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    [ID] => 85480
    [post_author] => 24
    [post_date] => 2013-06-03 11:22:13
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-06-03 17:22:13
    [post_content] => 
Mingalarbar fellow adventurers!   Below is the tentative itinerary for Dragons’ 2013 Myanmar program. Since nothing ever goes as planned in Myanmar be prepared for changes and revisions as our journey gets underway. However in the mean time have a look and get excited! This summer’s journey is going to forge paths through Myanmar’s royal capital, ethnic villages and the country’s remote borderline, as well as the urban chaos of Yangon. We will have the chance to meet with and learn from inspired local leaders and social change makers and will work side by side with local communities to implement projects that address real needs.   Remember, this is a tentative itinerary because this journey is YOUR journey. As we get to know you we will tailor the course to meet your particular needs and interests, so please share! Now, and on course, take ownership of your learning experience by sharing your individual visions and goals and we will do our best to work with you.   We look forward to meeting you all soon!! - Adrian, Jess, Kara and Khine Thet Tun   Los Angeles and Bangkok Our journey begins in Los Angeles where our traveling family will gather, break the ice and stretch out in preparation for our cross-Pacific expedition. On June 30th we will touchdown in Bangkok – our gateway to exploring the golden land of Myanmar. From the airport we will make our way to a well-known Myanmar student ghetto where we will share a traditional Myanmar meal with our student hosts and get our first insider introduction to Myanmar as well as a unique perspective on the role Thailand and other neighbouring countries are playing in Myanmar’s development.   Mandalay After a night of much needed rest we board our plane to the fabled Mandalay, Myanmar’s last royal capital. There we take our packs off at Phaung Daw Oo, a local monastic school that provides free education to 6,000 students and novice monks. Using the school as our home base we will explore the wonders of the old city, retreating from the heat in the afternoon to quiet temple corners and some of Mandalay’s most sacred hills for introductions into Myanmar’s history, language and religion, including the practice of meditation. In the evening we will have plenty of time to connect and share life stories with Phaung Daw Oo’s students, learning through individual stories the central role monastic education plays in local development. This will also be a time for us to come together as a group and formulate our intentions and expectations for the coming four weeks of travel.   Shan State (Kalaw and Inle Lake) From Mandalay we make our way to remote Shan State where we will trek through stunning hills and lush paddy fields to remote hill tribe villages. Individual homestays with local Palaung and Danu families will provide an up close window to life in Myanmar’s border regions and plenty of opportunity to practice and develop our language skills. Through sharing chores, meals and stories with our host families we will learn more about ethnic relationships and resource conflict issues in the area and gain insight into how recent reforms are affecting Myanmar’s rural communities. Bidding our new families farewell we end our trek at the edge of idyllic Inle Lake where we board long-tail boats to Nyaungshwe, a lake side village where will have time to reflect, process and debrief our experiences so far.   Mandalay and Karen State (Hpa’an) From Nyaungshwe we return to Mandalay. After greeting our Buddhist friends at Phaung Daw Oo we will venture into Mandalay’s Muslim quarter. Over a home-cooked meal with community leaders involved in the local interfaith movement we will learn about Muslim culture in Myanmar and what is being done locally to extinguish religious tensions and promote peace. Our bellies with warm chapti we board a night bus to Hpa’an, the capital of Karen State. In the shadow of Karen State’s limestone mountains we will meet with local leaders and learn about the rich history and culture of the Karen people, including their 30-year conflict with the Myanmar military. In Hpa’an we will also dive into our first service project, discussing issues related to sustainable development as we pair up with local students to explore the monsoon-drenched countryside, clearing trails and cleaning religious sites as part of a new eco-tourism initiative. Continuing language lessons in both Myanmar and Karen will give ample opportunity to interact and connect with community.   Mon State (Pa’uk) After getting our hands dirty in Hpa’an we will board long-tail boats to Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon State and the setting of George Orwell’s Burmese Days. Catching a line car in a local market we will continue our journey to Pa’uk, Myanmar’s famous forest monastery. In the serenity of Pa’uk’s forests and alongside hundreds of other pilgrims, we will cultivate inner peace through anapanassati (mindfulness of breathing); developing a more profound awareness of self and a deeper understanding of the influence Buddhism has on local understandings of social responsibility. Through this experience we learn to ask questions not only of the world around us but also of ourselves.   Mon State (Mawlamyine, Kyakkami, Kyaikto) Leaving our serene forest refuge behind we will split into small groups to tackle three unique service projects. Working in smaller teams students will develop a deeper understanding of the critical development issues currently facing the country and what is being done locally to creatively combat these problems. Students will divide themselves into groups based on their individual interests. Service options include learning about tropical disease and working with leprosy patients at one of the country’s oldest Catholic missions, learning how to treat HIV with nutrition at an innovative child-focused HIV clinic or getting your hands dirty with an earthen building project at a self-sustaining monastic orphanage. Having fewer of their traveling family members to lean on this portion of the trip will challenge students to put the tools and skills they’ve developed over the first few weeks of the course to work.   Yangon Our traveling family reconvenes in Mawlamyine to board a train bound for Yangon, Myanmar’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. There, students will be paired with a local buddy who will provide an authentic introduction to the smells, tastes, sounds and hectic nature of the city. With support from their buddy, students will have the opportunity to explore Yangon away from the group and visit and volunteer with local organizations based on their individual interests. As a group we will also meet with key development organizations and political groups to hear what some of the country’s most influential leaders have to say about Myanmar’s past, present and future - a macro perspective, giving us an excellent juxtaposition to our month of community-based learning Our trip will wind up with the transference piece of the program, where we map out ways to take our experience back home with us. How will we share this adventure with our loved ones? How will we apply all of this newly acquired wisdom to our lives back home? The group will fly to Bangkok and say goodbyes as our traveling family disbands and we head our separate ways towards the next adventure feeling more confident and aware of ourselves and our place in this world.     [post_title] => Our Tentative Itinerary! 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Burma Summer 4-week

