Photo of the Week
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2013-07-30 09:01:02
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-30 15:01:02
    [post_content] => 
Mingalabar Myanmar homies! What an adventure this month has been. Four short weeks ago we met as strangers in the courtyard of the Haceinda (and for some of us - Gate 4 of Suvarnabhumi airport) and today we are saying good-bye to dear friends. Friends who have shared an incredible journey that has left us all profoundly changed. Your instructor team (all seven of us!) want to congratulate you all on your courage and willingness to challenge yourself this past month. By boldly confronting the unknown and developing the invaluable ability to be comfortable with the uncomfortable you have prepared yourself for many more adventures to come. Our hope as instructors is that your encounters in Myanmar leave you more aware of yourself, your place in this world and inspired to live life with greater compassion and wisdom. Thank you Seba, Xen, Owen, Natalie, Claudia, Nathan, Becca, Charlotte, Becky, Marina, Naren and Izzy for coming on this journey with us and for everything you contributed to this unforgettable experience. It has been a great joy to get to know each of you. Remember….the team that sweats together, sticks together! with love and kindness, Adrian, Jess, Kara, Khine Thet Tun, U Khaymar, Ko Harri and Okka [post_title] => Gratitude [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => gratitude-8 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-07-30 09:01:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-07-30 15:01:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=89755 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 229 [name] => Burma Summer 4-week [slug] => burma-summer-4-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 229 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 253 [count] => 62 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12.1 [cat_ID] => 229 [category_count] => 62 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Burma Summer 4-week [category_nicename] => burma-summer-4-week [category_parent] => 253 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2013/burma-summer-4-week/ ) ) [category_links] => Burma Summer 4-week )

Burma Summer 4-week

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Gratitude

Myanmar Instructor Team,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Mingalabar Myanmar homies! What an adventure this month has been. Four short weeks ago we met as strangers in the courtyard of the Haceinda (and for some of us – Gate 4 of Suvarnabhumi airport) and today we are saying good-bye to dear friends. Friends who have shared an incredible journey that has left us […]

Posted On

07/30/13

Author

Myanmar Instructor Team

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-29 16:52:03
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-29 22:52:03
    [post_content] => Dear Burma Families,

The group has landed in Los Angeles and all students are heading towards their domestic connections. Happy homecoming!

Boulder Administration
    [post_title] => The Burma Group has landed in Los Angeles!
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Burma Summer 4-week

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The Burma Group has landed in Los Angeles!

Eva Vanek,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Dear Burma Families, The group has landed in Los Angeles and all students are heading towards their domestic connections. Happy homecoming! Boulder Administration

Posted On

07/29/13

Author

Eva Vanek

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-28 23:52:25
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-29 05:52:25
    [post_content] => The remaining members of Team Myanmar are all in the air and had a smooth departure from Bangkok in the wee hours this morning. They flew to Kuala Lumpur first and are now en route to Tokyo, where they have a layover of several hours together before red-eyeing it to LAX. Despite some nervousness about reintegrating back at home soon, everyone is in good spirits and healthy.

Myanmar is such a unique place due to its isolation over so many decades, and re-entering Thailand last night was a bit of a jolt to us all. Students have already remarked on the culture shock they're feeling as they approach the fast-paced, hectic and sometimes materialistic modern world after a month of opening their eyes to the world, being immersed in tranquility, detoxing from technology, and spending a whole lot of time in quiet villages, mountains and monasteries.

Parents, if you'll be welcoming one of the Myanmar students home soon, be mindful of the magnitude of the transition they'll be undergoing as they travel and readjust to a busier way of life. Offer spaciousness, groundedness and give them time. They have many stories to share and are trying to figure out how to convey all the Myanmar magic they have witnessed - how to translate their experiences into anecdotes, new ways of interacting, and new ways of seeing life at home.

