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    [post_date] => 2008-05-12 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Sues ‘dai! Hello!

Soksabai che te? How are you?

I’m absolutely thrilled to travel in Cambodia with you this summer.

Every time I think about our upcoming journey the butterflies start dancing in my belly and little jolts of adrenaline shoot up my arms. We’re going to share an amazing experience together and I can’t wait to meet each one of you.

My name is Tim, and I’ll be one of your instructors this summer. Although I’m a newcomer to Dragons, the more I learn about the Dragons philosophy of travel, the more fortunate I feel to have discovered such an outstanding organization.

I also have the travel bug, and have been lucky enough to indulge my love of travel these past few years.

After graduating from Williams College in 2004 with a degree in International Relations I took a job in the smallest city in all of Japan, a coal mining town in the mountains of Hokkaido.

Hokkaido is way up north, close to Siberia, and in winter the snow would completely bury my two-story apartment building. One winter break I escaped to southeast Asia and fell head over heels in love with Cambodia.

As soon as my contract in Japan was up, I returned to Cambodia and spent several months exploring remote coastline, undeveloped islands and laidback farming villages.

Some of my writing from this trip was published in magazines and newspapers, jumpstarting my career as a travel writer. I now write and edit for a variety of travel media and just returned from Argentina, where I updated the new edition of the Fodor’s Guide to Patagonia.

I encourage all of you to prepare for this experience by absorbing as much information about Cambodia as you can. Watch movies, read books, check out websites and leave the Lonely Planet next to your toilet.

Learn some basic Khmer. Read Cambodian newspapers online. Find the websites of NGOs that are active in Cambodia, and read through Cambodian Yak Yaks from last year.

Although we will approach our journey with open minds and open hearts, the more you know about the culture, history, geography and current events of Cambodia, the more you will get out of this experience.

Alex’s advice about cleansing yourself of expectations is right on, but minimizing expectations does not mean rejecting research. We will discover Cambodia with fresh eyes, but your discoveries will be all the more meaningful if you have the understanding necessary to place them in a broader context.

Are you stoked? I know I am. I can’t wait to meet you and embark on this adventure together.

All the Best,

Tim Patterson

PS – Adam and Ben – I like to toss around the Frisbee too, but my forehand needs work.

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Seus ‘dai!

Tim Patterson,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

Sues ‘dai! Hello! Soksabai che te? How are you? I’m absolutely thrilled to travel in Cambodia with you this summer. Every time I think about our upcoming journey the butterflies start dancing in my belly and little jolts of adrenaline shoot up my arms. We’re going to share an amazing experience together and I can’t […]

Posted On

05/12/08

Author

Tim Patterson

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2008-05-11 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Kampuchea som svang gome!
Welcome to Cambodia!

Your instructors are very excited to introduce ourselves to you! This is the first step towards meeting you and heading to Cambodia to embark on an extraordinary journey together. I look forward to reading a bit about you, where you are from, your passions, hobbies, interests and most importantly your reasons for choosing to spend your summer with Dragons in Cambodia!

I am from Toronto, Canada, and spent my childhood staring at maps for hours on end and dreaming of life and daily realities around the world. Although traveling is something I have been lucky enough to experience throughout my life it was not until I was older than you that the international fire inside was sparked. Like my co-instructor, Alex, in my junior year of university I participated in a development program overseas. I left McGill University to spend a year in Ecuador writing papers on child malnutrition and urban street youth. I volunteered with a grassroots non-governmental organization providing short- and long-term assistance to poor urban youth. This experience ignited my passion for youth development and in humanitarian assistance.

Post graduation I spent two years in Asia working, traveling, volunteering and opening myself up to as much as possible. I settled in Cambodia to work with an organization aiming to increase access to and quality of rural education. We raised funds by organizing experiential education volunteer trips for westerners looking to deepen their experience in Cambodia. These trips generated income with local community members to put back into their communities. Through work with this organization I came to the realization not only do I love working within development, traveling and understanding and appreciating new cultures but I really love sharing this with others! This led me to work with Where There Be Dragons!

Where There Be Dragons programs assist students in immersing themselves in a new environment while discovering and developing new strengths within themselves. It seems to be a perfect way to bridge my passion for travel, service and learning with the desire to work with youth to become globally-minded and conscious leaders. Currently I am working for a Canadian youth volunteer service program implementing a project designed to promote community service and help participants grow personally, socially and professionally. I am excited to bring what I have learned through this position to our program this summer!

The Dragons program this summer is going to be extremely intense and emotionally challenging as well as a lot of fun. We are going to learn not only about the grandeur of Angkor Wat and the tragedy of Khmer Rouge but also of the day-to-day realities of Khmers today. The program will focus on intimate local interactions in markets, restaurants, during the home-stay and everywhere we can! The heart of our summer is in the connections we make with Khmers, with each other and with ourselves.