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Our Tentative Itinerary!

Kara Wong,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Mingalarbar fellow adventurers!   Below is the tentative itinerary for Dragons’ 2013 Myanmar program. Since nothing ever goes as planned in Myanmar be prepared for changes and revisions as our journey gets underway. However in the mean time have a look and get excited! This summer’s journey is going to forge paths through Myanmar’s royal […]

Posted On

06/3/13

Author

Kara Wong

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    [post_author] => 24
    [post_date] => 2013-06-03 11:03:55
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-06-03 17:03:55
    [post_content] => 
Hey y’all! I’m Marina Rismiller and I am currently a junior in high school. I live in Galveston, Texas and I love to travel! My mom took my sisters and I to France when I was in 3rd grade and we went to school there for about two years. We then continued to travel to many places like Italy, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. My mom is so out of the box and so one summer we decided to go to Tunisia, Africa. We all fell in love with the culture and ended up building a house there. I love playing sports, going to the gym, and hanging out with all my animals. I am in National Honor Society, Key club, and Spanish Honor Society at Ball High School. I love hunting with my dad and going to the shooting range. I’m on a skeet shooting team and often participate in competitions. I love the outdoors and you can find me outside everyday! I’m very excited to meet everyone on this trip and hope to meet some different people. I love visiting new places and don’t know what to expect because I have never been anywhere near Asia. I can’t wait till we leave! It’s going to be awesome!   [post_title] => Hey!! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hey-22 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-06-03 11:03:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-06-03 17:03:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=85474 [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 )
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Hey!!