Thank you all for being patient with our lack of communication and very limited email access this past month. We deeply appreciate your trust in the process that we instructors have tried our best to offer.
    [post_title] => In the air...
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Burma Summer 4-week

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In the air…

Jessica Olney,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

The remaining members of Team Myanmar are all in the air and had a smooth departure from Bangkok in the wee hours this morning. They flew to Kuala Lumpur first and are now en route to Tokyo, where they have a layover of several hours together before red-eyeing it to LAX. Despite some nervousness about reintegrating […]

Posted On

07/28/13

Author

Jessica Olney

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-07-28 17:28:51
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-28 23:28:51
    [post_content] => It is 3 AM here in Bangkok and we are the final two remaining students still trying to pull an all-nighter. We are doing pretty well so far, shout out to coffee and red bull. We thought, in our efforts to stay awake, we would take some time to reflect on our amazing journey through Myanmar. In less than an hour we are heading off to the airport to go home. Being back in the Phoenix Hotel, we can't help but being overcome with deja vue as we finish our journey in Southeast Asia in the same place it began. Sitting in this bed once again, we cannot believe how fast time has flown. It feels like only yesterday we were playing chinlow in LA, awkwardly trying to bond. Now we feel like we have known each other for ages. Our friendships were cultivated in such a magical place that there is a bond between us and Myanmar that no one else will ever understand. The friends we have made have helped us explore this exotic culture and question our intentions. Tears have already come out multiple times as we realized how much we benefit from one another and anxiously await our journeys home alone. Our group presents a broad spectrum of religious, political, and cultural diversity. Having such distinct varieties within our own group allows each of us to pose questions that the others might have never thought about. This diversity pushes us to be more open minded and to try to understand both Myanmar and each others' perspectives.

We have had such interesting conversations, arguments, and experiences, all of which would not have been possible had we not embarked on this journey through one of the most diverse, spectacular areas of the world. Myanmar has changed all of us and, from now on, will be present in our thoughts, our dreams, and our goals. It's easy after spending a month in any place to say you love it, but there's something about the people here in Myanmar that distinguishes them from the rest of the world. It's hard to understand unless you've been there, but it has something to do with the warmth, compassion, and wisdom that is present in every person we interacted with. It's so easy in the Western world to get caught up in competition and focus only on yourself. Myanmar people live a life driven by community, selflessness, and serenity, something that is rarely echoed at home. Though the Myanmar people seem to have limited opportunities, they seem content with life itself.

We aren't ready to go home.

Though we had encountered small pockets of westernization in Yangon, we truly did not experience Western "suck-a-tude" until we hit the Bangkok international airport earlier today. While getting our heavy packs off of the shuttle bus, we worked hard as a group to move out of people's ways as quickly and efficiently as possible by using an assembly line. Slowly but surely a fat American began yelling at us for moving too slowly and blocking his car. Looking back into the shuttle, a group member informed the man that we were almost done, but the man replied "yeah, you've been 'almost done' for like ten minutes..." At first we were all in shock. It had been weeks since we'd heard a comment so passively inconsiderate and rude. It's not that saying such a thing is considered impolite in Myanmar, but rather that the impatience that fuels such a comment doesn't exist there. Little things in the airport, such as being appalled by semi-revealing clothing, made us start to realize how hard the transition home will be. This trip has changed us and, honestly, the thought of going home depresses both of us.

Thank you so much to everyone who was involved in our odyssey. We picked up a few friends along the way, and each one of them made our traveling family even stronger and our experience through Myanmar even richer. And, since our wake up call for the airport is approaching, we would like to say one last time : T.I.M (this is Myanmar).

-Izzy and Claudia
    [post_title] => THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
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View post

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

Izzy and Claudia ,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

It is 3 AM here in Bangkok and we are the final two remaining students still trying to pull an all-nighter. We are doing pretty well so far, shout out to coffee and red bull. We thought, in our efforts to stay awake, we would take some time to reflect on our amazing journey through […]

