Photo of the Week
Himalaya B
Photo Title


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    [ID] => 118045
    [post_author] => 24
    [post_date] => 2015-05-05 17:13:13
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-05-05 23:13:13
    [post_content] => Dear friends and family of the Himalaya Semester,

Late on Saturday night, after exactly one week that the earthquake struck, 25 students landed at the Los Angeles International Airport, returning nearly three months after starting from the same place.

Hillary Sites, Megan Fettig and I greeted a group of sleepy, travel-weary folks eager to get some rest and settle into a 180-degree shift of a time-zone.  While a handful continued their onward journey home that same evening, we were grateful to spend time with most of the students in LA before sending them all off on their respective paths home.

Over the past two and a half days, those who stayed were afforded the experience of slowing things down.  In Dragons-speak, everyone was returning from a semester of engaging in their "learning-zone," a space well beyond the comfortable, where physically, intellectually, emotionally, and culturally, we're inviting new stimulus to break open the ordinary barriers that mark a sense of the familiar.  As valuable as that space is, there is also value in returning to the "comfort-zone" - and perhaps more importantly, to use this space to reflect and make sense of the radical experience that students had over the past three months.

So what did our final days in LA look like?  We spent time eating well, sleeping in comfortable beds, warm showers, commenting endlessly on the lavish privileges of American life, the stark contrasts from Nepal, being bewildered in a Target store looking for bathing suits, which of themselves, were an uncanny reminder that no one had quite taken their shirt off or worn shorts in public for so long in the name of cultural sensitivity, soaking in the magic of driving up the Pacific coast while listening to good music, satisfying burrito and ice-cream cravings, watching half the van fall asleep during the oddest hours of the day, drenching ourselves in the warmth of the Pacific sun, celebrating the possibility of running barefoot on the beach, re-counting stories of the semester, asking questions asking questions and asking more questions, and in each of their due times, saying goodbye to friends.
Thank you for having us join for the last days of the semester.  As you re-unite with your sons and daughters, we hope they return to you with a deeper awareness of the world and their own unique potential. We also know that the transition back home will take time and patience. They have all been through a unique experience that does not immediately lend itself to words. Please be patient with them and allow the space for their stories to unfold organically over the days and weeks to come.
And if they continue having cravings for burritos and ice-cream, perhaps there is something in there as well that is telling a story of what its like to live in Nepal. With care, Japhy Dhungana
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Himalaya A, Himalaya B

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The Return Home…

Japhy Dhungana,Himalaya A, Himalaya B

Description

Dear friends and family of the Himalaya Semester, Late on Saturday night, after exactly one week that the earthquake struck, 25 students landed at the Los Angeles International Airport, returning nearly three months after starting from the same place. Hillary Sites, Megan Fettig and I greeted a group of sleepy, travel-weary folks eager to get […]

Posted On

05/5/15

Author

Japhy Dhungana

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 117938
    [post_author] => 12
    [post_date] => 2015-05-02 08:42:32
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-05-02 14:42:32
    [post_content] => Dear Himalaya Friends and Family,

We are happy to announce that all 25 Himalayan Studies students left Kathmandu this morning (local time). One student had a separate routing to Croatia and the remaining 24 are currently in the air on the final leg of their journey, from Guangzhou to Los Angeles with a Dragons' instructor. They are scheduled to arrive on flight CZ327 at 8pm. The remainder of the instructors have chosen to stay in country to support their friends and family in Nepal.

We have a team of Dragons staff to greet the students at the LAX airport and support them in their transition back to the US.

This has been a long week for these students, our instructors, all of us in the office and, most significantly, for everyone affected by the earthquake on the ground in Nepal. We thank the families of these students for their support through this process.

Please be in touch directly with any questions, concerns, or ongoing needs regarding this.

With care, from Colorado,

Dragons' Risk Management team
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Himalaya B

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Students arriving to LAX this evening

Dragons administration,Himalaya B

Description

Dear Himalaya Friends and Family, We are happy to announce that all 25 Himalayan Studies students left Kathmandu this morning (local time). One student had a separate routing to Croatia and the remaining 24 are currently in the air on the final leg of their journey, from Guangzhou to Los Angeles with a Dragons’ instructor. They […]

Posted On

05/2/15

Author

Dragons administration

Category

Himalaya B

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 117916
    [post_author] => 12
    [post_date] => 2015-05-01 11:19:24
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-05-01 17:19:24
    [post_content] => Dear Himalayan Studies friends and families,
Students are spending their final night in Nepal before their flight tomorrow. This note contains an update and information regarding their plan. 

