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    [post_content] => Hey!I have a question regarding the sleeping bag. Do we need to bring one or would we survive with just a sleep sheet or sleeping bag liner?Thanks!
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Brazil, Summer 2009

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Question??

Abigail Hernandez,Brazil, Summer 2009

Description

Hey!I have a question regarding the sleeping bag. Do we need to bring one or would we survive with just a sleep sheet or sleeping bag liner?Thanks!

Posted On

06/15/09

Author

Abigail Hernandez

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Hi,

This is Pascal, and i was wondering what is the status on the travelling hammock.

Do we still need to have it and if so where can i find one.

Thanks. Also, i am a bg soccer player, and i was wondering what are the possibilities that i will get to play a lot of pick up games? so, should i bring my gear?

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Brazil, Summer 2009

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Packing Question

Pascal Louis,Brazil, Summer 2009

Description

Hi, This is Pascal, and i was wondering what is the status on the travelling hammock. Do we still need to have it and if so where can i find one. Thanks. Also, i am a bg soccer player, and i was wondering what are the possibilities that i will get to play a lot […]

Posted On

06/15/09

Author

Pascal Louis

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    [post_content] => Greetings fellow travelers,

Can you believe it? Our great adventure is soon upon us. We hope you have had some quiet time – in these last few days before your trip – to prepare for the wayward paths that lie ahead. In the frenzy of a voyage that hasn’t launched, that exists a thousand ships strong, ready to break free from your imagination – we suggest that you take a silent moment to prepare. Brazil is the land of the drum, and there is no better guide for your Iliad – for your great quest – than the steady beat of your heart. Are you ready? Can you hear it?

Over the last few weeks, we have been putting together an incredible itinerary for this pioneer Dragons group in Brazil. After a great deal of whispering behind closed doors, rubbing of hands, and insightful program planning, we are happy to announce our travel itinerary. With britches pulled high, and a stern emboldened glare, we will travel deep into the heart of our terra firma, exploring rich features of Brazil through homestays, language training, service learning, hikes, and more. As we travel from one destination to the next, keep in mind that this itinerary may change. This is, above all, your trip, your search, your path, which may lead to unexpected things. Flexibility will help us find our way.

So let’s get started!

On June 28th, our paths will converge at the Miami airport where Adeliade will commence the journey. As we fly on one connecting flight to the next, expect your English world to drop away, as the Brazilian passengers fall merrily back into their native Portuguese. With butterflies in our stomachs, we will dart past customs and enter the world of cafezinho (little coffee), street horns, and warm tropical air. Leo and Isabela, will welcome us in Salvador, ready to grab a bag, hail transport, and dance a little bit of samba.

For orientation we will be heading to a place where we can rest and get to know each other surrounded by natural beauty on the coast of Bahia. Diogo, a beautiful fishing village will be our first destination. There we will be camping near a river, sand dunes and the beach. We will be learning our first skills in Permaculture and Sustainable Living. And we will have a chance to play the Brazilian Martial Art Capoeira, hike in the sand dunes, play in the waves, play soccer Brazil style barefoot on the sand, and experience the life style of this beautiful coastal community.

Next we will head into inland Bahia to the town of Tucana where will we have our first homestays. While eating and sleeping in the homes of local farmers, we will learn about how they have been able to incorporate sustainability into their daily practices. During the days will be learning about permaculture from one of the first perma-pioneers in Brazil. In the evening, we will have time to reflect on our connection with this incredible planet and what we can do to help protect and strengthen it.

Next we will plummet eyes and ears first into the intense urban world of Salvador da Bahia – Brazil’s original capital city. In the heart of the historic city center, where the sound of drums may be heard wafting through the narrow cobble stone streets, we will set up our home base at OPA, the organization of Permaculture and Art, sleeping in a renovated 19th century historic home. Over the next three days, we will rejuvenate our spirits and challenge our perceptions with the intense rhythm of city life: a non-stop ride of acarajé (fried shrimp dumplings), Candomblé (African spiritualism), more Capoeira, and the thousands of cultural intensities of Brazil's first colonial home. Prepare yourself to be inspired and to face the harsh realities of urban poverty, street kids, and the favelas or slums.

After Salvador we will be ready to head inland once more, but this time towards the Natinal Park, Chapada Diamantina, where we will be welcomed by a very different landscape showing the diversity of the state of Bahia, a place made of canyons, huge waterfalls and other amaying natural surprises. There we will be trekking, applying our outdoor skills, permaculture skills, learning about the flora and fauna of the region, visiting remote areas of the park, and much more.... which will put us just ready for the great Amazon Forest.

