southern hemisphere and thus will, in a
matter of days, show me a completely different celestial network when
I next look at it from the comfort of my porch back home. The time in
between these rituals has been reserved for exploration of the land
surrounding me, with the curves and contours of canyons, llamas
turning their heads to carefully observe this outsider as he passes
through their land. I have also been trying to take advantage of my
last few days with each of my group members, acknowleding the things I
appreciate about them and solving difficulties that may have separated
us. I am still planning out the appropriate ways to say goodbye to
these meaningful new friends I have made, friends that I only now
realize how much I will miss.

Perhaps even more difficult than development of a return strategy is
that for departure. This sudden hello to my old home includes mental
preparation to the differences presented to me by my home and the
people that make it. I feel somewhat similar to an astronaut readying
his earthbound rocket for crash landing. The lack of gravity in space
is like the absence of the familiar comforts of home in this sometimes
challenging country, and like the astronaut, I have been forced to
learn how to maneuver despite the loss of complete control. Sometimes
even, I have been totally beyond control, forced to simply accept the
feeling of helplessness, remain calm and observe the life-altering
features and events of this new world. Now... I will regain that
sensation of gravity, a process that can be almost as shocking as
losing it in the first place.

I fear returning to a town unchanged since I left, family still
partaking in the same useless arguments over the dining table, friends
all going to the same meaningless parties. The past three months, I
believe, have changed me in a very positive ways, allowing me to
escape negative ideals and habits that I risk reconforming to within
my previous community. When I return, I do not wish to throw away my
old life, but instead seek a balance between the new and old,
considering their individual importances and strengths, and how the
characters in each can relate to eachother healthily.

In addition, throughout my experience in Bolivia, I have been able to
recognize the incredible effort needed by it´s people to survive, and
have had to work hard myself in order to attain the things I need and
accomplish the things I want to. Life in California demands far less
of me physically. Tasks, instead, are easily completed either by
machines with pinpoint perfection or with money paid to those more
willing to complete them. I fear slipping back into this culture of
convenience, and forgetting what I have learned in Bolivia. I think
these lesson holds great value as I enter college and professional
life, and allow me to further appreciate this life, and the
possessions and people forever within it.

I strive to help the people I talk to or share my many stories with
understand the power of my trip as best they can. One of my greatest
rewards of travel is passing the passion on, allowing others to have
similar influential experiences that I have had and grow from them as
I have. Perhaps my greatest tool of preparation is just planning
future travel, travel in which I can further change myself for the
better and learn lessons which continue to make my life, back home and
on the road, whether saying goodbye or hello, much more valuable.
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Long Goodbyes and Hard Hellos

Guthrie Stoltzfus,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

Description

…And here we are, with but one day remaining or as a peer described – one final period of sleep that separates us from a bittersweet homecoming, a period that has become defined by dreams involved each member of the group in very strange ways or occasional interruptions by Joey crashing into furniture as he […]

Posted On

05/11/12

Author

Guthrie Stoltzfus

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WOW! What can I say, it´s my last night in Bolivia just arriving back into La Paz from the most amazing transference! We just went and had our ´last supper´ (Joey played Jesus) at a restaurant called La Coca! Believe it or not i´m ging to miss Bolivian food, and all the potatos that come with it! Thank goodness for Izzy´s Bolivian Gluten Free Cook Book! ( Izzy don´t foget to e-mail it!) But in all I find my self growing sadder and sadder as the hour draws nearer to leave. I have been with my Bolivian family for so long its going to be hard not to always have there shoulder to lean on! I will miss everyone dearly! This has been one crazy ride, worth all the ups and downs, and I thank everyone for being strong and inspiring along the way! This is a experience i will never forget, an experience that I have and will still grow from with time!

Thank you Pachamama!

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Thank you Pachamama

Molly Watkins,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

Description

WOW! What can I say, it´s my last night in Bolivia just arriving back into La Paz from the most amazing transference! We just went and had our ´last supper´ (Joey played Jesus) at a restaurant called La Coca! Believe it or not i´m ging to miss Bolivian food, and all the potatos that come […]

Posted On

05/11/12

Author

Molly Watkins

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It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure in South America. The students will be boarding a plane back home in the next few days and leaving the semester behind. Fortunately one of the beauties of traveling is that although you may be leaving a place behind, the memories and experiences will be with you for a lifetime.

Below is the return flight information for the eagerly awaiting families:

Returning Flight:

May 12th, 2012

American Airlines #AA 922

Depart: La Paz (LPB) 6:50am

Arrive: Miami (MIA) 3:55pm

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

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Admin

Admin,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

Description

It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure in South America. The students will be boarding a plane back home in the next few days and leaving the semester behind. Fortunately one of the beauties of traveling is that although you may be leaving a place behind, […]

Posted On

05/8/12

Author

Admin

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This is our last week in the Andes.