Important Updates - The group traveled safely from Pokhara to Kathmandu today and arrived at Phora Durbar/American Club, their lodging in Kathmandu, without incident. 
Transportation around the city appears to be fairly normal in the regions where they are traveling; all ground transportation was very smooth for them today
The airport was relatively orderly today as well, and so the team does not anticipate problems at the airport tomorrow
- They have been able to retrieve all student belongings from home-stays and program houses
Communication has been more challenging in Kathmandu, compared to Pokhara, as networks are overloaded.
- Researching departure times over the past couple of days, flights are leaving within a reasonable time-frame, but with delays to be expected.
- Students are healthy, have been enjoying activities around Phora Durbar today; this includes a soccer match and a visit with the US Ambassador. In addition, Phora Durbar is largely hosting relief teams currently and so they have had interesting conversations about the situation in Nepal and disaster relief in general.
- Instructors report that students, though sad to be leaving in the midst of such tragedy, are ready to head home and also eager to put their heads together for relief efforts

The current plan 1) Awake early in consideration of potential challenges at the airport

2) Leave Phora Durbar at 7:30 for their 11:40 flight (should take no more than 45 minutes to the airport) with US Embassy transportation

3) Instructors will update when they are ticketed and again when their flight is confirmed to have departed

4) We will maintain frequent communication with you during this time via e-mail at each of these points of contact. For reference, this travel will occur be between 7pm and around 1am M.S.T.

5) We recommend that you wait until we have confirmed their departure from KTM and their connection in Guangzhou before booking their domestic flight from LAX to home.

6) At least six students have confirmed that they plan to spend the nights of the 2nd and 3rd in LA, assisted by Dragons staff. Please expect another update regarding these plans this afternoon. Again, we do hope that all students will sincerely consider this option, as we are confident that it will be a very productive space to buffer the intensity of their experience in Nepal before returning home.

Thank you all for your continued support and collaboration. Please be in touch at any point with any questions or concerns about this. All our best from Colorado,

Dragons Risk Management Team
Tim
Reed
Chris
Japhy
Hillary
Anne
  [post_title] => 5/1 Update - Earthquake response and KTM-LAX travel plans [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 51-update-earthquake-response-and-ktm-lax-travel-plans [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-05-01 11:19:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-05-01 17:19:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=117916 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 23 [name] => Himalaya B [slug] => himalaya-b-spring-2015 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 23 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 237 [count] => 87 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6.1 [cat_ID] => 23 [category_count] => 87 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Himalaya B [category_nicename] => himalaya-b-spring-2015 [category_parent] => 237 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2015/himalaya-b-spring-2015/ ) ) [category_links] => Himalaya B )

Himalaya B

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5/1 Update – Earthquake response and KTM-LAX travel plans

Dragons' administration,Himalaya B

Description

Dear Himalayan Studies friends and families,Students are spending their final night in Nepal before their flight tomorrow. This note contains an update and information regarding their plan. Important Updates – The group traveled safely from Pokhara to Kathmandu today and arrived at Phora Durbar/American Club, their lodging in Kathmandu, without incident. – Transportation around the city appears to […]

Posted On

05/1/15

Author

Dragons' administration

Category

Himalaya B

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 117886
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2015-04-30 14:39:50
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-30 20:39:50
    [post_content] => 
Dear Himalaya A and B Friends and Family,

To follow is an update regarding the group's final full day in Pokhara and transition to Kathmandu tomorrow morning:

Important updates:
- The groups are still doing well in Pokhara, and have continued engaging in transference and group activities, including final check-ins with instructors. - Domestic and international flights are still confirmed and airports have been continuing to function. - The group's domestic flight from Pokhara to KTM has changed to 10:45 am on the 1st, and is now a chartered flight. - Instructors Danny Coyle and Amrit Ale have traveled to Kathmandu today, in advance of the group. They report that Kathmandu is normalizing and that the areas where the group will be have seen limited damage from the quake. - Danny and Amrit have arranged transportation for the group from the airport to Phora Durbar - their lodging for the night. Phora Durbar is a US Embassy supported space that has been made available for relief sleeping. The US Embassy is supporting us with our Kathmandu transportation and lodging.

Current Plan 1) Group is spending their final night in Pokhara at the Diamond Lake Guesthouse.