Marina Rismiller,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Hey y’all! I’m Marina Rismiller and I am currently a junior in high school. I live in Galveston, Texas and I love to travel! My mom took my sisters and I to France when I was in 3rd grade and we went to school there for about two years. We then continued to travel to […]

Posted On

06/3/13

Author

Marina Rismiller

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 85198
    [post_author] => 24
    [post_date] => 2013-05-28 20:28:49
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-29 02:28:49
    [post_content] => 
Hi guys!! My name is Charlotte, but I tend to go by Char or Charmander, and I'm finishing my junior year. I'm from Westport, Connecticut, spent my sophomore year abroad in Jordan, and love nothing more than traveling in places that make people question my sanity. I play Tennis and am not very good, but I also really enjoy running and hiking, as being outside is the only way I can keep my stress down. I'm also in the Student Government, Womens Advocacy Club, National Honor Society and manage the boys Ice Hockey Team. When I'm not focused on school and standardized testing, I have a strange love of documentaries so netflix is naturally a good friend of mine. Additionally, I play guitar and make sad attempts at teaching myself French while also maintaining my arabic. I've traveled quite a bit, and have done several trips similar to this one in other developing countries, but this program is far more exciting than any trip I've ever done so I am so thrilled to be a part of the group! My best friend is Buddhist so I'm very interested in learning more about the religion, but I'm generally interested in everything to do with cultures other than my own so I have no doubt that our month will be extremely fulfilling. I can't wait to meet everyone in just a month from now! I have facebook so feel free to hit me up!   [post_title] => Hi! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hi-19 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-28 20:28:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-29 02:28:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=85198 [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 )
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Hi!

Charlotte Rowland,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Hi guys!! My name is Charlotte, but I tend to go by Char or Charmander, and I’m finishing my junior year. I’m from Westport, Connecticut, spent my sophomore year abroad in Jordan, and love nothing more than traveling in places that make people question my sanity. I play Tennis and am not very good, but […]

Posted On

05/28/13

Author

Charlotte Rowland

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    [ID] => 85108
    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-05-28 13:44:15
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-28 19:44:15
    [post_content] => 
Hi Everyone! My name is Rebecca (but you can call me Becca) and I am really excited for this course and I can't wait to get to know all of you! I live in New York City and I am currently a sophomore in high school. My sister went to Laos with Dragons two years ago and raved about the experience, so I can't wait to get going! I really love traveling! I've been to various places in Europe, Israel, Brazil and last summer my family and I traveled around Turkey. Aside from my love of travel, I love acting/theater and journalism. Some of my other extra curriculars also include track and field (javelin throwing and sprints), I'm the head of my school Human Rights Club and co-president of my class. In my free time I love to play my guitar or ukulele. (I realize this is a very weird assortment!). I'm really interested in service learning and particularly Human Rights-- both of which attracted me to this program.  I spent the last four summers at an all-girls rustic sleep away camp in Maine, but I decided I wanted to try something new and out of my comfort zone. I was really excited to see that other people had started posting because I'm looking forward to meeting you all and going to Burma in just about a month! I'm thrilled to be going on this adventure with what looks like is shaping out to be a very exciting group of people. -Becca [post_title] => Hi! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hi-18 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-28 13:44:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-28 19:44:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=85108 [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 )
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Hi!

Rebecca Newman,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Hi Everyone! My name is Rebecca (but you can call me Becca) and I am really excited for this course and I can’t wait to get to know all of you! I live in New York City and I am currently a sophomore in high school. My sister went to Laos with Dragons two years ago […]

