Photo of the Week
Bolivia 6-week
Photo Title


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I now see myself as part of the bigger picture. Before these six weeks of travel and exploration, I knew that there was a world out there, but did not really understand what that meant. Now, I am part of a world of seven billion, all of different thought systems, rituals, and ways of being. I understand that this world is ours; it is not merely a thought held only to my imagination. We all deserve to live on it, yet have the duty to live with it, to be aware that we are stewards of nature and nature is a steward of us.
Our main goals as people are to survive, surround ourselves with loving family and friends, and most of all, to foster personal happiness and global well-being. I have laughed, feeling so supported and respected by my group. They have allowed me to become an independent thinker, and even more so, an independent doer. My home stay in Totor Kawa distilled for me the essential familial values of strength, love, and support. Not that my family back at home is any less amazing, just that my family here has shown me what is the most significant, that material possessions are irrelevant. For that matter, they have shown me that poverty is only a word for not having a lot of unnecessary material wealth. This is completely unrelated to the richness of humanity which is attainable by anyone.
I tear up to know that I have felt free; I have felt free because I am not afraid. Having shaken from the bonds of mental limitation, I will make my own choices and own future. During this trip, I have learned through experiential adventure how I want to live my life. This could never be taught by someone else. I want to be unrestricted by society's borders of conventionality, do what I believe, and keep learning all the time. Blending my creativity and sensibility, I will positively impact this world.
I am so proud to be living amongst nature's balance of a system, yet have been struck by the human selfishness and ignorance which now weigh down the scale. After experiencing the mountains of the Andes and life of the Amazon, I dedicate my life to once again returning the world to harmony. I will keep questioning, so that if lucky, I may eventually stumble upon the answers.
Thank you to these six weeks of discovery. Thank you to my perseverance and openness. Thank you to four instructors who helped guide both my body and mind. Thank you to all the wonderful people I met and observed throughout this journey, allowing me to experience their perspectives and way of life. Thank you to my eight best friends who have created a community of love. Our new family has let me be no more and no less than myself and done the same for everyone else; I have grown. Thank you to these blank pages, now filled with thoughts. Thank you to all who have shared and all who have listened. Thank you to the waterfall that collapses into the pool, then winds through the rocks at my feet. Thank you to the blue sky. Thank you to Bolivia. I am so incredibly appreciative.
I will miss you, but am ready to go home and live some more.
My goal is to not lose this life from the past six weeks. The people and places will not be the same, yet I want to live with this same essence.
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How I Have Changed

Rebecca Strull,Best Notes From The Field, Picture of the Week, Bolivia 6-week

Description

I now see myself as part of the bigger picture. Before these six weeks of travel and exploration, I knew that there was a world out there, but did not really understand what that meant. Now, I am part of a world of seven billion, all of different thought systems, rituals, and ways of being. […]

Posted On

08/11/14

Author

Rebecca Strull

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    [post_content] => Dear friends and family,

After a teary goodbye at the airport, Lyla, Max, Cara, Anthony, Emmaline, Claudia, Rebecca, Nick, Linda and Leah boarded their flight to Miami.  Patrick, Julianne and Pedro are awaiting connecting flights to their respective homes.  It has been a magical journey filled with laughter, inspiring landscapes, group and personal challenges, lasting new friendships and a love for the Andes and Amazon of Bolivia.   Each one of us has been touched and changed by our experience together, and we are eager to share our adventure and carry that learning home.

As we were huddled together saying goodbye, Lyla shared some parting words of wisdom  from our favorite bear, which hang present in our minds: "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard" - Winnie the Pooh.  We will miss you all dearly!

As instructors, we would like to express our deep gratitude for all of the parents, friends, mentors, and members of the Dragons community that made this adventure possible.  And most of all, we are grateful for the gift of walking this path of adventure and discovery with such a wonderful group of young people.

