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PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala


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    [post_content] => After a whirlwind and amazing two weeks in Guatemala, the MDIHS group has made it full circle and has checked in at the Guatemala City airport. Missing them already!
    [post_title] => Goodbye!
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View post

Goodbye!

Instructor Team,PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

Description

After a whirlwind and amazing two weeks in Guatemala, the MDIHS group has made it full circle and has checked in at the Guatemala City airport. Missing them already!

Posted On

04/22/17

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2017-04-20 12:56:53
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    [post_content] => 

When I was young I wanted more than anything to know if God was real. I also wanted to know why I had to tie my shoes in the morning and wash my hair at night. I fell asleep at night thinking about what I would be when I grew up, but more importantly why I would choose to be that thing.

Listening to Armando talk about his work was nothing less then transformative. There have been very few moments in my life when I’ve been in the presence of someone who possess so much passion and drive for their work. When Armando speaks about his work, he makes you feel compelled to act.

Armando acts for our Mother Earth. He has spent nearly 20 years of his life working to protect the forests in Guatemala. The Chico Mendes Project was named after the wilderness conservationist Chico Mendes. He worked in Brazil and dedicated his life to conserving the Amazon rainforest. He was murdered in 1988 because of his relentless efforts to stand up against the threats towards the environment.

Armando’s heart is contagious. He speaks and acts with a very powerful spirit that is almost tangible. There is some spark inside of him that refuses to go out. It is up to us to find that place in our hearts where there is bottomless care and to work in whatever ways we can with whatever strength we have for our futures. It is a daunting task to do this even a fraction of a time, but we must aspire. Armando has led us somewhere with his purpose, it is now up to us to read that purpose and find our own forests.

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The Chico Mendes Project

Sarah Soucek,PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

Description

When I was young I wanted more than anything to know if God was real. I also wanted to know why I had to tie my shoes in the morning and wash my hair at night. I fell asleep at night thinking about what I would be when I grew up, but more importantly why […]

Posted On

04/20/17

Author

Sarah Soucek

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Just a couple meaningful quotes given by group members, heard throughout the trip:

 - "The problem is the solution." - IMAP

 - "If you have a problem and no solutions, then you are just complaining."

 - "Energy can bring life, but can also be used to destroy so use it wisely."

 - "Every time history repeats itself, the price goes up." - Beehive Collective

 - "It is said that the forest can live without man, but man cannot live without the forest." - Gregorio

 - "Work hard in the beginning, but work harder as you go on."

 - "No great thing is created suddenly."

 - "A myth is only an easy way to convey a complicated subject." - Ronnie Lec

 - "For us, all our stories are written in the sky." - Ronnie Lec

 - "All life is made of patterns." - Ronnie Lec

 - "They have THE softest cloths." - Brian Reilly

 - "To define would be to limit."

 - "Keep reinventing yourself."

 - "Do not go with the flow, flow with the flow." - Juancho

 - "You won’t learn anything if you don’t push your limits."

 - "Some dream of success, others get up and make it happen."

 - "Our host family thought we were trying to shower together." - Jimmy and Abbe

 - "Say yes, whatever it is, say yes with your whole heart and as simple as it sounds, thats all the excuse life needs to grab you by the hands and start to dance." - Brian Andreas

 

 - "To truly listen is to risk being changed."

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Selected quotes from the trip so far

Conner Malbon,PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

Description

Just a couple meaningful quotes given by group members, heard throughout the trip:  – “The problem is the solution.” – IMAP  – “If you have a problem and no solutions, then you are just complaining.”  – “Energy can bring life, but can also be used to destroy so use it wisely.”  – “Every time history […]

Posted On

04/19/17

Author

Conner Malbon

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    [post_content] => Sleeping in someone else’s bed isn’t too bad for me. A bed is a bed is a bed. My pillow, however, is the one thing I long for during my nights here. You never realize how accustomed your neck is to sleeping in the same position every night until one day your pillow changes.

This trip has brought forth myriad changes, as one would guess, but there still remains a few constants. Everyone smiles the same way. You open your mouth, and widen it. That’s still the same. A smile means the same thing, as does a hug and a kiss on the cheek. The teeth are the same, we all have noses, fingernails, and little wrinkles in places only we know on our bodies. Some things have stayed the same. My host sister is most interested in Disney’s “Frozen” and owns a plate and a mug that have colorful scenes from the movie on both. At meal times my host family presents me with those dishes. It seems that is their warmest and best attempt to make sure I am familiar with at least one aspect of their life. I am thankful for these attempts.