Posted On

05/28/13

Author

Rebecca Newman

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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-05-23 10:53:49
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-23 16:53:49
    [post_content] => 
My name is Rebecca, but everyone calls me Becky. I'm 18 years old, and I'm from Shorewood, WI. I was so excited when I first logged on and saw a post from another student from Wisconsin, that almost never happens! This program is actually the start of several different adventures I'm planning for my gap year before I attend college. I'm deferring for a year from the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University. I'm so excited for this trip to Burma, and also for my other travels to Eastern Africa, Madagascar, and Nicaragua. As you can probably tell from my college plans, I really like international politics and history. I'm also varsity captain of my school's Mock Trial team, and I work in the drama department performing and stage managing. In fact, my school just closed the first public high school performance of Spring Awakening. I've traveled a lot in the past, mostly in the Middle East. Burma will be a first for me. I love studying languages and I can't wait to learn whatever Burmese I can while I travel. Right now I speak French, Spanish, Hebrew, and Arabic; I'm both excited and nervous about Burmese because I don't speak any other tonal languages. I look forward to meeting everyone this summer! [post_title] => Hello All! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hello-all [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-23 10:53:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-23 16:53:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=84966 [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 )
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Hello All!

Rebecca Eder,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

My name is Rebecca, but everyone calls me Becky. I’m 18 years old, and I’m from Shorewood, WI. I was so excited when I first logged on and saw a post from another student from Wisconsin, that almost never happens! This program is actually the start of several different adventures I’m planning for my gap […]

Posted On

05/23/13

Author

Rebecca Eder

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    [ID] => 84957
    [post_author] => 24
    [post_date] => 2013-05-22 16:37:21
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-22 22:37:21
    [post_content] => 
Dear students, I am looking forward to meeting you and sharing in this extraordinary journey that we have ahead this summer!  I am sure that you are excited and maybe a little nervous too. I don’t think it is assuming too much to say that your experiences this summer will change the way you see the world and your place in it. That has been the case for me from my first trip to Asia and has led me to continue to live here because the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know, and how much there is to learn from ancient cultures and deep spiritual traditions. Since college I have spent most of my time in Nepal studying Buddhism, learning to sculpt stone Buddhas with a master Nepali sculptor, trekking into the high Himalayas as often as I can, and leading summer and semester programs with Dragons. Like for you, Myanmar will be new for me. I have wanted to travel to Myanmar for quite some time and can’t think of any better way than what we have ahead of us. Kara and Jess have devoted years to understanding the complexities of the country and to developing strong relationships with remarkable people who we will be meeting and learning from directly this summer. They will be offering us unique opportunities to look more deeply into the rich subtleties of life in Myanmar. Although I am new to the country, I am not new to many of its traditions, particularly that of Buddhism. I have studied and practiced Burmese styles of meditation in monasteries in Nepal and India. There are over 400,000 Nepali people in Myanmar and I also hope to use my familiarity with Nepali people to explore how immigrant populations negotiate through the Burmese social, cultural, and political landscapes. I will be brief as one thing I have learned from travel is that nothing I could write, nothing you could read or watch, and nothing anyone could say could truly prepare you for what is in store for you. My recommendation is to come light in expectations and in luggage and open to what is to come. Of all that you bring with you, your open receptivity, flexibility and humor will be the most essential. Having said that, I am sure you will have a lot of questions emerge as the departure date approaches. Please don’t hesitate to post a yak if you think we can help in answering any of them. Please continue to check the yak board as we will be posting useful info in the coming weeks. I look forward to meeting you all and to sharing this journey with you! Adrian [post_title] => Mingalabar! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => mingalabar-3 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-22 16:37:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-22 22:37:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=84957 [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 )
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Mingalabar!

Adrian Smith,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Dear students, I am looking forward to meeting you and sharing in this extraordinary journey that we have ahead this summer!  I am sure that you are excited and maybe a little nervous too. I don’t think it is assuming too much to say that your experiences this summer will change the way you see […]