The program is almost done and I cannot believe that it happened so fast. However as I always say, ‘one day you are here travelling, working, sometimes by your own or with other people that you never imagined to be with or with your friends and the next day you are somewhere else, provably with the same people, with other people, still working, still travelling. The thing is that what do you want to do to have the best experience of every single day of your life? What kind of experience do you want to take back home if you are travelling? I remember all the places that we have been in. The mountain in the Andes, beautiful sun sets, incredible glaciers while doing hiking and the whole ceremonies for the Apus (sacred Mountains ), Pachamama (mother earth), we did with Calixto in Santiago the Ok’ola near the Lake Titicaca, Fabian before going to Salkantay Trek in Peru the way to go to Machupachu. I also remember the jungle in the Amazon; the small town that we passed through, the boat trip in to Los Amigos Research Station in the Peruvian Amazon. The entire home-stays our students did in Santiago the Ok’ola, Cochabamba, Huacaria and El Alto. There are so many people that we met through our journey and so much that we learn from them. Now we are in La Paz and this final week is very special so our Plan is to go to this beautiful place called Allkamary It is around 1 and a haft hours from el Alto. The interesting thing is that this place is a magic place in the velley of the Spirits where you can see the sacred mountains (Illimany and Mururata mountains). According to the legend they were some power full kings thousand years before the Incas. However, just the fact to be there makes you feel that you are in a very special place. And that is why we choose this place to do our transference activities that involves doing our final ceremony for Pacha Mama and all the Apus. So something that is weird or not is that right now there is some blockade in La Paz City and I heard from some students saying that we started with a blockade and finish with another. Our transportation comes at 22:00 pm and them we move in to Alkamary. We have limit with cell-phone service and not access to internet so you are hearing from us when we are going back to La Paz next Friday. So this final week is going to be dedicated to Reflection, celebration and taking all the good memories back home about where we have being, what did we learn in the Andes and Amazon and what kind of experience we had.

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

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Reflection, Ceremony and Taking home

Alan Condori Flores,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

Description

This is our last week in the Andes. The program is almost done and I cannot believe that it happened so fast. However as I always say, ‘one day you are here travelling, working, sometimes by your own or with other people that you never imagined to be with or with your friends and the […]

Posted On

05/7/12

Author

Alan Condori Flores

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I am home. Despite my love of travel, the thrill of visiting new places and rediscovering old ones (my fourth visit to Machu Picchu!), I always experience a sense of release when we cross the border back into Bolivia and I am enveloped by my adopted home. The sacred, snow-capped peaks in Peru take my breath away, but there is something about the familiarity of Illimani, that majestic god-mountain overlooking La Paz, that brings me peace and tranquility. It is in the bosom of this magical peak that we are sharing our final two weeks of the semester.

At 20,200 feet, Mt. Illimani is the second-highest peak in Bolivia and one of the most sacred in the Andes. According to Andean cosmology, mountains are physical manifestations of the gods, and within them reside the forces of both good and evil. These forces must be balanced and appeased in order to maintain equilibrium between man and nature, and for the Andean people this necessitates constant acts of reciprocity and solidarity with the natural world. From our fairy-tale like vantage point in El Alto, Illimani’s striking presence on the horizon has been both a constant reminder of that precarious balance as well as a radiating force of humility and positivity.

We are currently collaborating with Teatro Trono, a fascinating and inspiring collective of artists and activists in the community of Ciudad Satelite in El Alto. Perched dramatically on the edge of La Paz, the city spread out in a crater-like formation below, El Alto is both the youngest and fastest-growing city in Bolivia and perhaps the entire South American region. Emerging in the 1970s and 80s as a result of structural changes in the economy and the sudden closing of several of Bolivia’s largest mines, El Alto is an autonomous, primarily Aymara city that began as peri-urban sprawl and ended up over-taking it’s mother city in both size and population. With over a million people, El Alto today is bigger than La Paz and the second-largest city in Bolivia. It has been built entirely by the people of El Alto, with limited support from the government and through the collective labor of its vibrant neighborhood associations. Borrowing from the political formation of the mining families that originally settled in El Alto, in addition to the enduring tradition of social struggle of the Aymara people, the city is arguably the most socially-organized society in the Western Hemisphere.

Emerging from the midst of this colorful social landscape, Teatro Trono and it’s umbrella organization Colectivo COMPA is an energetic force of artistic mobilization and social action. Started in 1989 to respond to rising rates of delinquency and youth homelessness, COMPA seeks to engage young people in theater and the arts in order to bring about social transformation. Over the years, they have built a series of architecturally dazzling cultural centers across El Alto where children, youth, and even parents can find a creative outlet to help understand and respond to economically challenging circumstances.