The differences are louder and less subtle than the similarities. They scream at me in harsh voices, and sometimes pinch me in the most tender places. I miss running water that isn’t stolen by the privatization of natural resources. I don’t miss it so much for myself as I do for my family and neighbors. I feel guilty knowing I will be able to go home son and shower carelessly as well as do the most basic of things, like flush the toilet or wash my hands. I miss it for my family here, who may never know what it is like to not worry about the water being shut off in the middle of a shower.

The differences seem abundant and the similarities seem scarce and trivial yet I am comforted by the fact that we all fall asleep at night under a soft blanket, hoping for sweet dreams.
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View post

Home-stay reflections

Sarah,PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

Description

Sleeping in someone else’s bed isn’t too bad for me. A bed is a bed is a bed. My pillow, however, is the one thing I long for during my nights here. You never realize how accustomed your neck is to sleeping in the same position every night until one day your pillow changes. This […]

Posted On

04/15/17

Author

Sarah

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    [post_date] => 2017-04-13 10:20:18
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    [post_content] => We've gotten word from our group in Guatemala that while internet is a bit shaky, spirits are high and the course is going smoothly, infused with great student energy and engagement! We are excited to share some beautiful photos from the group's first day. They are now settling into home-stay routines with families in San Juan.
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View post

Photos!

Dragons Administration,PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

Description

We’ve gotten word from our group in Guatemala that while internet is a bit shaky, spirits are high and the course is going smoothly, infused with great student energy and engagement! We are excited to share some beautiful photos from the group’s first day. They are now settling into home-stay routines with families in San […]

Posted On

04/13/17

Author

Dragons Administration

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Hola amigos,

We are happy to say that the past 72 hours since arriving in Guatemala have been fully packed, energetic and bursting with learning.  The MDIHS students have proven themselves to be curious, enthusiastic, interactive, warm-hearted, and exceptionally receptive.  Suffice it to say, we are well-fed, not just in our panchas (bellies), but also our cabezas (heads) and cuores (hearts)!

Here are a few highlights from the past few days staying in San Lucas Toliman:

  • The boat ride across the Lago de Atitlan from Panajachel to San Lucas Toliman
  • Initiations into drinking Guatemalan coffee, eating hand-formed tortillas, and the local dishes
  • Walking through the Sunday market silently taking in all the colors, smells and sounds
  • The truck ride through the forest from San Lucas to IMAP
  • Our first early-morning Mayan ceremony focusing on the nahuales
  • Blowing our minds learning about permaculture and the Mayan calendar systems
  • Practicing
  • Intimate group circles in the evenings
  • Humming to the snails, planting watercress in the stream and swimming at CEPEK
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PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

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First 72 hours!

Instructor Team,PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

Description

Hola amigos, We are happy to say that the past 72 hours since arriving in Guatemala have been fully packed, energetic and bursting with learning.  The MDIHS students have proven themselves to be curious, enthusiastic, interactive, warm-hearted, and exceptionally receptive.  Suffice it to say, we are well-fed, not just in our panchas (bellies), but also our cabezas (heads) and cuores (hearts)! Here are a few highlights from […]

Posted On

04/12/17

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_content] => The group has arrived with big smiles and energy! We are excited to see the adventure in Guatemala unfold!
    [post_title] => MDIHS students have arrived!
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MDIHS students have arrived!

Dragons Admin,PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

Description

The group has arrived with big smiles and energy! We are excited to see the adventure in Guatemala unfold!

Posted On

04/8/17

Author

Dragons Admin

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    [post_date] => 2017-04-07 17:12:30
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-07 23:12:30
    [post_content] => Hi everyone,
As most of you have heard, one of our host communities, Pachaj, recently experienced a devastating loss which has deeply affected the residents.  Out of respect for the grieving families, Juancho, Brian, and Liz, along with the Boulder Administration, have organized alternative plans for the middle part of our program.  Our revised itinerary is:

April 8-12: IMAP in San Lucas
April 12-15: Homestays in San Juan
April 15-17: Visit Chico Mendes and stay in Xela
April 17-20: Homestays in San Juan
April 20-22: Antigua

The fundamental components of our program - home stays, language study, trekking, and learning about various social, environmental and cultural issues -  will be maintained in our new location of San Juan La Laguna. Dragons has a long-standing relationship with this community, where students will be warmly welcomed into their home stays, will have ample opportunities to improve their Spanish and participate in language lessons, and will dive into hands-on learning about coffee farming, weaving, and the arts.  In addition, we are finalizing plans for an alternative trek that will take us up the flanks of the mountains surrounding the Lago de Atitlan - keep an eye out for those photos on the Yak Board!

