Photo of the Week
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2013-08-14 17:37:51
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    [post_content] => Dear Alena, Anke, Kempie, and Max --

Just a quick note to express a big "Thank you" for all that you did to create an enriching and memorable summer experience for the Dragons students this summer.  We have so enjoyed hearing Andy's stories, looking at photos, and witnessing his growth as he has shared his experience over the past several days since arriving home.  Your care and mentorship of the students is evident in the descriptions he has shared as well as in the transformation we see in him.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge, experience, and time to help these young people to gain greater understanding of our global community as well as to mature individually.  Your dedication is greatly appreciated.

Wishing you the best in your future endeavors -- Heather & Joe Secondine (Andy's parents)
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Jordan Summer 6-week

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Thank you!

Heather Secondine,Jordan Summer 6-week

Description

Dear Alena, Anke, Kempie, and Max — Just a quick note to express a big “Thank you” for all that you did to create an enriching and memorable summer experience for the Dragons students this summer.  We have so enjoyed hearing Andy’s stories, looking at photos, and witnessing his growth as he has shared his […]

Posted On

08/14/13

Author

Heather Secondine

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    [post_date] => 2013-08-08 12:43:49
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-08 18:43:49
    [post_content] => The group has arrived safely at JFK and after final goodbyes, all students are being deployed to their domestic gates.
    [post_title] => Students have arrived in the states!
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Jordan Summer 6-week

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Students have arrived in the states!

Sarah Byrden,Jordan Summer 6-week

Description

The group has arrived safely at JFK and after final goodbyes, all students are being deployed to their domestic gates.

Posted On

08/8/13

Author

Sarah Byrden

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    [post_date] => 2013-08-08 06:37:57
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-08 12:37:57
    [post_content] => Dear friends and families!

Our Dragons program here in Jordan has come to an end!  How quickly six weeks have passed!  To wrap up the course our group returned to Dana Village, where we celebrated our mid-course time.  As we come to the end of our course, it was striking to see how much the students had changed – over our six weeks together, they built strong friendships, learnt Arabic and became immersed in a variety of different communities.  In final feedback sessions, the I-team was impressed when we reflected on how the students have grown over the last six weeks, such as by gaining  language abilities and cultural knowledge, leadership skills and self-awareness.

Our last day together included final feedback sessions, an activity in which every group member was able to express appreciation to their fellow travelers and a final ceremony involving our ceremonial kheffiyeh and a sky lantern.  After packing their bags, the students and instructors boarded a bus for Queen Alia International Airport in Amman and a 4 am flight to Istanbul.  By the time you read this yak, it is likely that the group will already have touched down in New York and be preparing to fly to all corners of the country and to their homes.  As they departed the students were in good spirits, although sad to be saying goodbye to Jordan and to our group, who have become close over the course.   The photo below is of Benny and Walter cutting our ceremonial kheffiyeh into strips that the group tied to each others wrists to take with them as they move onto further adventures.

I’m sure you can’t wait to be reunited with the students.  Thank you for supporting them to join our program!  My colleagues and I have loved having each and every student on the course for their unique contributions to the group, discussions and various communities.

We have loved seeing the students grow throughout the course and I’m sure you’ll love to hear about what they have learnt and experienced here in Jordan.  Students coming out of an intense group and cultural experience often need time to readjust to being back home.  During our final session at the end of the course, when students reflect on their experiences, I asked them to write messages about how you can support them when they return home.  The messages are anonymous and they give you a sense of how the group is feeling and perhaps how they can be supported as they transition back into their lives back home:

Thank you as always for your loving support.

"space to reflect; caring toward our experience; be there for me; help me shop for college'

"love and time and space; maybe some comfort food; big hugs and bigger smiles; normal conversation with careful questions - understanding"

"I need people to realize that I have changed in ways that may seem strange, and that I care"

 

"I'll need a bit of time to myself, a space to talk openly and some time to readjust to being at home"

"I want people to recognize how I've changed."