In the Amazon, our theme of sustainability will come to a head on July 24, as we wonder about one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet (and one that is being rapidly deforested and destroyed). Can we attribute this tragedy to commercial farming interests, misguided government policies, World Bank projects, or interest from abroad? Many questions will be raised as we begin our orientation in Manaus, and travel up the Rio Negro to indigenous Tupé settlements and Caboclo communities.
Here we will see your true resourcefulness and strength, as the fate of our journey falls increasingly into your hands. Be prepared for astounding natural beauty, diverse forest life, and a picture of an ecosystem that is increasingly under threat.

On August 3rd, we are back in Bahia, ready to digest and discuss all of the elements that we have seen. Our path lies on the island of Itaparica, where we will confront our old selves and find out what truly makes us who we are. This phase we call disorientation, which provides a time for reflecting on our experiences and to prepare for our “normal” lives back home.



Then finally, full of both sadness and excitement, we will board the plane back to our homes in the US. We will be a lot dirtier, wiser, and much more full of experience than when we arrived. We hope you will leave inspired to own your title as global citizens, because that it what you will have become by the end of our journey. While we will surely be sad to leave this incredible country called Brazil, and this tight group we will have grown to love, we will also know that both our Dragons family and Brazil will always be there, waiting for us with open arms, to give us all the support we need in helping to live the best lives that we can and care for the Earth with fully hearts open. And then...you will soundly sleep in your own bed...dreaming of Brazil!

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Brazil, Summer 2009

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Brazil Itinerary

Isabela Coelho,Brazil, Summer 2009

Description

Greetings fellow travelers, Can you believe it? Our great adventure is soon upon us. We hope you have had some quiet time – in these last few days before your trip – to prepare for the wayward paths that lie ahead. In the frenzy of a voyage that hasn’t launched, that exists a thousand ships […]

Posted On

06/9/09

Author

Isabela Coelho

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    [post_date] => 2009-05-26 00:00:00
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hey so i'm finally diving into the packing list now that schools finally starting to wind down and i have a couple questions...

first i was just kinda wondering if people were thinking about getting bug nets for the hammocks or not and if the bug nets are a good idea.

also i know that the packing list doesn't mention anything about water purification so i was just wondering if we should still bring anything for conveniency during homestays or something.

thanks and peace, Sara

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Brazil, Summer 2009

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packing questions

Sara Okholm,Brazil, Summer 2009

Description

hey so i’m finally diving into the packing list now that schools finally starting to wind down and i have a couple questions… first i was just kinda wondering if people were thinking about getting bug nets for the hammocks or not and if the bug nets are a good idea. also i know that […]

Posted On

05/26/09

Author

Sara Okholm

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    [post_date] => 2009-05-14 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => Dear travelers on the search

Greetings from Bahia, Brazil! It’s nice to sit down to write this letter after spending two wonderful weeks in Chapada Diamantina, a place we will all be discovering together soon. Chapada fills my heart with excitement with its impressive landscaped shaped by a huge amount of human exploitation through mining. It’s the place where most diamonds came from at the end of the 18th century. The diamonds wore by the imperial Portuguese court were charged with the sweat of hard working African slaves from Chapada Diamantina. The canyons and riverbeds were all transformed by huge dynamites exploitations. All this intense history ingrained in a paradise of rivers, canyons and waterfalls that is waiting for you. Can’t wait to see Chapada through your eyes.

I’ve been living in Salvador for the past 4 years working with a non-profit organization called OPA, Organization of Permaculture and Art. We work with underserved inner city youth with informal education in Permaculture and Art. We have a beautiful colonial house in the historic part of town that is our cultural center that you will all be visiting soon. Our house was built in the 1800’s and it has hand cuffs concreted in the garden wall, which shows the intense history that took place here. Salvador is the home of slavery in Brazil, which means that the Afro-Brazilian culture has most of its roots here. Capoeira, drums and berimbaus playing in every other corner, baianas selling acarajés, all terms that you will be familiar with soon. How exciting for us all to enter into this adventure together. I’m proud to share my country with you, and I’m happy to serve as a bridge between our cultures. I lived in the US for more than 10 years, got my degree in International Relations there, and got a chance to explore the most beautiful regions of your country. Now life gives me a chance to share the most beautiful regions of Brazil with you.