Luckily, we can still spend a day in Pachaj with Armando and his Chico Mendes Reforestation Project over Easter weekend while we are based in Xela.  Armando has such a deep love for sharing his work with Dragons students, and has asked us to come and get our hands dirty despite the sorrow that he and his family is enduring.


Our hearts go out to Armando and the community of Pachaj.  We appreciate your understanding and flexibility with our adjustments to the itinerary, please feel free to be in touch with any questions.  We can't wait to see the beaming faces of the MDIHS group tomorrow morning!

Sinceramente,
Juancho, Brian, Liz
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PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

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Update to the itinerary

Liz,PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

Description

Hi everyone, As most of you have heard, one of our host communities, Pachaj, recently experienced a devastating loss which has deeply affected the residents.  Out of respect for the grieving families, Juancho, Brian, and Liz, along with the Boulder Administration, have organized alternative plans for the middle part of our program.  Our revised itinerary is: […]

Posted On

04/7/17

Author

Liz

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-30 15:42:30
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-30 21:42:30
    [post_content] => Hello everyone!  I imagine you are feeling the excitement build as our travels tiptoe closer... My bags are poised for packing, and I have stuffed my brain with as much Spanish practice as it can handle.  Brian, Juancho and I have exchanged flurries of emails, finalizing plans and fine-tuning our itinerary.  We can't wait to acquaint all of you with the profound beauty and complexity of Guatemala!

Following up on my introduction to most of you via Skype, I wanted to offer a brief personal bio here:
I spent my childhood exploring the rugged wilderness of California where I was primed to look beyond my 'backyard' for adventure and cultivated a love for exploration.  I officially "caught the travel bug" while lounging on my couch in high school, reading armchair travel books and day-dreaming about exotic places.  Soon thereafter I packed my bags and moved to Italy where I developed an affinity for the ‘unknown’ and an enthusiasm for sharing it.  Hence, working in the field of international education.

My time with Where There Be Dragons began nearly a decade ago when I stepped into the office and joined this team of thoughtful, earnest travelers.  My journeys have led me to India, Thailand, Morocco, Senegal, Mexico and now to Guatemala.  I have looped back to Italy many times, and most recently led a farm-to-table program for high schoolers in southern Tuscany.  One of my goals during our program is to filter out the Italian that will inevitably spill out of my mouth, and I ask all of you to please correct me at any time!

Soon enough we will be gathered together, beginning our journey under starry skies near the majestic Lago de Atitlan.  I urge you to pack an open and curious mind, lots of questions, and leave behind as many preconceptions as you can.

In the mean time, please keep sending us your questions.  We are looking forward to meeting all of you next week!
    [post_title] => Saludos a todos!
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Saludos a todos!

Liz Wiig,PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

Description

Hello everyone!  I imagine you are feeling the excitement build as our travels tiptoe closer… My bags are poised for packing, and I have stuffed my brain with as much Spanish practice as it can handle.  Brian, Juancho and I have exchanged flurries of emails, finalizing plans and fine-tuning our itinerary.  We can’t wait to acquaint […]

Posted On

03/30/17

Author

Liz Wiig

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Hello everyone!! Me llamo Juan Salvador Galich, but everybody calls me Juancho. I have been part of Dragons since 2009 and as you can imagine It has shaped my perspective and appreciation for life in so many ways.  Before becoming a Dragons Instructor, I was (and still am) working as an adventure guide in Guatemala, which is one of the reasons why I started working with WTBD, (because of my logistical knowledge about the country) and of course the first time I did this I thought: “I can do this, I have traveled around the country before with groups and for long periods of time”.   To my surprise it was a lot more than just coordinating logistics and making sure that everyone had a great time.  I became more aware of social justice, the environment, political reality, my own culture,  and very important, the way we are all connected in one way or the other.

Years after that first experience, I am very passionate about what we do as Dragons, the way we can learn about each other and how as single beings we can be huge if we connect with others.

I enjoy the outdoors, meeting people, listening and understanding their stories. At the same time, I enjoy working on my own experience, opening my mind and heart to new places, new ideas and new stories.

My personal goal for this trip is to connect with all of you guys, to be a cultural bridge between Dragons and locals, to show all of you about the reality of this wonderful country and to share my own experience with all of you.

Im also very thankful to be working with Brian ( who is a wonderful human being and a great Instructor), Lyn and Angie who I met last time MDIHS was here.  To reconnect with Natasha and Val who have already been here before and to connect with all of you who will be here for the first time.

Other things that I love in life: Food (eating it and cooking it) Cats and Dogs (I have 2 of each), music (listening and playing guitar and drums) , working with my hands, art in general, filming and video editing (Hey Sarah!!), photography, sculpture and writing.

