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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010


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Hi Everyone,

We hope you all are starting to check out our Yak board more frequently as we get closer to our summer adventures. Thank you Carson and Sophie for getting the ball rolling!

We'd like to invite everyone to take a few moments to share a bit about yourself...where are you from, what do you like to do, what are you reading now, what book(s) (if any) are you going to bring with you, what are your interests, why did you choose Guatemala, what are you excited/nervous about...basically anything you'd like to share!

This is also the place to post any general questions about our course and we'll do our best to respond as soon as we have an answer.

We look forward to hearing from everyone soon!

Luiregaron (Luispe, Regina, and Aaron)

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

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Keep the Yaks coming!

Luiregaron,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

Description

Hi Everyone, We hope you all are starting to check out our Yak board more frequently as we get closer to our summer adventures. Thank you Carson and Sophie for getting the ball rolling! We’d like to invite everyone to take a few moments to share a bit about yourself…where are you from, what do […]

Posted On

05/24/10

Author

Luiregaron

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Hey, my name is sophie. I live in New York City and I’m a sophmore at Beacon school. I run track with school and ride horses most weekends. I like to be outdoors, so i’m really excited for our trip!!

-Sophie

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

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Introduction

Sophie Samuels,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

Description

Hey, my name is sophie. I live in New York City and I’m a sophmore at Beacon school. I run track with school and ride horses most weekends. I like to be outdoors, so i’m really excited for our trip!! -Sophie

Posted On

05/24/10

Author

Sophie Samuels

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I thought I'd quickly write my introduction. My name is carson, I live in a small town in Southern California, Ojai. I'm a junior at Thacher, a small boarding school, and am super stoked about Guatemala. I like being in the outdoors, and I run cross-country and play soccer and lacrosse. I'm excited for this summer, I think it's going to be super.

-Carson

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

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Introduction

Carson Land,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

Description

I thought I’d quickly write my introduction. My name is carson, I live in a small town in Southern California, Ojai. I’m a junior at Thacher, a small boarding school, and am super stoked about Guatemala. I like being in the outdoors, and I run cross-country and play soccer and lacrosse. I’m excited for this […]

Posted On

05/23/10

Author

Carson Land

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Hello, Hola, Zdrastey- which ever way you want to be greeted,

I just got back from a run along the busy trafficy streetsof Los Angeles; and though I was able to crank the ipod up loud enough so Iwould not here the traffic beside me, I still had to traverse its busyintersections and deal with the honking angry drivers. What gets me through thedays here in LA is knowing that very soon I will be embarking on this awesomesummer adventure with all of you.

I remember my first visit to Guatemala and I cant wait torun along its streets. There are brightly dressed smiling women delicatelybalancing all of their possessions on their heads. There are children playingin the streets, chickens and cows to navigate around, delicious smells of bakedgoods and people calling out “pan de banano, pan de zanahoria, pan de miel…” itmakes me nostalgic just thinking about it and I cant wait to share thesememorable experiences and more with all of you.

A little about myself. I was born in the soviet union and immigrated to America when I was seven. I graduated from UCLA with an environmental engineering degree and shortly after took off traveling. The first stop in myalmost two year journey was Guatemala and so it will always hold a specialplace in my heart. I cant wait to return to this experience, but even more so,I cant wait to share and be a part of your learning experience as you see allof this with your own eyes. It really is beautiful and life changing.

After many travels I got the word that I was accepted into peacecorps and took off on my two year journey in Honduras. There I concentrated on working with the locals to improve their water and sanitation by building water systems and latrines. I learned a lot about the Latin American culture and alot about myself.

Upon my return to the United States I began working as an environmentalengineer. But something kept calling me back to my old adventures. I realize now that what I am meant to do is spend this summer with you guys. We are supposed to go through some life changing adventures, we will laugh and wemight cry together. We will share many memories and hopefully truly get to knowthe beauty that Guatemala embodies.

I cant wait to meet you all and begin this journey…but sincewe still have some time feel free to write me with any questions, anecdotes, jokes,etc.

Love

Regina- 619 207-1751

reginakruglyak@yahoo.com

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

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The beginning

Regina Kruglyak,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

Description

Hello, Hola, Zdrastey- which ever way you want to be greeted, I just got back from a run along the busy trafficy streetsof Los Angeles; and though I was able to crank the ipod up loud enough so Iwould not here the traffic beside me, I still had to traverse its busyintersections and deal with […]

Posted On

05/19/10

Author

Regina Kruglyak

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Bienvenidos queridos viajeros, familias y curiosos!