This unique community of artists has taken us in, inviting us to participate in their work and opening up homestay opportunities with families that are associated with Trono. Based in a sprawling, seven-story artistic center in Ciudad Satelite that was built largely by Collective members with recycled materials, Teatro Trono is a powerful hug of social and artistic activity and an inspiring place to begin to close out our time together. In addition to homestays, we have participated in a theater workshop with Collective members, taken a tour of their cultural centers around El Alto, and had the great pleasure of seeing one of their theater productions which the Collective will be taking to Rio de Janeiro later this summer to present at a climate change conference focused on water issues. During this time we have also met with well-known journalist and longtime Dragons friend Jean Friedman-Rudovsky, met with diplomats at the US Embassy, helped paint a mural with Trono members in El Alto, and will head into the Cordillera Real this afternoon for a bit of hiking in glaciated peaks.

From the roof of Teatro Trono in El Alto, Illimani watches over us and reminds us to be grateful for this magical experience. In a few days time, we will head to the Valley of the Spirits, at the base of this great peak, in order to reflect on our time together and begin to bring the journey home.

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

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Gods, Mountains, and a Collective of Artists

Julianne Chandler,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

Description

I am home. Despite my love of travel, the thrill of visiting new places and rediscovering old ones (my fourth visit to Machu Picchu!), I always experience a sense of release when we cross the border back into Bolivia and I am enveloped by my adopted home. The sacred, snow-capped peaks in Peru take my […]

Posted On

05/4/12

Author

Julianne Chandler

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I love my job. Honest. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world. I love the people, the places, the experiences, the learning, the growth; all of it. And one of the things I like to do at the end of each course is ensure I take it all in with a Gratitude List. I was inspired and started this one early and I'd like to share this one with y´all.

  1. Julianne for helping me be the best person I can be.

  2. Alan for teaching my so much - about Bolivia and myself.

  3. Tim (Program Director)for the open and honest communication.

  4. Larissa and her enthusiasm for all things Dragons.

  5. Izzy and her leadership from behind.

  6. Molly`s appreciation for art and beauty.

  7. Judson's eagerness to challenge himself.

  8. Joey and his reminders about responsible snacking.

  9. Sharedenthusiasm fortravel with Guthrie.

  10. Dominic and his ability to ¨round up the troops¨ and get things moving.

  11. Giggles (Levi) and his hearty giggles that lift up the group.

  12. Connor and his art and how he used it to take in the experience.

  13. Open chats with Robbie when things need to be aired.

  14. Chandler and her beautiful voice.

  15. Liz´s gentle love for all creatures.

  16. Group B Instructors: Luis, Liz, and Ariel for all of the support and friendship.

  17. Susie,Aaron, Shannon, Shannon, Michael, Eva, Chris, Ali, Tricia, Mattandthe rest of the crew that supported us from the office. Thank you!

  18. The people of our Tiquipaya homestays - all the families who opened up their homes and hearts to us.

  19. Pedro Rodriguez who opened his home to us, ran errands for us, listened to us, and was understanding and flexible about our schedule.

  20. Ah-mazing ISP mentors who allowed our students to go deep into topics of their choosing.

  21. The Familia Picolomini (our landlords and neighbors) who always looked out for me and fed me so much terrific Italian food.

  22. Fabian and Miguel Angel for guiding us - spiritually and physically - through the Andes.

  23. Henry and Jordan who guided us safely on our Cordillera de los Frailes trek with grace and humor.

  24. Jim Shultz and the Democracy Centre team, Andean Information Network, Valentina, Leonardo de la Torre, and everyone else who gave us informative talks.

  25. Valentina! For all her hardwork and friendship while setting up the homestays.

  26. My past students, whose lovely messages and inspiring stories keep me charging forward in the tough times.

  27. Don Tomas in Santiago de Okola for his wonderful humor in Santiago de Okola (“Somos campeones de bloqueos!”)

  28. Johnny and the team in Chulumani who welcomed the crew to Bolivia way back on Day 1.

  29. Andrew Nachemson (former Mekong student) for spending his March Break in Bolivia and contributing so positively to my experience and the group experience.

  30. Carlos, Pascual, and Leonardo ofthe Los Amigos Research Center who opened up the Amazon to us and fed us so well.

  31. My family and friends who support me and my wacky lifestyle.

  32. Being humbled by the people of Bolivia and Peru in so many ways.

  33. The crazy FUN with all of the kids along the way.

  34. Everyone else I`ve missed!

  35. Love notes.

  36. 5000 m passes to deep in the Amazon.