Hugs and best wishes,

Julianne, Patrick, Pedro (and Leah)
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Bolivia 6-week

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A teary goodbye at El Alto Airport – the group is on their way!

The Instructors,Bolivia 6-week

Description

Dear friends and family, After a teary goodbye at the airport, Lyla, Max, Cara, Anthony, Emmaline, Claudia, Rebecca, Nick, Linda and Leah boarded their flight to Miami.  Patrick, Julianne and Pedro are awaiting connecting flights to their respective homes.  It has been a magical journey filled with laughter, inspiring landscapes, group and personal challenges, lasting […]

Posted On

08/8/14

Author

The Instructors

Category

Bolivia 6-week

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    [post_content] => We had an awesome trek in the Amazon in Parque Amboro. Our days were filled with swimming, laughing, itching insect bites, excellent conversation, and new plants and animals. Driving into the forest, we waited several hours for some local people to build a road across a recently overflowing river. We eventually all left our seats on the banks of the sandy shore, plunging and splashing in the warm water. The first morning, we awoke to the soundtrack of birds chirping out melodies to the rustling of leaves in the canopy. As a day hike, we trekkked up a river bed to a gorgeous waterfall, spotting pineapple and banana plants, giant spiders, and a bat cave along the way. Nearing the waterfall, we worked together to climb over large boulders and wade through neck deep water; the giant pool and roaring echo of the waterfall rewarded us in the end. Unfortunately, that night, Claudia was still feeling ill, so she and Leah left to go to a clinic. We missed them both a lot throughout the duration of the trek, feeling the empty hole in our tight-knit group. The second day, we hiked with our packs, stopping for a long afternoon of swimming, a natural water slide, multiple waterfalls, and jumping from ledges into the deep green-blue pools below. The following day, we did another day hike up to a mirador (viewpoint). Rolling hills of Amazonian jungle stretched into the horizon. On the way back to camp, we spotted a family of auburn colored monkeys watching us from the treetops, gracefully swinging from branch to branch. In the morning, we left the forest, pausing to swing like Tarzan on a giant vine and take one last dip in a swimming hole. Before driving to Samaipata, we stopped at a tropical restaurant for lunch, all enjoying plates filled with armadillo meat, wild boar, and fried catfish. Late last night, we arrived at La Vispora, an eco lodge on an organic farm in Samaipata, Santa Cruz, for transference. Reuniting with Leah and Claudia, we were so glad to be a whole group again and hear that she is feeling a lot better.
We have gone "out to go in"; we have traveled to Bolivia to learn a different way of life, soak up our experiences, challenge ourselves, and form a strong community of amazingly unique people. Now it is time to digest it all and be able to take what we have learned back home. We have left the routine comfort of our normal lives and traveled all the way to Bolivia so that when we return, we may understand ourselves and our communities that much better. Sometimes you need to travel the world to learn about something as close as yourself and your own neighborhood. We are all excited to begin this process and can't wait for the next days of togetherness ahead.
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Amazon Trek and Transference

Rebecca Strull,Picture of the Week, Bolivia 6-week

Description

We had an awesome trek in the Amazon in Parque Amboro. Our days were filled with swimming, laughing, itching insect bites, excellent conversation, and new plants and animals. Driving into the forest, we waited several hours for some local people to build a road across a recently overflowing river. We eventually all left our seats […]

Posted On

08/5/14

Author

Rebecca Strull

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2014-08-04 11:23:21
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-04 17:23:21
    [post_content] => Dear Bolivia 6 Students & Families,

 

This weekend marks the end of our Bolivia (6 week) Summer program and students will soon be boarding their planes and return home to share their tales of adventure with each of you.  We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

 

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for your reference.  Starting on Saturday, 7/26, should you need any assistance during student travel days (outside of normal office hours), please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078, or email: update@wheretherebedragons.com. During office hours (M-F, 9:00am-5:00pm M.S.T.) please continue to use our parent line at:800-982-9203 ext. 130.