Posted On

05/22/13

Author

Adrian Smith

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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-05-21 09:25:38
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-21 15:25:38
    [post_content] => 
Hey Everyone! My name is Nathan Miller. I live in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, which is right by Lake Michigan. I am finishing my junior year and am so excited to be going to Burma and meeting everyone! I chose to go on the Dragons Burma trip because service is a huge part of my life. Not only that, but I always want to be part of the solution to a problem and I felt I could be part of something bigger than myself on this trip. While there, I hope to learn more about the conditions people live with in Burma and what I can do to help make their lives better. I also expect that by the end of our 4 weeks there  I will have a new appreciation for the blessings in my own life along with a deeper desire to help those who are not as fortunate. Other reasons for choosing Burma include how beautiful the country looks. I love nature, and it seems like we're all going to get to see some pretty awesome sights that we'd never see in America! I've never traveled to Asia before, or left North America for that matter, so I'm excited to be in an entirely new place. Finally, I wanted a very diverse trip, and from the likes of trekking to biking to hanging out with monks to working with village children, it seems like this trip offers just that. As far as my life back here in Manitowoc is concerned, I like to be involved in a lot of things. Football is one of my greatest passions, and this winter I was elected as a team Captain for my senior year. I love competition and the feeling of working hard to achieve something big. I work out year round to prepare for the season, so it is a huge part of my life. Another big part of my life, especially this past year, has been attending and working with LifeTeen in Manitowoc. I love the opportunities it gives me to be of service to others and to learn more about my faith. In school, my favorite subject is math, and other ones that I like include economics and physics. When I go to college I hope to double major in business and engineering, although I'm not sure what I would want those exact degrees to be. I also work 2 jobs and volunteer a lot for a non-profit called St. Vincent de Paul which sells donations in its store and in turn provides necessities to needy families and individuals in the community. Finally, I consider myself one of those people who is always smiling and happy. I like to make jokes and look on the bright side of things because I feel it makes life more fun. After all, who doesn't like to laugh and have a good time? :) I'm sure the magnitude of this trip won't set in until we arrive or maybe even a few days in, but in the meantime I can't help but anticipate how awesome of an experience this is going to be. I'm looking forward to learning about all of you as well, and I'm sure that by the end of this trip we'll all have some great new friends and some unbelievable stories to tell. Until then, take care! ~Nathan [post_title] => My Introduction [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => my-introduction-4 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-21 09:25:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-21 15:25:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=84805 [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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My Introduction

Nathan Miller,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Hey Everyone! My name is Nathan Miller. I live in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, which is right by Lake Michigan. I am finishing my junior year and am so excited to be going to Burma and meeting everyone! I chose to go on the Dragons Burma trip because service is a huge part of my life. Not […]

Posted On

05/21/13

Author

Nathan Miller

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    [ID] => 84822
    [post_author] => 24
    [post_date] => 2013-05-21 09:23:05
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-21 15:23:05
    [post_content] => 
Greetings students! I am so curious about who you are, where you've been, and what is calling you to embark on this adventure of learning and growth with us this summer. In just over a month, we'll start getting to one another in person, and by the end of July I'm sure we'll feel like family. This summer will be my first time working with Dragons, and I can't wait to help you take in and distill the infinite lessons of this soulful land. I know it will enrich and inspire you just like it has touched me! I am writing to you from a crowded cyber cafe in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I live when I'm not teaching, traveling and working in Myanmar. This cafe is full of school children, mostly boys, leisurely playing computer games. They're hanging over each other's chairs, laughing, playfully egging on one another. Although it's a typical scene here in modern Southeast Asia, it stands in stark contrast to the city kids whose lives I observed before I last departed Myanmar a couple weeks ago. In Myanmar, rather than playing games, little boys are more often found to be working 12-hour shifts in bustling tea shops, serving up cigarettes, milk tea and betel nut, then pushing the tables together at night to sleep on top of them. While it's at times painful to open my eyes to the hardships that color daily life, I also feel profoundly privileged to bear witness to the kindness, open-hearted compassion and resilience that have defined the survival of Myanmar's people and communities over the past decades of political turmoil. I've been spending a lot of time in Myanmar since my first visit in January 2009, when I had a job developing a scholarship program for young leaders to access higher education opportunities at top universities in the Asia Pacific region. (The country's university system was decimated by the military regime as a way to shut down the student protest movements in the 1980s and 1990s, so young scholars have to rely on studying abroad.) For the past couple years, I've worked on various education programs to promote peace and sustainability. On a personal note, I've been greatly influenced by the Buddhist teachings and path of mindfulness that I have discovered throughout my travels and meditation experiences. In Myanmar, I've found that no matter how daunting the challenges and tragedies, the human spirit rises above them and always moves forward with grace and goodness. Myanmar is incredibly diverse and complex, full of contradictions and confusion that we'll spend a lot of time dissecting and hopefully even learning to love. It is a place of incredible hospitality, and I can assure you that you will arrive in a safe, nurturing country where everyone is eager to welcome you, greet you with a smile, support you in your challenges, and make sure you always have a friend. I have told a lot of my local friends about you and they are ready to welcome you! A final thought for now – education is an enormously important value in Myanmar society, so it's very fitting that you've chosen to visit as part of an educational program. People make great sacrifices for educational opportunities, and due to the poor state of the education system, learning is something that is considered sacred – never taken for granted. As a Dragons student, your decision to use your summer to pursue such a powerful learning journey reveals that you, too, understand the sanctity of knowledge. The other instructors and I are ready to support you to delve in completely, so please feel invited to ask the deepest questions, learn the deepest lessons, and learn about the deepest parts of yourself. With metta, Jessica [post_title] => Greetings Burma Students! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => greetings-burma-students [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-21 09:23:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-21 15:23:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=84822 [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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Greetings Burma Students!