I hope you are as excited as I am to enter this adventure together. At the moment I’m putting lots of time into giving suggestions and helping organize an unique experience for us all that will broaden and challenge our worldview. What a great opportunity we have to go through this experience together that can affect how we shape our lives from now on. Getting to know a different country has been such an enriching experience for me, as I’m sure it will be for you. My life is so different from the majority of my cousins who never left our hometown in the south of Brazil. It shows me how international I became and how I’m really a citizen of the world now.

Come prepared with all your gear in place, with an open mind, an open heart, and a humble attitude. As you may know by now Brazil is a place where the majority of the population lives in poverty. You will be challenged with kids your age and much younger begging in the streets, looking and acting much older than they are, their huge need for attention and affection, streets filled with trash, class divisions and other signs of a place where inequality prevails.

You will be walking through the Amazon rainforest. I hope you are as excited as I am to be in an environment full of parrots, macaws and monkeys that recycles 99.9% of all its water and nutrients, and is facing a huge threat that mirrors the unsustainable development of mankind. We will have so much to learn and discuss. I’m counting on you to come up with solutions for our planet and for the next generations to have the same opportunity as we are having now.

I will be here waiting for you as a guide, a friend and a traveling companion. And let the adventure begin…
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Brazil, Summer 2009

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Dear Travelers on the Search

Isabela Coelho,Brazil, Summer 2009

Description

Dear travelers on the search Greetings from Bahia, Brazil! It’s nice to sit down to write this letter after spending two wonderful weeks in Chapada Diamantina, a place we will all be discovering together soon. Chapada fills my heart with excitement with its impressive landscaped shaped by a huge amount of human exploitation through mining. […]

Posted On

05/14/09

Author

Isabela Coelho

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    [post_date] => 2009-05-13 00:00:00
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Hello all,

Packing questions have already started rolling in so I wanted to address two big packing items on the list--hiking shoes/boots and sleeping bag. While most of us will likely spend a lot of the trip in our hiking sandals, we will all need close-toed hiking shoes or boots as well. This is as much for foot protection as for support. We will be deep in the Amazon and want our feet covered! We also recommend water-proof shoes/boots and wool or other hiking socks that dry MUCH faster than cotton. Its gonna be wet!

In terms of sleeping, though on the packing list it says you can bring a sleeping bag OR sheet, we are now strongly suggesting that you bring a sleeping bag. You will not need a large and super warm bag and in fact, we strongly suggest you get the smallest one possible. Most nights will be warm. However, one area that we will be backpacking through has nights that will reach down into the 50s and possibly even high 40s. So please make sure you have appropriate sleeping gear, and perhaps even some thermals or a sweater for walking around at night.

Please let me know if you have any other packing questions,

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Brazil, Summer 2009

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Packing advice–shoes and sleeping bags

Adelaide Nalley,Brazil, Summer 2009

Description

Hello all, Packing questions have already started rolling in so I wanted to address two big packing items on the list–hiking shoes/boots and sleeping bag. While most of us will likely spend a lot of the trip in our hiking sandals, we will all need close-toed hiking shoes or boots as well. This is as […]

Posted On

05/13/09

Author

Adelaide Nalley

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Hey,

I'm Isabella (you can call me Bella or Bellz). I'm 18 and a college student at Stony Brook Southampton. I'm from Bridgehampton, NY (you prob know the area as "The Hamptons"(dont judge!)) Sooo, right now I'm majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Ecosystems and Human Impact. I'm pretty psyched to see Brazil and have what I learn in school be right in front of me. Plus, I love learning about other cultures - all the way from the foods (by the way, I love trying new foods so expect me to try some weird dishes) to the music, the dance, traditions, basically everything there is to know about a culture. Some things about me... I'll try almost anything at least once, I'm kinda shy at first, give it time, I promise I'll warm up to you, aaannd I guess you can say I'm an eclectic personality...you'll get it by the end of the trip :P. I spend a lot of time at the ocean year-around, being with my friends almost 24/7,working as a babysitter and at tennis court, being outside, and studying OF COURSE! :D

This will be my first "hard-core" outdoors trip. The most I spent in the wild outdoors was a 5 day trip to Michigan with Outward Bound. Living outdoors for 40 days in a foreign country with the natives is bothexhilaratingand juuust a bit nerve racking.In some ways, the trip seems to good to be true! Either way, I can't wait.

If you wanna get in touch with me, hit me up on facebook or the email.

See ya in June!!