I am writing this letter from Guatemala after landing from the dramatic Andes mountain range in Bolivia. I am sitting with a cup of Antigua coffee drawing in my mind all the experiences we are about to share together this summer: How exciting! The sun has been shining for the last week here and the timid winter has blessed us with few rain showers. It is truly delightful to be outside!

So the place you chose to visit this summer, the place you are packing to embark on a journey and most likely the place you are now dreaming of, is where I live. And I love it. Guatemala. Being 1887 miles away from you (that is if you are living in Chicago) I truly can’t wait for the time we first meet and start weaving this one-in a-lifetime opportunity that will alter the way you see the world and how you relate to it. Coming into this course is not an easy thing and I commend you for that. Because you took action to make this happen and you decided that taking this route is challenging but is also insightful, rewarding and most of all a choice you will never regret in life. My name is Luis Pedro Hurtarte, the Dragons family calls me Luispe, and I am one of your 3 instructors this summer and a native Guatemalan, proud to be 100% chapin. I live in Mixco, between modern and Antigua Guatemala and this will be my fourth year working with Dragons in the Mundo Maya course. Guatemala is truly an explosion to the senses. It is raw, it is cultural rich and also eye opener: I love travelling thru your eyes, because each one of you will experience this reality on its own unique way, engaging with the people and families you meet, the inspiring places that will blow your mind and the bonds of friendship we will build with each other.

Since my early childhood, I have been blessed in many ways not only by my supportive family but also from the Hands that have provided and opened doors I never imagine to step into: this is one. While my high school years in Guatemala, and at the age of 13, I encountered the first door in front of me: learning a new language in a foreigner land, three months by myself, in the cold winter of a home stay in Minnesota. It was for me, the stepping stone that catapulted many great things in my adolescent years and up to today, I wouldn’t be typing this letter if I wouldn’t take the risk to step out my familiar world and picked up my English. In the years to come I developed a sense not only to contemplate, learn and experience the world out there, but also to engage in a deeper understanding and appreciation of my life back in Guatemala. The door that once opened, has taken me, thru a maze around the continents, in more than 20 countries, from shuffling snow at -4 F to pay my tuition and snowboard fantasies in Norway to climb the biggest pyramid in the world deep in the jungles of the Maya Cradle, together with National Geographic Arqueologist.

Many have been the adventures and much more the stories. I am more a listener than a teller. I discover my intuition hearing gifts when my dad put a second hand guitar against my chest. Many years later I was putting one in someone else’s hands, teaching them, make them feel the passion sound of the vibrant strings. This led me to open my first solo project as an entrepreneur college student: I opened my own alternative music school, Acustica, for entuthiastics all ages. Then I realize the the 6 year old was way ahead of the 40 year old…man, it was a challenging task executing the programs but today the 6 year old is the leading guitar and composer in his band and the 40 year old is well…50 I guess. I have step out of the ordinary to find the extraordinary by sharing. When you give truly from the heart you get also from the heart.

I got my B.A. in Business Management in Guatemala´s Universidad Rafael Landivar while working in Acustica and then I went abroad to Europe for another open mind adventure. Upon my return I decided to attend University Mesoamericana for a master degree in Marketing and Strategically Planning. In the past I have been working as a Professional Guide taking adventurous and not so adventurous into the mysteries of multiethnic and pluricultural Guatemala with a local Destination Management Company, working with international and local NGO´s in rural and remote villages in the Highlands and instructing and guiding Surfing crews into wild destination trips. I was attracted to Dragons programs because I believe the world out there is bigger than a school classroom and it can teach us not only about the reality outside our cocoon but also about ourselves: what limits us, what are our true capabilities, how we can affect change and most important why do we matter. I enjoy surfing my local black sand beach break, scuba diving at 60 feet in the coral reef barrier of Belize, trekking and hiking at high altitude, dance to the Latin beats of salsa, play basketball and most of all travelling to unique destinations meeting authentic people.

I can tell you now, nothing can prepare you for this trip a 100%. Don’t worry; Regina, Aaron and I are here to support you all the way. Our first priority is to keep you safe. I encourage you to do some reading about Guatemala. The best advice coming from former students is: The more informed you are, the more you will be able to relate to your experiences. Most of all come with energy and enthusiasm and ready to get your mind blown.

Be aware of what the path will ask as an offering: a healthy body and an open mind.