"I need quiet and space.  I need a burrito from chipotle.  I need time to just be with you.  I need love and support."

"I need my family to love me just as strongly as they always have while embracing the changes I've cultivated within myself.  I need my 'rents to understand just how deeply grateful I am to them for making this experience possible (and for everything else that goes unacknowledged every day but still means the world to me)"

"I look forward to changing people around me."
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Returning Home

Alena Bartoli,Jordan Summer 6-week

Description

Dear friends and families! Our Dragons program here in Jordan has come to an end!  How quickly six weeks have passed!  To wrap up the course our group returned to Dana Village, where we celebrated our mid-course time.  As we come to the end of our course, it was striking to see how much the […]

Posted On

08/8/13

Author

Alena Bartoli

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-08-07 09:14:17
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-07 15:14:17
    [post_content] => 
The western horizon (in Africa), the sunset, the time of ifTaar during Ramadan, and the prayer that happens at sunset are all called in Arabic "al-maghreb". The root of this word, like almost all Arabic words, is a three letter combination: gh-r-b. It means west. We came here from "al-gharb". The maghreb is when the sun has gone completely west. But also, this is called "gheyaab ash-shams". The going absent of the sun. gh-a-b. In these two closely related roots we find ideas that are so intimately related for us: the setting of the sun, a going to the west, and a becoming absent. Soon we will watch our last sunset over the canyon in Dana, where we have reflected on and grown so much together, and then we will head to the West, and be gone. It has been a long journey. Al-7amdalillah 3la salaamitna! There have been so many challenges. There were times I didn't know if we could withstand the fatigue. There were times when I truly thought the challenges might be too many, and that negativity would win out. But as we arrived in Dana after a long, early morning bus ride, the beautiful landscape and the mostly ruined village welcomed us back with a serenity and openness that mirrored what we have arrived at inside of ourselves. Today was the first day of transference. As we drew up memories of all the days and nights we have spent in this harsh and beautiful and hospitable land, I was moved by how much perspective we have gained. We were able to laugh at ourselves as overconfident "baby Dragons students", and to appreciate that the end result of our learning has, beautifully, been more questions than answers. As students began presenting their ISPs, I was truly moved by how seriously they have been inquiring about Jordanian perspectives, how bravely they have allowed their minds to be opened, and how generously they have come to respect this place and all the people we have met. The group is speaking to each other with love and eloquence, and our differences and worries are only reflections of bigger struggles and variations that exist in our complicated, tumultuous world. I am so grateful for each student who has allowed love to win. I can't wait to see how you will carry this forward into your new horizons.   As the sun sets over Dana and the athaan calls our final Maghrebs together, I want to say shukran. Biddee ashtaag ilkum. Allah m3kum oo m3na kulna. [post_title] => The sun is setting over Dana [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-sun-is-setting-over-dana-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-02 14:57:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-02 21:57:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=89977 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 212 [name] => Jordan Summer 6-week [slug] => jordan-summer-6-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 212 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 253 [count] => 58 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12.1 [cat_ID] => 212 [category_count] => 58 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Jordan Summer 6-week [category_nicename] => jordan-summer-6-week [category_parent] => 253 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2013/jordan-summer-6-week/ ) ) [category_links] => Jordan Summer 6-week )
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The sun is setting over Dana

Anke al-Bataineh,Jordan Summer 6-week

Description

The western horizon (in Africa), the sunset, the time of ifTaar during Ramadan, and the prayer that happens at sunset are all called in Arabic “al-maghreb”. The root of this word, like almost all Arabic words, is a three letter combination: gh-r-b. It means west. We came here from “al-gharb”. The maghreb is when the […]

Posted On

08/7/13

Author

Anke al-Bataineh

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    [post_date] => 2013-08-07 09:05:43
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    [post_content] => 