Jessica Olney,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Greetings students! I am so curious about who you are, where you’ve been, and what is calling you to embark on this adventure of learning and growth with us this summer. In just over a month, we’ll start getting to one another in person, and by the end of July I’m sure we’ll feel like […]

Posted On

05/21/13

Author

Jessica Olney

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    [ID] => 84213
    [post_author] => 24
    [post_date] => 2013-05-16 12:54:36
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-16 18:54:36
    [post_content] => 
Dear Burma Students,   It is with great enthusiasm that I write you, and kick off our Yak board for your upcoming summer adventure! After instructing 4 Dragons programs in the field over the last few years, I joined the team in Boulder as the South East Asia Program Director and appreciate the opportunity I have each day to support the transformative programs that I believe so deeply in and the students that will make them possible   I was born and raised in Denver, CO and graduated from the University of Colorado in 2000 with a BA in Anthropology. For me, anthropology was an inquiry into the broad experience of being a human on planet earth. It highlighted a fundamental way of seeing and engaging in life that was at the core of my own personal ethic. It beckoned the effort to understand people, to respect their values and ways of life, and to rest in the primary sameness of our humanity. My longing to meet the people I was reading about in books led me to Semester at Sea during my sophomore year of college.  We voyaged to 9 countries in South America, Africa and Asia in 3 short months… and so began my intense love of travel and the profound learning that occurs when we depart from our concepts and defer to our direct experience. It was this little seed of global inspiration that grew into the landscape of my life.   Upon graduating from CU, I extended my great love of learning and people to a professional path as an educator and facilitator in this great realm of “experience”.  I began work as a field staff in a clinically therapeutic wilderness program for at-risk teens in Utah. Beyond the proof I had in my own life, it was here that I first saw the power and potential of the wilderness and experiential education to facilitate profound transformation and empowerment in young people.  My work has continued in this vein of education and facilitation since 2000, and taken me from Utah, North Carolina, New Mexico and Colorado, to the far corners of the Himalayas and South East Asia with hundreds of students who have inspired me in their willingness to learn and know the world and their place in it.   I couldn’t be more excited for what is to come for each of you, students and parents alike. Each time I receive an email or have a chance to chat with you on the phone, I am not only aware of the immediate need, but of the incredible breadth of what lies ahead, of how you might be changed by the beauty and humanity that you will encounter, and the endless potential and ripples that will follow.   Your journey has begun. Welcome to the Dragons community and welcome to what is to be an unforgettable and pivotal experience of your life.   I wish you luck in your preparations and to all of you students out there, I encourage you to take some time to think about what it is that you are seeking from this journey- it will be informed as much by your own intentions and what you bring to the table as anything else.  You have an important hand in writing the book of this adventure- for yourselves, your fellow group members and for the people you will encounter along the way. These weeks leading up to your trip are precious in their anticipation… You are on the brink of an unforgettable experience!   [post_title] => Welcome from your Program Director! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => welcome-from-your-program-director-5 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-16 12:54:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-16 18:54:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=84213 [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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Welcome from your Program Director!