Please start introducing yourselves using the Yak board and be in touch as much as needed. We would love to hear more about each one of you and also to give answer to the questions and concern you post. I wish you all the best with your packing and prep over the next few weeks.

Contando los dias y enviando un fuerte abrazo,

Luis Pedro Hurtarte

luispehm@gmail.com

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

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A Guate, Guate!

Luis Pedro Hurtarte,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

Description

Bienvenidos queridos viajeros, familias y curiosos! I am writing this letter from Guatemala after landing from the dramatic Andes mountain range in Bolivia. I am sitting with a cup of Antigua coffee drawing in my mind all the experiences we are about to share together this summer: How exciting! The sun has been shining for […]

Posted On

05/18/10

Author

Luis Pedro Hurtarte

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Que onda viajeros!

Today I was transported to Guatemala through my nostrils. Let me explain. It was an unseasonably grey and damp day here in Southern California. Must have been cool enough for someone to justify having a cozy daytime fire because as I walked back to my apartment an unexpected smoky scent hit my nose. I stopped walking, closed my eyes, and awoke in Guatemala.

Have you ever smelled copal burning over damp earth? Sometimes it can be hard to pick out that sweet piney scent of dried tree sap from the other flavors mingling in the ceremonial flames: the sizzling handfuls of sugar, the fresh eggs popping like firecrackers, the sticks of local incense intensifying the smell of the surrounding forest. And the candles. Dozens upon dozens of white, red, green, blue, purple, black, yellow candles each lighting at different times as the sacerdote Maya, mumbling in an ancient tongue, lowers them in to the flames. Sometimes I think each candle even gives off a unique scent as it melts into the translucent pool of wax fueling the fire from below.

I opened my eyes. Immaculate beach homes divided by neatly paved streets. The smoke still lingered but the magic was gone. I am ready for an adventure. Are you?

Guatemala can be the most beautiful fire in the world. Mayan traditions and Christianity, ancient and modern, urban and rural, rich and poor, sacred and profane, serene and chaotic, sun and rain and much much more are all constantly mixing in the most visible ways imaginable. At its best, Guatemala will envelope all of your senses in its warm embrace. But the world is not always at its best and at times Guatemala will burn with complex images of tragedy and suffering that go straight to your heart. No matter what, you will feel Guatemala. Luis Pedro, Regina, and I are all immensely excited and prepared to walk there with you.

I grew up in Pleasanton, CA, about an hour east of San Francisco, with my wonderful parents, Malik and Monika, and best friend/older brother, Gabriel. I have instructed courses in Guatemala the past two years and outside of Dragons, have lived, traveled, and studied Guatemala extensively since 2005. I love sharing my favorite places with others and have worked as a professional guide since 2004. I hold a Wilderness First Responder certification and have taught courses on outdoor leadership, risk management, and outdoor skills to high school and college students. My passions are travel, surfing, history, the outdoors, and sharing whatever I happen to be excited about with others!

Without my beloved Pacific Ocean, which I am fortunate enough to see from my tiny Manhattan Beach apartment where I am sitting right now, I might not have survived graduate school here in Los Angeles. The short story is that I started a History PhD program at UCLA in 2008 and despite it being a wonderful university, I have come to realize that my passions and talents go beyond the confines of purely academic settings. I know that the change I wish to effect in the world will be fueled by a synthesis of intellectual knowledge and more hands-on experience. Graduate school has been a great learning experience (including learning how to speak Indonesian!) and I am happy to be finishing my master’s in just a few weeks with summa cum laude honors.

Students often ask for advice on how to best prepare for the trip. On a practical level, pack basic and light (earth toned hiking clothes are best), read up on Guatemala as much you can whether in the news, books, culture, etc, and prepare yourself mentally and physically for the experience of a lifetime. I highly recommend investing in some synthetic t-shirts, pants, and undergarments. Anyone who has gone backpacking before knows that "cotton kills" and in the humidity of Guatemala it's nice to have some clothes that will actually dry out when they inevitably get wet. Headlamps, rain gear, some good warm base layers, and a watch/alarm clock are all essential items. The packing list you all should be receiving is quite comprehensive, but we are always here to help with any questions. The most important thing is to know and be comfortable with your gear before hopping on the plane. Don’t show up with a fancy pair of boots that you only wore from the store to the parking lot because those blisters will be no fun!