  37. Long bus rides to just stare out the window and put the pieces together.

  38. Practicing patience and intentional living.

  39. The opportunity to work on an accredited course.

  40. Hugs!

  41. Yummy new foods.

  42. Reading student reflections in their yak postings.

  43. So many sunsets.

  44. Intense rain.

  45. Sweat on skin.

  46. Snow at high passes.

  47. Mind and body constantly being exercised.

  48. Laughing so hard I cry.

  49. The Tiquipaya Program House that was such a healthy, calming, and thought-provoking place for me.

  50. Camping. I love camping.

  51. Being able to be there for students – whether that is accompanying to a clinic, or providing an ear, hug, or advice.

  52. Singing! Especially in bad weather.

  53. Poetry sharing.

  54. Knowing eyes with students and co-instructors during something amazing.

  55. Time with my i-team.

  56. During breaks at the Program House there was always someone playing an instrument, someone else kicking a soccer ball, someone else doing homework, another checking in with us about their role, Dominic or Connor doing push-ups, someone petting one of the many dogs, a couple people organizing snacks, a good conversation going, etc.

  57. Great books and readings.

  58. Getting back into a natural rythme. Waking up at 5:53am, but feeling great. (Easy when you go to be at 8pm :-)

  59. Brushing my teeth outside and contemplating my relationship with Orion.

  60. The opportunity to work with future changemakers.

  61. A well-timed good cup of coffee.

  62. Ceibo chocolate. Joey approved!

  63. Group discussions (development, life, service, poo, religion, etc)

  64. A wonderful “ap tapi” (potluck) the students organized for all the homestay families. Beautiful sense of community permeated the event.

  65. An ache in my heart when I feel things so strongly.

  66. Treks to dinosaur footprints (from millions of years ago!), waterfalls, peaks, cloud forests, giant river otters, hot springs, intact indigenous communities, etc.

  67. Bucket showers under the stars and hot showers when returning to a city.

  68. Playing like kids in rivers.

  69. All of the different modes of transportation – from old military vehicles, to tuk tuks, to bicycles, to luxury buses.

  70. Dance party!

  71. Individual chats with students.

  72. Sunset walks back to the Program House.

  73. Discovering new places.

  74. Re-visiting old haunts and friends.

  75. Not going up to Machu Picchu this time (to stay back and watch the tents), but contemplating its magnificence from our campsite below.

  76. The beauty, learning, inspiration, and friendship at Dragons Instructor Orientation.

  77. Snuggling in to overnight buses with the gang.

  78. All of the music that surrounded our group.

  79. The group's re-commitment at mid-course.

  80. The lushness of being here during the rainy season.

  81. When students take things to the next level.

  82. Seeing growth in students in finding themselves and their place in the world.

  83. All of the places we visited.

  84. Personal growth.

  85. Adventure.

  86. Beauty everywhere.

  87. Constant learning – about myself and this world.

  88. Yet my work feels like play.

  89. Meaningful work.

  90. Challenge.

  91. Reflection.

  92. Simplicity.

  93. FEELING ALIVE.


(I'm leaving the next few spaces blank for the remainder of the course. I am certain they will be terrific!)

Thank you, Dragons. I tremendously appreciate the opportunity you have given me.

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

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Gratitude

Cat McNally,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

Description

I love my job. Honest. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world. I love the people, the places, the experiences, the learning, the growth; all of it. And one of the things I like to do at the end of each course is ensure I take it all in with a […]

Posted On

04/26/12

Author

Cat McNally

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A brief overview of what we just encountered while traveling through the amazon:

Huacaria: Perhaps the toughest bout of homesickness I have experienced came here in this small amazonian community at the edge of the basin. However, looking back it could possiblyhave been themost interesting experience ive had in my entire life. Most of my compadres would agree. Challenging for all of us, as our lives slowed down like never before. Hours would be spent at the river swimming and playing with our families, dinners meant an at times challenging doses of yuca and for breakfast? mmm fish head stew. Breakfast o´champions. The most difficult part was being forced to just take a breath andcomprehend where in god´s name we were. This also turned out to be the most rewarding part of the adeventure. All in all I wouldnt have traded my Huacaria visit for any other amazonian village experience out there!

Despues, we went to Los Amigos research station in the heart of the rainforest - we were pleasantlygreeted by an awesome staff, hardy meals and activities ranging from climbing a look-out tower to see the top of the forest canopy to playing a game of volleyball. It was a good time for all of us to experience just how raw the Amazon really is. Afternoon walks with Joey into the thick of the forest where we saw multiple spider monkeys was a personal highlight.

Overall, a whirlwind several days that I will never forget.

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Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

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Wait, what did we just do?

Judson Taylor,Andes & Amazon "A" Semester, Spring 2012

Description

A brief overview of what we just encountered while traveling through the amazon: Huacaria: Perhaps the toughest bout of homesickness I have experienced came here in this small amazonian community at the edge of the basin. However, looking back it could possiblyhave been themost interesting experience ive had in my entire life. Most of my […]

Posted On

04/26/12

Author

Judson Taylor

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