 Returning Flight: 

August 8th, 2014 

American Airlines #922

Depart: La Paz (LPB) 6:20am

Arrive: Miami (MIA) 4:10pm

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Bolivia 6-week

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Bolivia 6 Return Flight Reminder

Eva Vanek,Bolivia 6-week

Description

Dear Bolivia 6 Students & Families,   This weekend marks the end of our Bolivia (6 week) Summer program and students will soon be boarding their planes and return home to share their tales of adventure with each of you.  We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!   Below is a reminder of the return group […]

Posted On

08/4/14

Author

Eva Vanek

Category

Bolivia 6-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-01 08:51:38
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    [post_content] => Dear Friends and Family of the Bolivia-6 Team,

We just received an update from the Instructor Team that the group is doing well and in good spirits as they make their way along Parque Amboro.  The humid tropical jungles of the lowlands are a welcome relief to the higher elevations of the Andes, and the group has been enjoying the afternoon daytrips to local waterfalls, swimming holes, and excursions.

Stay tuned - the group has one more day of hiking and a day of transit.  On the evening of August 3rd, we look forward to more yak yaks and photos from the students about their trek!

Abrazos Fuertes,

Japhy Dhungana

Latin America Program Director

 
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Update from the Field – 2 More Days in Parque Amboro

Boulder Administration,Bolivia 6-week

Description

Dear Friends and Family of the Bolivia-6 Team, We just received an update from the Instructor Team that the group is doing well and in good spirits as they make their way along Parque Amboro.  The humid tropical jungles of the lowlands are a welcome relief to the higher elevations of the Andes, and the […]

Posted On

08/1/14

Author

Boulder Administration

Category

Bolivia 6-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-30 08:58:08
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    [post_content] => Our homestays have flown by , and some tears were shed tonight because we were all so sad to say goodbye. We are about to depart for the terminal and take an overnight bus to Buena Vista, about an hour outside of Santa Cruz. We will wake up tomorrow morning in a completely ecologically different place, filled with new plants, animals, and maybe some scary bugs! Tomorrow we will embark on our 5 day trek in Parque Amboró , and we are all excited to see what it has in store for us!

Hope all is well at home :)
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Bolivia 6-week

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On to Parque Amboro

The Gang,Bolivia 6-week

Description

Our homestays have flown by , and some tears were shed tonight because we were all so sad to say goodbye. We are about to depart for the terminal and take an overnight bus to Buena Vista, about an hour outside of Santa Cruz. We will wake up tomorrow morning in a completely ecologically different […]

Posted On

07/30/14

Author

The Gang

Category

Bolivia 6-week

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    [post_content] =>  
For the most part, it has been a comfortable transition into my homestay in Tiquipaya, Cochabamba. The uncomfortable moments have been over superficial things, such as having no idea how to wash clothes by hand, being the only light face at a town party, and struggling to convey something in Spanish.
The entire family lives along a dirt road in the neighborhood, Totor Kawa. There are a few buildings on their property, all of scratched walls and concrete floors. All day, a small television set hums under a communal awning, playing telenovelas and Hollywood movies dubbed over in Spanish. The houses form a sort of courtyard; laundry hangs on lines which criss cross over piles of dirt, gravel, and bricks below. Along one side of the courtyard, there are coops of chickens and guinea pigs. Additionally, the family owns two dogs and three cats, that either nap in the shade or wander around hunting for food scraps.
 