Sarah Byrden,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Dear Burma Students,   It is with great enthusiasm that I write you, and kick off our Yak board for your upcoming summer adventure! After instructing 4 Dragons programs in the field over the last few years, I joined the team in Boulder as the South East Asia Program Director and appreciate the opportunity I […]

Posted On

05/16/13

Author

Sarah Byrden

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 84215
    [post_author] => 24
    [post_date] => 2013-05-16 12:54:09
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-16 18:54:09
    [post_content] => 
Mingalabar!   A heartfelt mingalabar from Mandalay - Myanmar’s last royal capital and a city that evokes the history, mystery and wonder of this beautiful country.   Myanmar is a country that everyone recognizes but very few know. Most people can say a few words about Myanmar’s history of military rule, about Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, about the country’s ongoing civil wars and internal independence struggles. However few know that Myanmar is one of the world’s last strongholds of Therevada Buddhism, that it is a country of 60 million that shares it’s borders with five countries including both China and India, that with 147 recognized ethnic groups it is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world.   I have a very special relationship with Myanmar. It has been my home for the past five years and will be my spiritual home for the remainder of my life.   I first came to Myanmar in early 2008 to work with a local education NGO. Within a few short months I knew I was home. The intoxicating energy of the people I met in the classroom and on the streets inspired a fire in me that I had never encountered before. A year after arriving in Myanmar I co-founded a community-based leadership and academic preparation school.  The supportive learning community and creative energy cultivated by the school led to new ideas and social projects and five years on I still find myself working and creating with former students who have since become dear friends and some of my most influential teachers.   What I have learned about the world and myself while living and working in Myanmar surpasses anything I could have read in a book or encountered in the classroom. 48 years of military rule has cultivated a unique sense of community and a system of people-inspired and driven social networks. Working together Myanmar’s people have given birth to some of the most creative solutions to modern development that I have ever seen. I am constantly humbled and inspired by the honesty, compassion and ingenuity that surrounds me on a daily basis. I am constantly challenged to rethink my understanding of selflessness and resilience. Of faith, trust and responsibility.   Soon, these challenges will be yours! Soon you will be the ones cultivating new friendships and encountering new ways of thinking about and approaching the world.   It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Myanmar. Welcome to a front-row seat to history in the making. Welcome to a new traveling family and to friendships and encounters that will continue to define who you are years from now. I congratulate each of you for making the brave choice to embark on this adventure and invite you to jump into this experience ready to be challenged and with an open heart and mind.   I look forward to experiencing Myanmar through your eyes and to learning and growing together.  As you pack and gear yourselves up for the summer ahead please feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have. Myself and your stellar I-team are here to support you.   With metta (love and kindness) Kara [post_title] => Welcome from you Course Director [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => welcome-from-you-course-director [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-16 12:54:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-16 18:54:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=84215 [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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Welcome from you Course Director

Kara Wong,Burma Summer 4-week

Description

Mingalabar!   A heartfelt mingalabar from Mandalay – Myanmar’s last royal capital and a city that evokes the history, mystery and wonder of this beautiful country.   Myanmar is a country that everyone recognizes but very few know. Most people can say a few words about Myanmar’s history of military rule, about Aung San Suu […]

Posted On

05/16/13

Author

Kara Wong

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