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Brazil, Summer 2009

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Hey

Isabella Bartoloni,Brazil, Summer 2009

Description

Hey, I’m Isabella (you can call me Bella or Bellz). I’m 18 and a college student at Stony Brook Southampton. I’m from Bridgehampton, NY (you prob know the area as "The Hamptons"(dont judge!)) Sooo, right now I’m majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Ecosystems and Human Impact. I’m pretty psyched to see Brazil and […]

Posted On

05/10/09

Author

Isabella Bartoloni

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    [ID] => 51898
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    [post_date] => 2009-05-07 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Congratulations!

Congratulations on being curious, brave, bold, adventurous, inspired, intrigued, and unique! Without having even met you yet, I know you are all of these things because it takes all of these wonderful qualities to even sign up for this course. You are all of this already...before you even touch down in Brazil. I can only imagine who you will be on August 8th when you arrive back at your home. I am imagining you will still be you, just a bit dirtier ;), wiser, and with that look that past students have referred to it as "the Dragons glow."

It is a brave and beautiful move to be willing to give up 6 weeks of your summer, 6 weeks of your comfortable bed, your familiar foods, your familiar social systems...your life. Very few young adults are willing to do this and I commend you for it. In exchange, you will receive an adventure you will remember for the rest of your life! You will be challenged, awed, impressed, saddened, amazed, and inspired. You will experience a rainbow of emotions and you will see and do things that most people only dream about. How do I know all of this? Because this will be my 5th Dragons trip and it happens every time. It happens to the students, and it happens to me. And its because of both of those reasons that I keep coming back for more. Being a part of the Dragons community is one of the biggest highlights of my life and I am beyond thrilled to be able to share this experience with you all.

My name is Adelaide Nalley and I have the honor of being one of your course instructors this year in Brazil. I would like to share with you all a bit about myself and how I ended up on this course with you. Just five years ago I was living in LA and participating in a life that I had seamlessly created for myself. It was by most definitions a successful life. I had graduated from a prestigious university with honors, gotten a well-paying job working for positive social change, and then received a fellowship to go to yet another well-known university for grad school. I had thought of myself as a happy person but one day I realized that my life had sort of just happened TO me. The flow was natural and easy but where had I actively participated in creating my own reality? I hadn't. Everything I did was based on underlying cultural assumptions of how I should be living and what I should be doing. I realized I wanted something more. I wanted to be more active in the creation of MY life, the only one I get. But I didn't know how to do this. Even though I had spent years studying sociology and social construction, I didn't know how to deconstruct my own reality and see what all of my taken-for-granted assumptions were. This is hard to do from the comforts of your own home. So I decided to venture out. I sold most of my belongings and randomly bought a ticket to Guatemala. I had no plans and no clue how to travel. I had a bit of a learning curve but eventually got it :) and what began as a small eye-opening journey ended up becoming a new way of life for me. I am now in the 5th year of this journey/life.

Travel has changed me and the way I see the world and live my life. Through travel I have learned to be more open, more connected, and to feel more respect and responsibility for our planet Earth. My travels have led me to the far reaches of the globe, from the deserts of the Sahara, to the waters of the Mekong river. But my relationship with the Americas is by far the strongest. I was fortunate to be able to travel by land from the bottom of South America all the way up to North America. It was a journey that forever altered how I would see the world. Latin America awakened me and continues to help me feel more alive. It is a place of tragic histories, dramatic landscapes, powerful cultures, inspiring struggles, and a celebration of life unparalleled. South America in particular vibrates with life, and no place more so than Brazil!

We are so blessed to be able to undertake our Dragons adventure in this truly impressive county. It not only lends itself to open and unique personal connections with the vibrant and warm people of the country, but also to the thematic focus of sustainability. I have been doing work related to sustainability for a number of years and to say it is something I feel passionately about is an understatement. It is essential to ourexistence ! We all need to learn how to live on this planet in a way that supports and insures it's, and our own, survival. Figuring out how to make the necessary changes is the exciting task of all the current generations--yours in particular!

Two of the most recent sustainability projects I have worked on led me to the drastically different worlds of Colombia and the San Francisco Bay Area. In Colombia I worked with peasant farmers to protect their lands and the neighboring Amazonian forests from deadly aerial fumigation raids sponsored by the Colombian and US governments. My work there also focused on changing the trade regulations and agreements that laid the groundwork for intense environmental degradation due to lax policies and essentially unregulated land exploitation. The humid jungles and arid deserts of Colombia were starkly contrasted with rolling hills as I switched locations to the Bay Area. This year I have been working at a boarding school heading up their service learning department and teaching sustainability classes in our one-acre organic garden. While here, I have also been able to pursue my permaculture design certification and take several workshops focusing on (rain and grey) water management and natural building techniques.