2) They will travel via contracted mini-bus to the airport tomorrow morning for 10:45 flight.
3) The instructors will send an update when they have arrived in KTM at their lodging, and we will update parents then.4) They will spend the afternoon and night of the 1st in Phora Durbar. Food is provided here.
5) Simultaneously, instructors will retrieve student belongings from program houses.4) On May 2nd, take US Embassy shuttle to airport with ample time for 11:40 flight. 5) Instructor will provide updates from the airport regarding their progress and flight information. As we have mentioned, the airport has been quite strained and flights have been unpredictable. 6) We will maintain frequent communication with the instructors during this time. We will update parents as frequently as possible as well. Please know that communication in Kathmandu has been less reliable than Pokhara, and so there may be communication challenges or delays. It appears that networks in Kathmandu are significantly overloaded.
 
7) Instructors will plan to update when the group arrives in Guangzhou, if possible.We are continuing to develop our plan for Los Angeles and appreciate the input and feedback you and the students have offered thus far. You can expect another update regarding this by the end of the day.  Please know, as well, that we will increase our e-mail and yak board communication over the next 48 hours as we hear of the groups travel between Pokhara and KTM (which will happen during the night time in the US) and then on from KTM. 
Please continue to be in touch with any question or concerns about this.With care,
Tim Hare, Director of Risk Management with Chris Yager Reed Harwood Japhy Dhungana Hillary Sites Anne Koenning
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Himalaya B

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4/30 – Update – Earthquake response

Dragons Administration,Himalaya B

Description

Dear Himalaya A and B Friends and Family, To follow is an update regarding the group’s final full day in Pokhara and transition to Kathmandu tomorrow morning:Important updates: – The groups are still doing well in Pokhara, and have continued engaging in transference and group activities, including final check-ins with instructors. – Domestic and international flights are […]

Posted On

04/30/15

Author

Dragons Administration

Category

Himalaya B

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 117820
    [post_author] => 12
    [post_date] => 2015-04-28 09:52:19
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-28 15:52:19
    [post_content] => 
Dear Himalaya B Friends and Family,
Our latest check-in with the instructors as of this morning (28th evening in Nepal) confirms that the group safely made it to Besisahar and, fortunately, was able to secure immediate transportation on to Pokhara.  They plan to arrive in Pokhara this evening, local time. This is significant news and we are happy that they are making their way to better communication and travel options. Pertinent updates:
  • In a continuing positive trend, aftershocks across the country, although present, have continued to diminish
  • The group will arrive to Pokhara soon and stay in a guest house there.
  • Pokhara continues to be a safe location. Group A is currently there, in a guest house, which has not sustained any damage and, in general, Pokhara has not seen much damage from the quake.
  • There are regular flights between Pokhara and Kathmandu
  • We plan to secure their international flights as soon as possible and will update you when they are confirmed, from KTM onward.
Their current plan: 1) They are traveling currently in mini-bus to Pokhara. They plan to arrive this evening. Again, the instructors will follow safety protocols in assessing transportation risk with road and vehicle safety, and are still prepared to adjust this plan if necessary.
2) They will call with an update when they arrive in Pokhara
3) They will stay in a guest-house in Pokhara4)  In Pokhara, the group is expected to have further internet and phone access, and students may have an opportunity to call or email. We will prioritize this in the coming day
5) NEW UPDATE: It seems likely that they will spend a few days in Pokhara before traveling to Kathmandu and then internationally. Due to limited international seat availability and ongoing congestion at the Kathmandu airport, we are looking into flight options that will depart Pokhara for Kathmandu, to be quickly followed by international departures for the whole group. While space may open up as early as May 1, it may take until May 3 or later for the students to depart Pokhara, transfer through Kathmandu, and continue their onward journey back to the US. As travel plans come into focus, we will communicate the details to families. Because of the flight scheduling limitations, we currently plan for the group to do their transference and course end in Pokhara.
6) They will work to secure Pokhara-KTM flights as we have more details regarding their international flight7)  We will send an additional update today as we have more information regarding their flight options - both domestic and international. Again, with the goal of minimizing time in Kathmandu, we will only book their Pokhara-Kathmandu flight as soon as we have their international flight confirmed. With care, Tim Hare, Director of Risk Management with Chris Yager Japhy Dhungana Hillary Sites Anne Koenning
 
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Himalaya B

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Update #8 – Earthquake Response – Him B

Dragons Administration,Himalaya B

Description

Dear Himalaya B Friends and Family, Our latest check-in with the instructors as of this morning (28th evening in Nepal) confirms that the group safely made it to Besisahar and, fortunately, was able to secure immediate transportation on to Pokhara.  They plan to arrive in Pokhara this evening, local time. This is significant news and […]