Posted On

07/28/13

Author

Izzy and Claudia

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-27 08:51:57
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    [post_content] => so i have been slacking badly on my yaks so mom i apologize. Also Sonjj and Nedward don't hate me for cutting off connection for a solid 3 weeks. today is our last day in Myanmar and i am in denial that our month is coming to an en....i cant even say it. this month has been something i will never forget. i have met the most amazing people, seen the most things, and had some amazing coconut buns. i have never experienced anything like this and i probably never will again but once is enough for me because the lessons that i have learned on this trip will last me for a lifetime. I have made a Myanmar family with my crazy loud group and together we have experienced life changing lessons. its crazy to think that 4 weeks ago we were all strangers carrying around our first impressions and judgements of each other as we all sweated through the multiple plane rides. little did we know the smell that we had accumulated on the plane rides were only the start of a sweat and dirt filled trip. the shoes that were once white are now brown and the legs that were once hairless are now coats. And despite all this we still think that clean laundry is a reality in this country.but in all seriousness i feel confident in saying that this trip has been an inspiration to us all. seeing the people here smile despite all the oppression has made me consider what is really valuable and important in life. these people who have little access to education, no plumbing, and very limited health care work hard, don't complain, and are some of the happiest people i have ever met. Maybe its the fresh air or possibly the squat toilets that give them this contagious energy but regardless it is something that i have never experienced in the states.  the transition home will  be interesting and maybe even difficult but i am excited to see my friends and family. i am going out to enjoy my last moments in Myanmar. See you soon!!!
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Burma Summer 4-week

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How Am I Supposed To Fit Everything In My Bag?

Natalie Rice,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

so i have been slacking badly on my yaks so mom i apologize. Also Sonjj and Nedward don’t hate me for cutting off connection for a solid 3 weeks. today is our last day in Myanmar and i am in denial that our month is coming to an en….i cant even say it. this month […]

Posted On

07/27/13

Author

Natalie Rice

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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-07-25 15:35:22
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-25 21:35:22
    [post_content] => Dear Burma Students & Families,
This weekend marks the end of our Burma program and students will soon return home to share tales with each of you.
We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day and we will be in contact if there are any suspected delays.
We wish all students a great trip home. Please leave us a voice message on extension 30 if you are not able to reach us during office hours. We will be checking our messages throughout the evening.
Sincerely,

BoulderAdmin
To check on the status of the group’s international flight, please refer to:
http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/hq/en/book-and-plan/flight-status.html

The students are traveling home on the following Malaysia Airlines flight:
Returning Flight:
July 28th, 2013
Air Asia #FD2754
Depart: Yangon (RGN) 5:50pm
Arrive: Bangkok (DMK) 7:35pm

July 29th, 2013
Malaysia Airlines #797
Depart: Bangkok (BKK) 6:40am
Arrive: Kuala Lumpur (KUL) 9:50am

July 29th, 2013
Malaysia Airlines #092
Depart: Kuala Lumpur (KUL) 10:50am
Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 2:35pm
    [post_title] => Return Flight Details
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Burma Summer 4-week

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Return Flight Details

Dragons Admin,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Dear Burma Students & Families, This weekend marks the end of our Burma program and students will soon return home to share tales with each of you. We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day and we will be in contact if there are any suspected delays. We […]

Posted On

07/25/13

Author

Dragons Admin

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 89360
    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-07-25 12:54:07
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-25 18:54:07
    [post_content] => I wrote this while we were in Hpa'an, the capital of Kayin State in southern Myanmar. The sentiments I felt then are even stronger now as we begin the end of our month in Myanmar, and I hope we can make the best of our time here:

(Copied from my journal)

To my companions in Myanmar:

I am writing this because I'm not sure I'll have the opportunity to say this to all of you as well I mean to. Today, sometime in the middle of planting rice in rural Kayin State, something deep inside of me clicked. I felt a sense of belonging in a way that I haven't felt before. A sense of belonging not only with the place I was in, but also with the people I was with - you all. I just paused to consider that I've only known you for a little over two weeks but it doesn't matter. I love you all so thoroughly. In the short time we've been acquainted, and the shorter time that we've been friends, you all have persistently made my life more energetic, happier, richer.

I doubt we even would have liked each other had the circumstances under which we met been different. I think that we are too varied, too eclectic and sporadic and colorful, for our friendships to have taken flight if we didn't have this country to unite us. To join us in awe as we gazed up at the limestone monoliths dotting the flat rice paddies of Kayin State. To bring us together in laughter as we traversed the Shan hills. To give us all something that we love so dearly, something that we could use to kick start our relationships. I know that I will have a little piece of Myanmar buried within me forever - a piece that is separate from the chunk that is already developing. This piece is just for all of you.

I should mention that I don't like many people. I'm fairly cynical and hard to impress, at least on a personal level. All eleven of you have impressed me. When we ate dinner with students from EGG, one of them, a twenty-odd year old pupil of Khine Thet Tun's, began calling me Younger Brother and I him Older Brother. He was a brother in name, you are my brothers and sisters in spirit. I have to value you, no, to love you fiercely, and I am both distraught that we only have 12 days left together and delighted that we still have 12 days together.