My life in California has also created a space for me to learn how to create community and live locally. I am car-free, essentially free of processed foods and new products, and love to participate in local activities. To give you a bit more of an idea of who I am on a day-to-day level, I can share with you what I have spent this past week doing. I have been: feeding chickens, helping students create compost, sharing meals in my collective house, dancing on a mountain (ok, just a big hill) with a group of people listening to their ipods all synced to the same playlist, cooking raw, vegan keylime cream and banana cream pies for people's b-days, talking with farmers at the farmers market, reading about protecting the giant red wood trees, playing board games with neighbors as we watch VHS videos (old school!), planting pees and berries, taking lots of hot baths, and tasting the strawberries just ripening. For me, this is the good life...and its about to get better!

I am going to be spending the summer with 12 extraordinarily adventurous youth and 2 other knowledgeable, caring, capable, and unique leaders exploring the best of what Brazil has to offer us. We will sleep under the stars, play and work in the mud, eat foods fresh from the Amazon forests and fish right from the Amazon river, learn new Portuguese words, play capoeria, witness environmental destruction and get inspired to effect change, carry our beds and shelters on our backs, meet inhabitants of worlds so far from our own, dance on the beach, provide physical labor for inspiring projects, meet people who have started projects we have ready about, participate in projects we have heard about...the list will go on! I hope you are all excited about our upcoming adventure because its going to be epic!

So that we may begin to get to know one another a bit before we embark upon our journey, we ask that you all take a little bit of time to introduce yourselves on the Yak board. This will be our main communication site for pre-trip information as well as communication back home while in Brazil. I am excited to see that so many of you have beaten me to the Yak board and are already starting to introduce yourselves. Its fun getting to know a bit more about you all through your posts and I look forward to getting to know you all alot more over the course of our adventure.

Isabela, Leo, the admin, and I will continue to post yaks with important pre-trip information so make sure to keep reading new posts. If you have any questions you think other students will also benefit from, please post them on the board and we will provide you with answers. If you have any questions or concerns that you would rather not post publicly on the board, do not hesitate to write me. My email address is: adelaidenalley@gmail.com

See you in a few weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Adelaide

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Brazil, Summer 2009

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Let the journey begin!!!!!

Adelaide Nalley,Brazil, Summer 2009

Description

Congratulations! Congratulations on being curious, brave, bold, adventurous, inspired, intrigued, and unique! Without having even met you yet, I know you are all of these things because it takes all of these wonderful qualities to even sign up for this course. You are all of this already…before you even touch down in Brazil. I can […]

Posted On

05/7/09

Author

Adelaide Nalley

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HI,

Hello people, my name is Pascal and i am from NYC. I am counting down the days until i am on the plane to Brazil. I have been wanting to go to Brazil since i was a kid, and i am am totally in love with the country.

I am a HUGE soccer fanatic, so i am looking foward to playing soccer and emerging in the Brazilian culture through soccer. It is kind of sad, but soccer is my life, and i play just about everyday. But, moving on, i am really looking foward to meeting everyone and i know that this summer is going to be just amazing.

Oh, by the way Catarina, i have a friend that goes to your school, Jeffrey Bowman, you probably know him, he is a cook kid. lol. Well, that is all i have to say so far, but if anyone has any questions about anything, just shoot me an email.

Well, to close this out i would like to state that Luis Nazario De Lima is the best striker that ever played the game of soccer. There is only one El Fenomeno, and he is R9. Thanks and keep it real guys!!

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Brazil, Summer 2009

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Hi

Pascal Louis,Brazil, Summer 2009

Description

HI, Hello people, my name is Pascal and i am from NYC. I am counting down the days until i am on the plane to Brazil. I have been wanting to go to Brazil since i was a kid, and i am am totally in love with the country. I am a HUGE soccer fanatic, […]

Posted On

05/6/09

Author

Pascal Louis

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Brazil, Summer 2009

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PS.

Maria Ashkin,Brazil, Summer 2009

Description

Oh yea, im 17 and a junior 🙂 and yea you should bring hiking boots. I am.

Posted On

05/6/09

Author

Maria Ashkin

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