Great things are done when men and mountains meet.” -William Blake

The 6:30am alarm jarrs us awake, and as our eyes slowly ajust to the light we remember why it did so: today we climb Mount Aaron. Full of sleepiness and excitement, Kempie and Max lead the four of us—Andy, Benny, Caleb, and Hassan—down to the small Bedouin village that lies just outside Petra. We find the mosque where our guide has asked to meet and wait in the car for him to arrive. 5 minutes pass, then 10, until nearly half an hour later Kempie's “where-are-you-it's-been-forever-and-we're-trying-to-stick-to-a-schedule-here” call goes through. A young boy claiming to be our guide's brother comes up to our window and leads us to Ahmed's house. Ahmed meets us in the courtyard of his home soon after. We sit in the shade for the next fifteen minutes drinking tea, eating dates, and admiring his Jack Sparrow-esque looks. As we talk, Ahmed offers us an intriguing option: rather than spend all our energy hiking to the base of the mountain, a friend of his could drive us to and from the mountain's base—even though cars are technically prohibited within the park—and shorten the trip by 5 hours. We decide to compromise and take the car to the mountain but hike back to the hotel ourselves. We down one final sip of tea, gather our date pits, and walk into the sandstone hills. Soon after departing, we realize that Captain Jack is leading us on a roundabout route into Petra. Crimson rocks mottled with orange and ochre line the path. In the distance, we spot the remains of ancient Christian tombs carved into the rock. As we admire the intense beauty that surrounds us, the dulcet tones of Adele's “Someone Like You” break us out of our trance. We learn of the pirate's obsession with Adele and, grinning, he continues to play the song on repeat. Three times. Rounding a corner, we notice a shift in the rock as the curves of sandstone give way to ordered lines and classical arches. Petra now stands before us in all of its splendor. Ahmed has smuggled us into the site, thus saving us a hefty fee. When we bring it up, he simply says, “There are many ways into Petra.” With our laughter echoing through the ancient hills, we climb to a shack where our driver waits. The ascent begins with a demanding but manageable climb, and we arrive at the lookout point for lunch with high spirits. Until the sardines. In a move that infinitely increases his pirate credibility, Ahmed pulls out two tins of sardines that Kempie proudly identifies as Moroccan. They smell. Our lack of utensils prompts Ahmed to cut the tomato and cucumber with the lid of his sardine can. A fishy smell permeates the vegetables. We wouldn't mind, but Ahmed insists on sharing and cultural appropriateness forces us to eat. Having filled our stomachs, we pack up lunch and prepare for the final climb up to the mosque. Benny notices Ahmed's half-finished can of Jordanian Coca Cola, and covets it on behalf of a Coke-can-collecting friend. Ahmed obliges. After the adventure that was lunch, we walk up uneven stairs to the mosque, a white washed, 400 year old building consisting of the main chamber—a dark room with one door and no windows—and the underground crypt. We mouse into the beautiful building and meet the caretaker, a kind Bedouin man in a regal black thobe and headscarf. A simple coffin draped in green and white occupies the right side of the room. An open guestbook sits beside it, filled with signatures and messages in countless languages. We add our names. Looking around, we notice in the corner a staircase leading down to the crypt. Kempie descends first, stepping down into the darkness and returning a few minutes later. Andy then goes down with a light, followed by Benny. The headlamp reveals a room, two indents, and hundreds of extinguished candles. We take in the depth of the room for a minute, then climb back up to rejoin the group. We step out into the world, where the brilliance blinds us. Our eyes recover, and as we walk to our right a staircase beckons us up to the roof of the mosque. We stand and watch the world before us: the majestic landscape of mountains and deserts, where countless empires have risen and fallen. Nothing but the wind interrupts our silence. A voice rings out, suggesting that pictures really ought to be taken. We agree, prompting a fifteen minute photo session before we finally depart. The sun beats down on us as we walk through the desert. Each thought, each word, each breath is set to the rhythmic thumping of our feet. Ahmed does not like to stop. We walk for an hour and a half before our first water break, switching partners as we go. Andy and Benny discuss politics, Hassan and Ahmed discuss religion, Caleb and Kempie discuss the course. Soon enough we come to a small shack filled with dirt, rusty iron, and—thankfully—chairs. We sit for a few minutes, and Ahmed shares tales of his adventures through Holland, Thailand, and Spain. Time passes, and we resume our trek. Talk turns to our fatigue, the heat, and the promise of a nap. After what feels like an eternity, we finally behold the ruins of Petra once again. We sit together at a shop, take one final picture, and write down Ahmed's Facebook name: “Wolf Wolf Wolf.” After the much needed break we again take up the fight, this time without our guide, and drag ourselves through the sandstone city, up the windswept canyon, and on to the final stretch of open ground. Hassan, fasting though he was, leads the pack. In the last few hundred meters, a race breaks out. Andy powers his way through the gate, followed closely by the others. We find a taxi and pile in. The car reeks of sweat. After an eternity of bumps and potholes, we arrive at the hotel and clamor out. We come through the door, wearily greet the others, and collapse onto the couch. After 10 hours and a few thousand calories worth of exertion, we have returned home. And now, as we sit writing this Yak while bumping along on the six hour bus ride from Dana to Irbid, the memories of the day seem as crisp and vivid as ever. The heat, the fatigue, the breathtaking beauty all come flashing back to us just as though we are still sitting in that mosque high atop the mountains of Jordan. Though time may ultimately erase some of the day's mundane details, the power of the moment we shared atop Mount Aaron will never fade.