On a more general level, whenever I step into a new and challenging adventure I feel this distinct anxiety about the uncertainty of a new experience. I used to dread that feeling and for a time even let it discourage me from trying out new things. But over time I've come to realize that that anxiety is a signpost for the boundaries of my comfort zone. And every time I've pushed through those fears and brought myself to enter a completely foreign experience, it has led to the most memorable and significant periods of growth in my life. That anxiety is still there for me, however, I now welcome it as an exciting sign of adventures and personal discovery to come. I encourage you all to face those anxieties, whatever they may be, and look forward to the profound personal growth they portend. We will all be challenged in our own unique ways this summer. How we confront and learn from those challenges is what will make these 4 weeks together last a lifetime. As cliche as it sounds, the more you sincerely open yourself up to Guatemala, to each other, and to yourself, the more you will get out of this experience. That process starts now, so start thinking about what you want to get out of the journey.

Luis Pedro, Regina, and I are super excited to start reading your Yak Yaks, so don’t be shy! Tell us all a little about yourself: Where are you from? What do you like to do? What are you most excited for this summer? What are you most afraid of? You can share anything you feel like!

And if you have any questions about the summer, post it on the Yak Yak because it’s pretty likely that someone else in our group has the same question. That said, if you have more personal concerns or just want to chat, feel free to contact me at slosberg@gmail.com or (310) 850-6524.

Hasta Pronto,

Aaron

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

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Feeling the fire…Vamos a Guate!

Aaron Slosberg,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

Description

Que onda viajeros! Today I was transported to Guatemala through my nostrils. Let me explain. It was an unseasonably grey and damp day here in Southern California. Must have been cool enough for someone to justify having a cozy daytime fire because as I walked back to my apartment an unexpected smoky scent hit my […]

Posted On

05/17/10

Author

Aaron Slosberg

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Queridos Dragons Students,


Greetings from under the bright blue sky over Guatemala City. This morning I woke up thinking that there is really nothing like zone 1 of the city on a Sunday morning. The streets are resting, the air is cool, and the still-visible remnants of history, struggle and the daily 6th street market don’t make a sound …just yet. I am down here because I just finished traveling with a delegation visiting rural communities heavily and currently impacted by mining projects and land struggles, don’t worry, you’ll hear all about that this summer! But soon I will head back up to my little casita outside Xela (sheh-lah), about three hours northwest into the highlands…
I’m Colleen, the Guatemala 6 Week Course Director and, of course, one of your instructors this summer. You’ve made an excellent choice to join the ranks of the awesomely infamous Guatemala 6 Week course. This is my fourth year leading this course and I look forward to meeting YOU, because it is YOU that will make this experience great.


Our instructor team is dreaming and scheming about the six weeks we will spend together this summer, living out of our packs, speaking Spanish, meeting incredible and amazing people, hearing stories of struggle, war, love, and life, taking in spectacular views of volcanoes, jungles, cloud forests, ancient cities, and sitting together over meals sharing our thoughts and ideas in among a whirlwind of new experiences. This is Guatemala 6 Week. There is nothing like the days and nights you will spend here … There just isn’t another place in the world like Guatemala!

This summer we will follow the path of an ancient history up to the reality of Guatemala today. It starts in the ruins of ancient cities, seeing structures built by an incredible ancient culture of people that are often misunderstood but have contributed to science and history in unparalleled ways. But time moves on and the Maya become a conquered people leading to problems and struggles still visible today, yes, more than 500 years later. Today’s Maya are disproportionately affected by poverty, land struggle, malnutrition, illiteracy and violence. In six weeks we will gain a knowledge base in order to then go out and meet people, hear stories, and begin to understand our role as global citizens and visitors to such a powerful and beautiful place: Guatemala. Our learning and lessons will be parts of other experiences, too: studying Spanish, engaging in service learning alongside community members, and trekking through Guatemala’s beautiful mountainsides and jungles. There are so many ways to learn and absorb all that Guatemala has to teach us.


Feel free to email me with any questions about Guatemala or the six-week course at rice@riseup.net.

There is nothing I love more than to talk about Guatemala and Dragons trips!

Looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you backpack-puesto for our summer adventure.

Hasta pronto,
Colleen Rice

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Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

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Guatemala! An introduction from your CD

Colleen Rice,Guatemala: Mundo Maya 4-week "B", Summer 2010

Description

Queridos Dragons Students, Greetings from under the bright blue sky over Guatemala City. This morning I woke up thinking that there is really nothing like zone 1 of the city on a Sunday morning. The streets are resting, the air is cool, and the still-visible remnants of history, struggle and the daily 6th street market […]

Posted On

05/3/10

Author

Colleen Rice

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