Signed,
Owen Yager

 

Hpa'an, Myanmar

7/16/2013
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Burma Summer 4-week

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To My Companions

Owen Yager,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

I wrote this while we were in Hpa’an, the capital of Kayin State in southern Myanmar. The sentiments I felt then are even stronger now as we begin the end of our month in Myanmar, and I hope we can make the best of our time here: (Copied from my journal) To my companions in […]

Posted On

07/25/13

Author

Owen Yager

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 89416
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    [post_date] => 2013-07-25 12:49:37
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-07-25 18:49:37
    [post_content] => Dear Burma Students & Families,
This weekend marks the end of our Burma program and students will soon return home to share tales with each of you.
We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day and we will be in contact if there are any suspected delays.
We wish all students a great trip home. Please leave us a voice message on extension 30 if you are not able to reach us during office hours. We will be checking our messages throughout the evening.
Sincerely,
BoulderAdmin
To check on the status of the group’s international flight, please refer to:
http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/hq/en/book-and-plan/flight-status.html
The students are traveling home on the following Malaysia Airlines flight:
Returning Flight:
July 28th, 2013
Air Asia #FD2754
Depart: Yangon (RGN) 5:50pm
Arrive: Bangkok (DMK) 7:35pm

July 29th, 2013
Malaysia Airlines #797
Depart: Bangkok (BKK) 6:40am
Arrive: Kuala Lumpur (KUL) 9:50am

July 29th, 2013
Malaysia Airlines #092
Depart: Kuala Lumpur (KUL) 10:50am
Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 2:35pm
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Burma Summer 4-week

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Return flight information

Dragons Admin,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Dear Burma Students & Families, This weekend marks the end of our Burma program and students will soon return home to share tales with each of you. We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day and we will be in contact if there are any suspected delays. We […]

Posted On

07/25/13

Author

Dragons Admin

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    [post_content] => I did not expect what was ahead of me just shortly after my last post. We began our last day in Hpa'An with a casual trip to an internet cafe but ended up "casually" hiking up a mountain for our silent meditation retreat. What our local Karen instructor described as an easy, hour-long walk was in fact a three hour trek through slippery waterfalls, rocks, and cliffs. For some god forsaken reason I decided at the beginning of the hike to count how many steps there were from the base to the top. Quite frankly, I don't think I had ever counted to that high of a number. I remember after about 100 steps guessing that the number wouldn't exceed 1,000, and for some reason, when the number reached 1,000, I thought the end was near. The truth is that if I had thought to look up more often than just to see the most beautiful views in the world I would have noticed that the top of the mountain remained a mystery, still blocked by the dense Hpa'An clouds. We reached 1,312 and I remeber breaking my vow of silence to inform Charlotte that we were almost there. Again too concentrated to look up, and mislead by the numerous false peaks that this mountain had to offer, I assumed we were reaching our destination. I continued up the uneven, slippery steps, too concentrated to notice how far I'd gone and too determined to notice how far I still had to go. Only after 2,363 steps was I able to enjoy some eating, walking, and sitting meditation. We were given about 20 minutes to wander off by ourselves, find a good spot, and write about what we were feeling. The hike back was pretty indescribable, but I'll do my best. While earlier the clouds hid the peaks of the mountain, the heavy rain clouds that appeared on the way down hid everything but the sporadic mountain peaks in the distance. For some reason the song "Skyfall" was stuck in my head- probably because we watched the movie on the tin can bus that took us from Inle Lake to Mandalay last week- and I was quietly singing it the whole way down. I think the song didn't go away because the sky was literally falling. It was pouring rain the whole time and the stairs turned into slippery waterfalls. Our longyis weren't even tied, but they were so wet that they stuck to our bodies. Despite the steepness of the thousands of steps, we didn't stop once and made it down in one hour. To be honest the reason why I'm remembering all of this now, while sitting in my room at a guest house in Mawlamyine, is because the "peak of soreness" comes 48 hours after a workout.