We will have time to learn more about each other, to talk about Guatemala’s history and present. To play games and to explore our feelings and emotions. And very important, to learn about ourselves.

I also want to reply to some of the questions I have seen on this Yak board, and please keep’em coming!

So here you go!:

  September and Graham asked if we can swim at the lake. Answer is yes, we will have the opportunity to do that for sure and something that you will like to know is that the temperature of the water is PERFECT!!

September, Jimmy and Sarah also asked about the home-stay families.  Most of the families have children, in some cases they are little kids running around and in other cases they are around your age and are in school and/or work. Since there are a good number of home-stay families that have been part of Dragons for many years now, they rotate so they can all have the opportunity to host Dragon’s students. The details of which families are part of this program and who they will be hosting will come in the near future as this is something that the families themselves coordinate with the support of your wonderful Instructors.

Activities with families can vary, from cooking and learning about tortillas and other typical dishes to learning about textiles and their cultural content.  Also, since you will become part of this families, you will also have the opportunity to go to church, markets, family gatherings and celebrations if there are any. And at the same time you will have the chance to use your imagination and get creative with them, figure out other ways in which you can connect with them, whether it is helping and contributing with house related tasks (such as helping in the kitchen, cleaning the house, help cleaning and maybe harvesting the cornfields) playing games or sharing with them about your life, your families back at home (bring photos, that is always a fun way to share!)  etc.

Another question was, “what is the typical food of Guatemala?”  and the answer is …. There is a lot of food here, Every region in Guatemala has its own “Local dish” so learn the word “ PEPIAN” because it will be something that could become one of your favorite dishes!.  The recipes vary from stews to steamed corn creations, since pretty much everything grows here there will be lots of delicious vegetables and fruits. Many many tortillas and tamales,. for sure beans and some of the best farm-cheese you can imagine. Avocados will be eaten on this trip!!.  There is also really good local “pan dulce” and desserts.  This is actually one of my favorite things to talk about but Im going to stop right here with this because I could just go for hours and hours…

Natasha, Jimmy and Chelsea asked about the Trek.  This is a great time to bond as a group, to give each other a hand and to enjoy the beauty of the Guatemalan Highlands.  We will take a route that has been used for hundreds of years by Guatemalans, and still is.. many of this trails are very old and still used.  We will stay in two communities that have hosted Dragons before and they are happy to have us again.  Maybe there will be an opportunity to have a fire, tell stories and talk to this wonderful people that will open their homes (and kitchen !  YUM!) for us.  We have a history of coming here so they will treat us as guests, make us feel welcomed and share with us. Something that is worth mentioning is that Rural Guatemala is very different from what we will see in some of the other communities we will visit, and in a lot of cases locals can be shy, but don’t let that give you the wrong impression because in just a few minutes  they will share a smile, ask you things, and probably  offer you some hot coffee of tea, or ask you if you want to play.   We believe that this is a great opportunity to talk about some of the social Issues that you will see as well as cultural differences and similarities, education, health, religion, farming, poverty (economical) and wealth (nature and culture).

Just so you know, while on the Trek, you only need to bring your trekking gear, Backpacks sleeping bags, warm layers, rain coat, hiking boots or shoes, head lamps, water bottles, personal hygiene stuff and meds (we will talk more about this once you are all in Guatemala) and maybe some playing cards or easy to pack games.  The rest of your belongings will travel around the trek and will be waiting for us at our final destination. So it is very important that you bring a stuff sack of extra bag for all of that stuff that you wont bring on the Trek.  If you guys have more specific questions about Packing, please let us know. Both Brian and myself are expert “packologists”!

And finally Thistle asked if there will be an opportunity to hang a hammock…  YES!!  Specially if its one of those super portable travel hammocks, you could even bring it on the trek and set it up when we get to our destinations. In your home-stay you will have the chance to ask your family about that and they will help you find the best spot for it, and if its is appropriate and we find a great place to do it you will be able to sleep in it!

Ok, my friends this is it for now, and like I said before, KEEP THOSE QUESTIONS COMING!! It’s a great way to start planning your packing and your souls.

Un gran abrazo to all of you, I can’t wait to meet you all in person!

Juancho.

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PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

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Instructor

Juancho,PARTNERSHIP: Mount Desert Island Guatemala

Description

Hello everyone!! Me llamo Juan Salvador Galich, but everybody calls me Juancho. I have been part of Dragons since 2009 and as you can imagine It has shaped my perspective and appreciation for life in so many ways.  Before becoming a Dragons Instructor, I was (and still am) working as an adventure guide in Guatemala, […]

Posted On

03/6/17

Author

Juancho

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