Currently, Doña Sandra, her husband, Richard, and their three kids live with the grandparents while Richard builds a new house in the backyard. Ian is the youngest, a wide eyed and curious one year old. Rosie, three years olds, laughs in a high pitched little voice when I swing her around by her arms. She was shy at first, but now craves attention. Danny is six years old and full of energy. He enjoys playing computer games and futbol. The family recently moved back to Bolivia after the parents spent a year working in a Chinese grocery store in Argentina. Both parents are hard workers, Doña Sandra taking care of the kids and selling vegetables in the city on Saturdays and Richard working around twelve hours a day on the new house. I have had a wonderful time playing with the kids and chatting with the parents in the evenings.
  At first, I wondered how I could feel comfortable in a family living under much more rugged conditions than my family in California. Their material poverty momentarily blurred my vision. However, I soon came to understand that my family in Totor Kawa is very rich, not in objects, but in happiness. They have proven to me that happiness and material wealth are completely unrelated.  I have felt so comfortable transitioning into my homestay because I feel  the same happiness and strength within my Bolivian family as I do with my family at home. [post_title] => Happiness in Totor Ka wa [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => happiness-totor-ka-wa [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-07-24 16:22:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-07-24 22:22:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=106811 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 152 [name] => Bolivia 6-week [slug] => bolivia-6-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 152 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 254 [count] => 63 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8.1 [cat_ID] => 152 [category_count] => 63 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bolivia 6-week [category_nicename] => bolivia-6-week [category_parent] => 254 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2014/bolivia-6-week/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 51 [name] => Homestay [slug] => homestay [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 51 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 488 [count] => 193 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 34.1 [cat_ID] => 51 [category_count] => 193 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Homestay [category_nicename] => homestay [category_parent] => 488 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/program-components/homestay/ ) ) [category_links] => Bolivia 6-week, Homestay )

Bolivia 6-week, Homestay

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Happiness in Totor Ka wa

Rebecca Strull,Bolivia 6-week, Homestay

Description

  For the most part, it has been a comfortable transition into my homestay in Tiquipaya, Cochabamba. The uncomfortable moments have been over superficial things, such as having no idea how to wash clothes by hand, being the only light face at a town party, and struggling to convey something in Spanish. The entire family […]

Posted On

07/24/14

Author

Rebecca Strull

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Here's a photo of our program house and some other shots from our travels! [post_title] => A photo essay - continued [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => photo-essay-continued [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-07-22 11:07:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-07-22 17:07:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=106551 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 30 [name] => Picture of the Week [slug] => picture-of-the-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 30 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 483 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 1 [cat_ID] => 30 [category_count] => 483 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Picture of the Week [category_nicename] => picture-of-the-week [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/picture-of-the-week/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 152 [name] => Bolivia 6-week [slug] => bolivia-6-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 152 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 254 [count] => 63 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8.1 [cat_ID] => 152 [category_count] => 63 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bolivia 6-week [category_nicename] => bolivia-6-week [category_parent] => 254 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2014/bolivia-6-week/ ) ) [category_links] => Picture of the Week, Bolivia 6-week )
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A photo essay – continued

Julianne Chandler,Picture of the Week, Bolivia 6-week

Description

Here’s a photo of our program house and some other shots from our travels!