Our family of 12 just split off into three groups for three different service projects. 4 poeple went to Thembuziat, 4 went to a monastery a few hours away from Mawlamyine, and i stayed in Mawlamyine with Charlotte, Becka, Nathan, and our instructors, Jess and Okka. I think it's safe to say that the project ended up being more emotionally heavy than we had expected. Today was our fourth day at the Leprosy mission; yes, Leprosy is still a thing here in Myanmar. At first it was really hard. We walked through a lot of rooms with a lot of beds and a lot of patients staring at us. I think I speak for all of us when I say that seeing so many people with deformed limbs or amputations in just a few hours is truly challenging. The wards are stuffy and it's clear that the patients don't have much to do. The walls are either pale green or rotted gray, and there's a distinct smell that characterizes the wards. There's an understandibly low amount of energy throughout the hospital, and perhaps the only infusion of creativity is through a few small televisions that seem to play nothing but MRTV. The walls of the wards are lined with wooden beds that Charlotte describes as "rotting dining room tables with mats over them". On each of those tables sits a person who has had to deal with more than any of us could ever imagine. It seems to me that the walls lack colors and decorations not so much because the hospital staff don't want it but rather because people here tend to lack a sense of creativity. When we told the head of the nurse department about our idea to paint pictures and hang up posters we realized that she wasn't against it - in fact, she loved the idea- but that it had simply never occured to her before. I really think that these decorations, although a really small gift, will help open up a creative space for the patients and, hopefully, bring them some joy.

The gloomy, depressing setting of the mission juxtaposes all the volunteers, doctors, staff, and patients involved with it and the amazing community that they form. We realized that each patient is different from the next and, after talking to them with the help of translators, found out that they have really interesting life stories. I talked to some patients who had lived there thirty or forty years without ever getting a visit from their family and friends, yet they were genuinely happy to be there and excited that we were taking the time to talk to them. The patients were delighted to see us return (unlike most foreigners who visit the mission), and excited for their turn to share their stories. I would say one of the harder parts of this trip, for me at least, was listening to some of the more depressed patients. One elderly woman told us that there is no happiness in her life, and that she is waiting to die. It was really tough to listen to something so negative, but hopefully we've brought her some joy in the past few days. This leprosy mission is such an amazing place. They're one of the only hospitals in the country that accept patients who can't pay, but it's clear that this is a hard task to accomplish. The mission is in desperate need of funding; they're putting in a lot of work to create a rambutan plantation in order to raise money. I really wish there was more I could do to help besides hanging up paintings and chatting with the patients.

 

We're leaving tomorrow morning for a 10 hour train ride to Yangon. I can't believe how quickly the past three weeks went by.
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Burma Summer 4-week

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The mountain and the mission

Claudia Fernandez,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

I did not expect what was ahead of me just shortly after my last post. We began our last day in Hpa’An with a casual trip to an internet cafe but ended up “casually” hiking up a mountain for our silent meditation retreat. What our local Karen instructor described as an easy, hour-long walk was […]

Posted On

07/23/13

Author

Claudia Fernandez

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    [post_date] => 2013-07-22 13:46:55
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    [post_content] => It's been two weeks since I left for Myanmar and the experiences have been unbelievable. Everyday is a gift and I am glad I get to spend a month of my summer with these amazing people. My first experience was visiting the Monastic school in Mandalay. Dozens of kids ran up to us asking our names and wanting our autographs! The happiness on their faces made me so happy. I loved learning about the education system and the history of the school. This made me think of how I take school for granted. I wait all year for summer but these kids crave education.

The best experience by far was my home-stay. We trekked many miles through beautiful hills filled with many different crops.This peaceful place allowed me to think about my goals for this trip. I spent the next few days teaching my home-stay sister some English words, walking water buffalo, and picking their crops. Everyone I have met so far has made an impact on my life. Their generosity is very special and something I will never forget. I'm ready for the next two weeks. I'm going to make the most  out of it!
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Burma Summer 4-week, Homestay

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Myanmar Reflections

by Marina Rismiller,Burma Summer 4-week, Homestay

Description

It’s been two weeks since I left for Myanmar and the experiences have been unbelievable. Everyday is a gift and I am glad I get to spend a month of my summer with these amazing people. My first experience was visiting the Monastic school in Mandalay. Dozens of kids ran up to us asking our […]

Posted On

07/22/13

Author

by Marina Rismiller

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