Posted On

04/28/15

Author

Dragons Administration

Category

Himalaya B

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 117813
    [post_author] => 12
    [post_date] => 2015-04-27 21:34:17
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-28 03:34:17
    [post_content] => 
Dear Himalaya B Friends and Family,
Our latest check-in with the instructors as of this evening (28th morning in Nepal) confirms that the group has boarded their 2 jeeps to travel from Timang to Besisahar.  In the attached map, this is traveling from the star (current location) to the marker along the road to the south (Besisahar). Pertinent updates:
  • The group has not experienced any aftershocks; aftershocks across the country, although present, have continued to diminish
  • The trip will take at least 7 hours, and perhaps more to arrive to Besisahar.
  • The instructors will exercise extreme caution in this jeep journey, understanding that the soil is likely loose, the road may be in poor condition, and there may be aftershocks.
  • We are continuing to look for flights from Pokhara to Kathmandu and on to a safe international location. Flights are available from Kathmandu onward, and we will be able to confirm as soon as we know their timing with this overland journey.
Their current plan: 1) Travel by jeep to Besisahar today, April 28th. They plan to arrive by the late afternoon. Again, the instructors will follow all protocol in assessing transportation risk with road and vehicle safety, and are prepared to adjust this plan if necessary.
2) They will call with an update when they arrive in Besisahar.
3) They will take an arranged transport from Besisahar to Pokhara, most likely tomorrow, and depending upon road conditions.4)  In Pokhara, the group is expected to have further internet and phone access, and students may have another opportunity to call or email. We will prioritize this at that point 5)  We will send an additional update tomorrow morning at 8:30am M.S.T This is another big day in their evacuation and we are pleased that it will bring them closer to better communication and transportation options. With care, Tim Hare, Director of Risk Management with Chris Yager Japhy Dhungana Hillary Sites Anne Koenning

Attached Documents

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Himalaya B

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Update #7 – Earthquake Response – Him B

Dragons Administration,Himalaya B

Description

Dear Himalaya B Friends and Family, Our latest check-in with the instructors as of this evening (28th morning in Nepal) confirms that the group has boarded their 2 jeeps to travel from Timang to Besisahar.  In the attached map, this is traveling from the star (current location) to the marker along the road to the […]

Posted On

04/27/15

Author

Dragons Administration

Category

Himalaya B

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 117798
    [post_author] => 12
    [post_date] => 2015-04-27 10:27:35
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-27 16:27:35
    [post_content] => Dear Himalaya B friends and family,

We have been on the phone with the instructors this evening (Nepal time), and they have had a successful day descending to Timang. First, pertinent updates:

-  The group has not experienced any aftershocks. Aftershocks across the country have diminished over the past 24 hours, although there was one 5.1 reported in north India

- Commercial flights are continuing at major airports, both in Pokhara and in Kathmandu

- The group is currently camped in Timang, descending by foot from Koto without incident today (Timang is the star on the map).

- They have transportation secured for tomorrow to Besisahar - 2 jeeps

Their current plan:

1) Camp tonight in Timang

2) Take transportation 7+ hours from Timang to Besisahar first thing tomorrow morning (the 28th)

3) Once they arrive to Besisahar, they will secure any available transportation to continue down-valley and on to Pokhara as soon as is safely possible

4)   The morning of the 29th, they will hopefully be able to continue via minibus to Pokhara

5)   If, for whatever reason, transportation is not available to Pokhara, they will remain in Besisahar and we will re-evaluate options, including the possibility of going directly to Kathmandu, or the need to remain in Besisahar

6)   They will call before leaving Timang (morning of the 28th, Nepal time) and also update us as soon as they arrive to Besisahar (evening of the 28th, Nepal time).

7)   We will send an additional update at 8:30pm M.S.T

We are all excited about their progress today and their current ability to begin moving out of this remote mountain valley. With care,

Tim Hare, Director of Risk Management

with Chris Yager

Japhy Dhungana

Hillary Sites

Anne Koenning

 

Attached Documents

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Update #6 – Earthquake response – Himalaya B

Dragons Administration,Himalaya B

Description

Dear Himalaya B friends and family, We have been on the phone with the instructors this evening (Nepal time), and they have had a successful day descending to Timang. First, pertinent updates: –  The group has not experienced any aftershocks. Aftershocks across the country have diminished over the past 24 hours, although there was one […]

Posted On

04/27/15

Author

Dragons Administration

Category

Himalaya B

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Hi everyone,
The group was able to get enough signal today to send this short message and photo:
---
This was hours after the quake, with the crew of villagers from Phu who had come running screaming down the mountain to warn us. They felt a renewed appreciation for life and were celebrating with food and drink. Just thought you guys would like to see a photo of everyone safe.
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Photo from the Group!