Posted On

07/22/14

Author

Julianne Chandler

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-22 11:06:59
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-22 17:06:59
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Dear friends, We are approaching the half-way point in our course, and have been taking time to slow down and reflect back on our experiences thus far.  It has been a magical, challenging, exhilarating, and humbling journey.  Together, we have climbed above the clouds  towards glittering glaciers and 16, 500 ft. lakes. We have lived with Aymara families on the shores of Lake Titicaca, fished on the lake at dawn, and summited the arching contours of the Mountain of the Sleeping Dragon by the light of a full moon.  We have lost ourselves in the labyrinthine stalls of the largest black market on the South American continent, learned about urban arts movements flourishing against great odds, and explored the turbulent and vibrant history of the Bolivian people. Now, we are nestling into homestays in the semi-rural community of Tiquipaya, exploring the city of Cochabamba with our Spanish teachers, and delving into Independent Study Projects.  This afternoon we will split into small groups to explore a range of hands-on, contextual themes: Linda will be learning traditional weaving techniques in the Program House garden, Anthony and Lyla will be working on the organic farm that surrounds the house, Max and Rebecca will meet with a Quechua healer and spiritual leader, Cara will take on urban documentary photography with a local artist, and Nick, Emmaline and Claudia will learn to make a traditional Bolivian dish. We are enjoying the gentle rhythms of the Cochabamba country side, pick-up soccer games with our host community, and the moments of laughter and confusion within the fold of our homestay families. This past weekend, we arose before dawn to embark on a trek to Tunari, the nearly 17,000-foot peak that overlooks the city of Cochabamba.  After a night of heavy rain, we were initially apprehensive about the weather and wondered if we would need to cancel our excursion.  However, in the early hours of the morning the rain subsided and we awoke to a dusting of snow draped across the hills that surround the town of Tiquipaya.  As we ascended into the mountains, the agricultural patchwork of greens and browns gave way to the sparkling shimmer of snow, and we were soon enveloped in a magical world of white.  We spent the day trekking across this vast, enchanting wonderland of arching white mountains, alpine lakes, and snow-coated packs of llama and alpaca.  It was a stunning and powerful moment of reflection, group bonding, and overwhelming natural beauty. Next week, we will continue our journey to the clear rivers and tropical forests of Amboró National Park, where the students will be taking on increased ownership over the logistics and details of our course. As instructors, we have been humbled and moved by our group of joyful and introspective students and look forward to the adventures that still await us. Attached and in the following Yak Yak post you will find a selection of photos from our travels. Hugs and best wishes, Leah, Patrick, Pedro and Julianne [post_title] => Our journey so far: A Photo Essay [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => journey-far-photo-essay [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-07-22 11:06:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-07-22 17:06:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=106539 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 30 [name] => Picture of the Week [slug] => picture-of-the-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 30 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 483 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 1 [cat_ID] => 30 [category_count] => 483 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Picture of the Week [category_nicename] => picture-of-the-week [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/picture-of-the-week/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 152 [name] => Bolivia 6-week [slug] => bolivia-6-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 152 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 254 [count] => 63 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8.1 [cat_ID] => 152 [category_count] => 63 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Bolivia 6-week [category_nicename] => bolivia-6-week [category_parent] => 254 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2014/bolivia-6-week/ ) ) [category_links] => Picture of the Week, Bolivia 6-week )
View post

Our journey so far: A Photo Essay

Julianne Chandler,Picture of the Week, Bolivia 6-week

Description

Dear friends, We are approaching the half-way point in our course, and have been taking time to slow down and reflect back on our experiences thus far.  It has been a magical, challenging, exhilarating, and humbling journey.  Together, we have climbed above the clouds  towards glittering glaciers and 16, 500 ft. lakes. We have lived […]

Posted On

07/22/14

Author

Julianne Chandler

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-21 14:44:19
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    [post_content] => We are currently about half way through the course and our two week homestay.  My family is amazing, they are so accepting and have chosen to let me live in their house not because they are getting paid for if, but because they are interested, like me in each other´s lifestyle.  They are extremely accepting and kind.  The little daughter calls me her big brother and is always interested in having fun and chocolate.  The dad is a construction worker and is gone from 8 am to 8pm everyday except on the weekend, last Sunday we had a great guy chat in the back yard as he cut up a chicken for dinner that night. Last Saturday I didn't see the family because we were gone the whole day on a day hike up in the mountains surrounding the town.  The mom is the sweetest lady who is always worried about me when I take a cold shower and doesnt want me to get sick or when i get sun burnt and she thinks I have a fever and have to try to explain to her that it is a sunburn. the two boys in the family are 14 and 16 and we watch lots of english movies in spanish together.
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Bolivia 6-week

View post

An amazing and accepting family

nick sack,Bolivia 6-week

Description

We are currently about half way through the course and our two week homestay.  My family is amazing, they are so accepting and have chosen to let me live in their house not because they are getting paid for if, but because they are interested, like me in each other´s lifestyle.  They are extremely accepting […]

Posted On

07/21/14

Author

nick sack

Category

Bolivia 6-week

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