And yes, we can still smell the sardines.

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Atop Mount Aaron

Andy and Benny,Jordan Summer 6-week

Description

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet.” -William Blake The 6:30am alarm jarrs us awake, and as our eyes slowly ajust to the light we remember why it did so: today we climb Mount Aaron. Full of sleepiness and excitement, Kempie and Max lead the four of us—Andy, Benny, Caleb, and Hassan—down to […]

Posted On

08/7/13

Author

Andy and Benny

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    [post_date] => 2013-08-06 12:06:22
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-06 12:06:22
    [post_content] => Dear Jordan Students & Families,

This weekend marks the end of our Jordan 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.turkishairlines.com/en-us/

The students are traveling home on the following Turkish Airlines Flight:

Returning Flight:

August 8th, 2013

Turkish Airlines #815

Depart: Amman (AMM) 4:00am

Arrive: Istanbul (IST) 6:20am

August 8th, 2013

Turkish Airlines #3

Depart: Istanbul (IST) 7:25am

Arrive: New York (JFK) 11:20am
    [post_title] => Return Flight Information
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Jordan Summer 6-week

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Return Flight Information

Eva Vanek,Jordan Summer 6-week

Description

Dear Jordan Students & Families, This weekend marks the end of our Jordan 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

08/6/13

Author

Eva Vanek

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-08-06 12:03:07
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    [post_content] => This yak is for my dad. We are currently listening to the call to prayer for breaking of fast and just got done debriefing our expedition phase. We were all very grateful for a time for us to choose what we would like to do, and for our fearless leader, Andy. It is Sunday and tomorrow we start our transference. As I think about the past six weeks, I cant begin to explain what it has been like. Being here can be explained in only one word – different. I couldn't tell myself what I would've expected when I began, but I truly have found something here that is special. I cant put it into words or even try to explain, but it is great. I will miss all my new friends, dragons and non, and will remember them for forever.
    [post_title] => A Yak Home
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Jordan Summer 6-week

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A Yak Home

Grady Simms,Jordan Summer 6-week

Description

This yak is for my dad. We are currently listening to the call to prayer for breaking of fast and just got done debriefing our expedition phase. We were all very grateful for a time for us to choose what we would like to do, and for our fearless leader, Andy. It is Sunday and […]