Instructor Team,Himalaya B

Description

Hi everyone, The group was able to get enough signal today to send this short message and photo: — This was hours after the quake, with the crew of villagers from Phu who had come running screaming down the mountain to warn us. They felt a renewed appreciation for life and were celebrating with food […]

Posted On

04/27/15

Author

Instructor Team

Category

Himalaya B

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    [post_date] => 2015-04-26 20:56:10
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-27 02:56:10
    [post_content] => Dear Himalaya B friends and family,

We are just off the phone with the instructors as they head into their day in Nepal. Today is a big day for them and we have important updates regarding their plan from here.

Pertinent updates:

-       The group has not experienced any aftershocks since yesterday and reports indicate that aftershocks should be waning in frequency and intensity at this point
-       Commercial flights have been resumed and are becoming more frequent both in Pokhara and in Kathmandu
-       The weather is holding stable currently, although it is overcast and some storms have been forecast

 

Plan for the day:

1)  NEW and Important: They plan to break camp in Koto this morning and descend by foot to near the town of Timang. A jeep will shuttle their bags and other gear. This will take them around 2 hours and they will arrive there this afternoon. We have decided to have them move locations for the following reasons:

a.     They have deemed the route to be safe, it will not expose them to any additional hazards, and it will improve their communication abilities

b.     Reports are that the road is blocked due to a landslide just below Timang. By traveling to Timang, they will be better positioned to gather information and more quickly find transportation from below the landslide to continue descending down-valley and back towards Besisahar and on to the major highway

2)   They will camp outdoors tonight in Timang
3)   Once they arrive to Timang, they will secure available transportation as soon as possible to continue down-valley
4)   The morning of the 28th, they will hopefully be able to continue via jeep down-valley towards Besisahar
5)   If, for whatever reason, transportation is not available, they will remain in Timang and we will re-evaluate options
6)   They will update us as soon as they arrive to Timang
7)   We will send an additional update in the morning at 8:30 M.S.T.

 

Again, thank you immensely for your support, patience, and collaboration over these couple of days. With care,

 

Tim Hare, Director of Risk Management

with Chris Yager

Japhy Dhungana

Hillary Sites

Anne Koenning
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Himalaya B

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Update #5 – Earthquake Response – Him B

Dragons Administration,Himalaya B

Description

Dear Himalaya B friends and family, We are just off the phone with the instructors as they head into their day in Nepal. Today is a big day for them and we have important updates regarding their plan from here. Pertinent updates: –       The group has not experienced any aftershocks since yesterday and […]

Posted On

04/26/15

Author

Dragons Administration

Category

Himalaya B

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 117770
    [post_author] => 24
    [post_date] => 2015-04-26 13:54:14
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-04-26 19:54:14
    [post_content] => 
The recent earthquakes in Nepal have been a devastating and heartbreaking experience for so many people across the region and those who have close friends and family in the Himalayas right now.  All Dragons students, instructors, and staff in-country are safe and without injury. However, thousands of others are in difficult circumstances.
For those of you who have asked to how you can contribute to the effort of relief and rebuilding in Nepal, there are many ways to do so.  We had initially posted here a few reliable organizations who are all present on the ground and working hard to help:
Red Cross
Doctors Without Borders
UNICEF
Oxfam International
In addition, however, here are a few other links to ways you can do your own research, inform yourselves, and think more holistically about what it means to live in a world that is interconnected to much larger issues.
For research on responsible giving, and on how organizations use aid resources, please visit:
http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-04-25/how-help-nepal-7-vetted-charities-doing-relief-work-following-earthquake
For an insightful and wise perspective on folks who are rushing to help, we also recommend an article on The Guardian by Claire Bennett, our Nepal Course Director and long-time Dragons staff:
Don't Rush to Nepal to Help - Read This First
From all of us here at Dragons, we are sending our love and support to everyone in Nepal during this extraordinarily difficult time.
With care,
Dragons administration
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Best Notes From The Field, Himalaya A, Himalaya B

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Earthquake Relief and Support in Nepal

Dragons Administration,Best Notes From The Field, Himalaya A, Himalaya B

Description

The recent earthquakes in Nepal have been a devastating and heartbreaking experience for so many people across the region and those who have close friends and family in the Himalayas right now.  All Dragons students, instructors, and staff in-country are safe and without injury. However, thousands of others are in difficult circumstances. For those of […]

Posted On

04/26/15

Author

Dragons Administration

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