One of my goals this summer is to help you develop the skill set you need to take a large role in planning and implementing our program. As a student leader you will slowly start by purchasing bus tickets, finding accommodation and arranging discussion meetings with directors of NGO’s. By the end of the course, the students will be discussing our itinerary, helping with the budget and being proactive about intensifying their own personal growth. We want to instil in you the confidence and courage to not only take an active part in this experience but also in your own lives throughout the course and at home.

Another goal of mine is to get us off the beaten path! With safety being our first priority, we want to get out of the “tourist space” and foster bonds in local areas as much as possible. We will visit cities most visitors to Cambodia do not stop at and will stay in small villages whose inhabitants will be quite surprised to see you! We will try to eat locally, dress in sarongs with kramas as accessories and sleep either in Khmers’ homes or in locally owned accommodation. What is more, we seek to mentally immerse ourselves by following local attitudes, beliefs and behavioural standards. The aim is to get off the beaten path not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually. We will come to question principles and ideas we hold and form new concepts from these.

My first piece of advice on what to bring it is an open mind and a strong desire to step out of your comfort zone. This program is an emotionally challenging journey we are about to embark on together and we need to enter it prepared to grow.

My other piece of advice is to pack lightly! You can buy almost everything you will need in Cambodia for much cheaper and you will not only be supporting the local economy, but you will also have more fun with your market interactions and you will walk away being dressed appropriately! Items that are very easy to find in Cambodia include: most toiletries, notebooks, and clothes.

If you do choose to bring most of your gear from home here are a few suggestions:

  • Girls, please remember that your shirts must cover your shoulders, back, chest and stomach! The most appropriate bottoms are lightweight pants and long skirts…but you may want to be in sarongs bought there most of the time!

  • Clothes for very tall students and shoes for students will large feet will be difficult to find.
  • Remember when you are packing that appearances are very important in Southeast Asia and we want to remember to dress politely at all times. The most polite shoes have covered toes and a strap covering the back.

The packing list that Dragons has sent you has more really helpful tips and of course I am always here for questions!

My co-instructors and I will be calling all of you within the next few weeks to answer any questions you may have and recap a few important points and reminders. In the meantime, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you soon and even more excited to journey with you through Cambodia this summer!

Allana Hearn
905.688.2174
Allana.hearn@gmail.com

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Hello hello!!!

Allana Hearn,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

Kampuchea som svang gome!Welcome to Cambodia! Your instructors are very excited to introduce ourselves to you! This is the first step towards meeting you and heading to Cambodia to embark on an extraordinary journey together. I look forward to reading a bit about you, where you are from, your passions, hobbies, interests and most importantly […]

Posted On

05/11/08

Author

Allana Hearn

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2008-05-10 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Ok sorry for the shortness of the last post. I had to get on a bus to go to a march through Jerusalem for Yom Haatzmut (Independence Day). Ok so I'm right now in Israel on the March of the Living we went to Poland for a week and marched from Auschwitz to Birkenau as well as visiting a bunch of other concentration camps and now were in Israel having some fun. After the sadness in Poland it's so great to finally be here (it's my first time and I've wanted to go since I was two and a half) I was in Jerusalem for three days and now im in the Kineret (north of Israel). We had to take a break for Shabbat today (there's a few religious kids) but I'm psyched for tomorrow we're going to be going rafting on the Jordan). I haven't been to interesting places like Mali but I did go to Dominica last summer to do community service which was pretty cool. I've also been to France, Greece, the States, a lot in the Caribbean and Mexico. I speak English, French, Spanish, andabitof Hebrew.I don't exactly have an African name (though that sounds really cool) but I do have a hebrew name (Lior Yonatan ben Moshe). I'm really looking forward to Cambodia since Asia is a place that I've always wanted to go and this seems like the right place to do it.

I just had a question for the instructors or I guess Ben too how much freedom/leeway are we going to get for the ISPs? Are they important to this programme? Also I saw that the packing list said a 45 litre backpack are you intending for us to carry it on the plane? Also my mom's friend's niece lives in Phnom Penh is there any point in the course where I could meet her?

My internet cards running out so I have to go. I'm looking forward to seeing you all in LA and I'll probably post some pictures when I'm back home.

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Hey everybody (continued)

Lorne Schweitzer,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

Ok sorry for the shortness of the last post. I had to get on a bus to go to a march through Jerusalem for Yom Haatzmut (Independence Day). Ok so I’m right now in Israel on the March of the Living we went to Poland for a week and marched from Auschwitz to Birkenau as […]

Posted On

05/10/08

Author

Lorne Schweitzer

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    [post_content] => Hey Guys, 
My name is Nikhil Mehra. I'm 16, from Greenwich CT. This is my second year with dragons; I went to Guatemala last summer and can't think of a better way to spend a summer than with dragons. I look forward to meeting you guys.