Posted On

08/6/13

Author

Grady Simms

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    [post_date] => 2013-08-05 09:12:03
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-05 15:12:03
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While there have been some moments of istira7a in these last weeks of our trip, there have also been moments of great effort that shouldn't get overlooked. For one, during our time in Amman we joined an organization called STEPS in hosting an IfTaar at Jordan's most beautiful university for children from a very poor neighborhood. Students pitched in by setting up and taking down the dinner supplies, as well as by engaging students in a friendly game of kurat al-qadem before the maghreb had come. In the world of al-lu6a al-3rabiya, a few students made brave efforts to come out of their comfort zones and see just what they were capable of. They wore buttons that said "bil 3rabee low sama7t" and "i7kee m3ee bil 3rabee" and spoke (nearly) only Arabic all day. Masha'Allah, they have really challenged themselves- and learned so so much!!! Mabruk oo Allah ewaffiqhum bil mustaqbal insha'Allah! (congratulations and may God grant them success in the future)

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ash-shu6el mish 3eb! (there is no shame in hard work)

Anke al-Bataineh,Jordan Summer 6-week

Description

While there have been some moments of istira7a in these last weeks of our trip, there have also been moments of great effort that shouldn’t get overlooked. For one, during our time in Amman we joined an organization called STEPS in hosting an IfTaar at Jordan’s most beautiful university for children from a very poor […]

Posted On

08/5/13

Author

Anke al-Bataineh

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Wrapping up our last night in Amman with a walk through the busy late night streets full of Ramadan revellers, I'm thrilled to reflect on what an amazing summer of learning it has been for our students and instructors.
 
Early Sunday morning, we'll head to Amman's southern bus station in order to return to the idyllic Dana Nature Reserve, ensconced in the hills of southern Jordan.  The group will spend the next three days in this quiet, rural space reflecting on the victories and challenges of the course as they prepare to return to life back home.
 
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Jordan Summer 6-week

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Wrapping up!

Alena Bartoli,Jordan Summer 6-week

Description

Wrapping up our last night in Amman with a walk through the busy late night streets full of Ramadan revellers, I’m thrilled to reflect on what an amazing summer of learning it has been for our students and instructors.   Early Sunday morning, we’ll head to Amman’s southern bus station in order to return to the idyllic […]

Posted On

08/4/13

Author

Alena Bartoli

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    [post_content] => Greetings Friends and Families!

We apologize for not being in touch on the Yak Yak board, but all is well here in Jordan. We are rapidly approaching our last week of the program and are currently on the student expedition. During this time, the students take ownership over the program and plan all destinations, educational activities, lodging, transportation, and meals among other things. The instructor team maintains the health and safety of the program, but other than that - the students are running the show! As an instructor, it's an incredible opportunity to witness the students put the skills and knowledge they have acquired over the past month or so into practice.

To catch you up at home...We have been in Amman for the past week. Our Yaks have only been scarce because we have been lured by the bright lights and city movement of Amman. Out of 7 million people in Jordan, 5 of these million live in Amman! The students began their stay in Amman with an Urban Solo, orienting them to their new home and taking some time to observe and reflect on the diversity of city life here. Since that first day, the group has explored a variety of neighborhoods - some more modern, some more traditional, all fascinating and lively (especially after the breaking of fast at dusk)! In addition to neighborhood exploration, the student have had the privileged of participating in guest lectures about the history and development of Amman, Jordanian education and its evolution over the past 40 years, complex refugee issues, environmental concerns, youth peace-building initiatives, and community empowerment projects.

We left Amman this morning for our first destination on the student expedition - Madaba. The students will follow with a Yak of their plans for the next few days shortly. Stay tuned...
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Jordan Summer 6-week

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Adventures in Amman

Kempie Blythe,Jordan Summer 6-week

Description

Greetings Friends and Families! We apologize for not being in touch on the Yak Yak board, but all is well here in Jordan. We are rapidly approaching our last week of the program and are currently on the student expedition. During this time, the students take ownership over the program and plan all destinations, educational […]

Posted On

08/2/13

Author

Kempie Blythe

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