-Nikhil
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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Hello

Nikhil Mehra,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

Hey Guys, My name is Nikhil Mehra. I’m 16, from Greenwich CT. This is my second year with dragons; I went to Guatemala last summer and can’t think of a better way to spend a summer than with dragons. I look forward to meeting you guys. -Nikhil

Posted On

05/10/08

Author

Nikhil Mehra

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2008-05-08 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Hi everybody,

I'm Lorne Schweitzer and I'm sixteen years old from Montreal ,Quebec, Canada. I'm graduating from Royal West Academy this year (long stoyr but I'm in grade 11) and I'm in Israel right now. I'll post more later.

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Hi everybody

Lorne Schweitzer,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

Hi everybody, I’m Lorne Schweitzer and I’m sixteen years old from Montreal ,Quebec, Canada. I’m graduating from Royal West Academy this year (long stoyr but I’m in grade 11) and I’m in Israel right now. I’ll post more later.

Posted On

05/8/08

Author

Lorne Schweitzer

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2008-05-06 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Hey everyone,

My name is Ben Wilsker and I am a sophomore at Boston University Academy in Boston, Massachusetts. Iplay Ultimate Frisbee and intend to bring a bunch of Frisbees with me. I, like Adam, also have a case of the travel bug. I have been lucky enough to have been born into a family which shares this particularly interesting trait. I have had a lot of really fantastic trips as well. I have been to Russia, China, Morocco, England, Turkey, Greece and a lot more; however, last year I found myself in my favorite country to date. I signed up for the WTBD Cambodia '07 program. This is my second summer going to Cambodia and it outstrips all my other favorites by a mile. The people, having been repressed and killed only a few decades ago, are some of the most dynamic and life-loving I have ever met. The religion, Theravada Buddhism, has shaped my life for the last year. Greng Jiett (a Buddhist moral code, though the spelling is phonetic) has changed the way I interact with those around me. I, in short, am in love with the culture, the language, the people, and everything else about Cambodia. I learned more about myself in 6 weeks than I have learned in 16 years and I can't wait to go back with all of you.

I hope to talk to all of you on the Yak Yak boards soon.

Sincerely,

Ben

P.S. Adam: Last year I didn't bring a sleeping bag (I don't think anyone in my group did). A lot of times we sleep in a guesthouse, which means a bed, sometimes we sleep in a hammock, and sometimes we sleep on the floor. No matter what, even on the floor, you won't need a sleeping bag. Sleeping sheets are wonderful, but it is far too hot for a sleeping bag.

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Where I Was and Where I Am

Ben Wilsker,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

Hey everyone, My name is Ben Wilsker and I am a sophomore at Boston University Academy in Boston, Massachusetts. Iplay Ultimate Frisbee and intend to bring a bunch of Frisbees with me. I, like Adam, also have a case of the travel bug. I have been lucky enough to have been born into a family […]

Posted On

05/6/08

Author

Ben Wilsker

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    [post_date] => 2008-05-05 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Hi everyone! My name is Adam, and I almost always go by Adam, but I also like the name Tieba (Chay-Buh). I am a senior who will soon be graduating from Skyline High School in Oakland, California. I'm going on this Summer trip because I have an unrelenting case of the Travel Bug and the Itchy Feet. Traveling is something that I want to put at the center of my life, along with a few other passions and interests. I've been to Spain, Morocco for a day, and Mali. Mali is where I got my West African name, Tieba. In the Fall, I will be attending Global College of Long Island University. With GC, I get to study in a different country every year!


Why the Cambodia Program? Many reasons. This program stuck out to me because of its focus on peace studies, experiential education, village life, and service work. The push for human rights of everyone in the world is something that I strongly believe in, so I think an experience of this kind is something that I need right now in my life. Cambodia is a place whose beautiful culture I feel has been overshadowed by its harsh history. Yes, I intend to see firsthand the struggles of Cambodia, but I also want to see all of the wonderful aspects of life that can be learned there.

So that's just a little bit about myself. Now it's time to read about all of you! I would love to see an introduction of everyone before we meet in person. I've provided a few pictures of my adventures and just me goofing around. I hope they give a fair impression of who I am.

Just one quick question for a WTBD coordinator: I went to REI and got all psyched about this sleeping bag compressor thing that I picked up, when it dawned on me that the packing list doesn't have sleeping bag listed! Is this just something that was accidentally left out, or are we really not bringing sleeping bags? I'm also completely psyched about this new hiking backpack of mine! Thanks for any help!

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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An Introduction

Adam Brooks,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

Hi everyone! My name is Adam, and I almost always go by Adam, but I also like the name Tieba (Chay-Buh). I am a senior who will soon be graduating from Skyline High School in Oakland, California. I’m going on this Summer trip because I have an unrelenting case of the Travel Bug and the […]

Posted On

05/5/08

Author

Adam Brooks

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