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Guatemala 6-week
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    [post_content] => May 20, 2014

Hello everyone from the highlands in Guatemaya !

Allow me to introduce myself to you all here on the Yak board to begin our journey together. My name is Erick Torres and I am really excited to be one of your instructors on the Guatemala Summer Program.

I am looking forward to being your host in my country, Guatemala- a colorful, kind and very special place, full of biodiversity, amazing landscapes, rich in ancestral cultures, delicious food and an interesting mix of religions. As a person who loves to travel, I have been exploring my country since living in my hometown in Guatemala City. I lived the "modern" life style, surrounded by technology and contemporary art. Later, I explored some small rural communities that taught me a lot about my roots, history and how the indigenous Maya people have been holding their traditions and beliefs - many things that make this country a place to know before you die.

I grew up with a big family of six brothers, one sister, mom and dad. I studied Publicity in San Carlos college where I found my love for Graphic Design and Photography. After 3 years in college, living and working in Guatemala City, developing a very "city" lifestyle, I started to become interested in traveling more and getting to know the countryside of Guatemala.  I started my journey  in one of my favorite places in Guatemala, Atitlan Lake - in the mountains of Panajachel, a place where I met wonderful people from many other countries who were working in environmental and artistic movements. In this place I started to learn more about myself - I started to develop my interests and passions, like nature, different cultures, cooking and arts. I also discovered that we are the only ones who can transform our reality, and that life gives you what you give to it. A friend of mine from Brazil gave me a book called HAPPYNESS of OSHO, an Indian spiritual guide who changed my mind little by little. Since then I have become more open minded and sensitive to the world that surrounds us, to enjoy every minute of my life and to be more self-sufficient.

After living in Panajachel, I returned to the city to live with my family again, but this time I was full of new ideas and a new perspective of life. I started to be involved in recycling and environmental projects and to experiment with art. Some months after practicing art and recycling in my house with some friends I created a Collective for my own and I started to share my ideas in a small school in a community close to my home town. My family was shocked due to my change of attitude and the kind of job that I had at this time. When I started with this Collective many opportunities came to me to work in this area. A year after working in that school I had the opportunity to go to Norway to participate in a youth camp where I met with people from all over the world. After this camp, I went to Tanzania, Africa to  create my Recycling and art project in a small community. It was all that I was looking for-traveling and sharing the message that another type of life is possible - not just the "western" lifestyle - to be more conscientious about the problems that are affecting all the people around the world, like the disconnection of the people with nature and ancestral roots, consumerism, pollution and individualism. I had the chance to learn a basic Swahilli language and to live with a Tanzanian family. This experience made me value all commodities I have in my home - water to drink, electricity and many options of food.  My host family was limited in a lot of aspects - everyone in the house had a bucket of water to take a shower every week because the source of water was 20 minutes from our house, we were cooking just with firewood in a small kitchen made by three stones, firewood and a pot. Rather than miss the commodities in my home I realized that we human beings do not need to expend too much energy and resources to live besides what nature provides us. I think that this reality made it more possible for them to be connected with nature, to care for the resources and to live happy with small and simple things - not caring if they were poor or rich, just living and respecting our environment, the people and the cultures.

After my experience in Tanzania, I felt I was more empowered and in some way that experience gave me the sense of my life. Back in Guatemala I continued promoting art and recycling in some Kaqchikel communities in Chimaltenango. I went to San Lucas Sacatepequez and Guatemala City to make workshops with some friends and to continue learning from new people that I met in 2012. During this year I developed an interest in how to grow food in small spaces. I started a food garden in my house,  experimenting and trying to create something useful with recycled material that I found in my house. While researching, I found Permaculture, which blew my mind! The philosophy of permaculture made so much sense for me and I started to research and learn more and more about it. In the end of 2012 I found an Institute of Permaculture in Atitlan Lake called IMAP. When I saw their volunteer program I didn't think twice to contact them and learn more- it was just perfect to find a place in Guatemala and in the Lake to learn permaculture. At the beginning of 2013 I moved to IMAP in San Lucas Toliman to work as a volunteer, a month later they offered me to work as a School Gardens Project coordinator in a small community school where almost 75 percent of the people spoke just Kakqchikel. That was amazing for me, that a community still held a lot of the Mayan traditions and culture. So I started to learn how to grow food at the same time that I was teaching the kids how to do it. It was a big challenge but a very good way to learn too. I became the volunteer coordinator of IMAP too, and that opportunity gave me the chance to meet a lot of people working in permaculture, from Guatemala and from all over the world. I felt like the universe was putting everything all together to make my wishes and dreams come true. Little by little I learned more about permaculture- I took several courses during this year about organic ways to grow food, native and heirloom seeds, native and nutritious foods, permaculture design and ancestral knowledge. My eyes were opened to how wise the indigenous people are and how smart and powerful the Maya culture is. In this Institute of Permaculture I met Dragons students and instructors.  I shared with them some tours and some issues of Permaculture, and they invited me to apply for this job. More than a job, working with Dragons seemed like a good opportunity to meet wonderful people from North America and all over the world, all united by one goal - to create a more conscious global community in order to have a better future and a better place to live now and for the next generations. I am so grateful to have this chance to take a trip in my own country with you guys, leaning from the amazing Maya culture and the Guatemalan people, who have a lot to teach and share with us.

See you soon in this exciting program that will be here before you know it!

Hasta pronto !
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Greetings from the highlands in Guatemaya

Erick Daniel Torres Chavez,Guatemala 6-week

Description

May 20, 2014 Hello everyone from the highlands in Guatemaya ! Allow me to introduce myself to you all here on the Yak board to begin our journey together. My name is Erick Torres and I am really excited to be one of your instructors on the Guatemala Summer Program. I am looking forward to being your host in […]

Posted On

05/23/14

Author

Erick Daniel Torres Chavez

Category

Guatemala 6-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-05-21 11:59:06
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    [post_content] => Travelers of the Land of Eternal Spring,

Bienvenidos! We are about to embark on a grand journey together. At this moment, we are all separated in our separate homes, our separate lives. Soon, we will meet in Miami to spend six weeks learning and growing as a group as we travel together through the cities, mountains and tiny pueblos of Guatemala.

I am honored to be one of your three instructors. I am excited to aid you as you master Spanish and watch you as you put it to use learning from many people we meet along our journey. I will push you to grapple with questions that have no right answers, and give you your time to sit with them. Most importantly, I look forward to getting to know you, to understand where you come from and why you chose to take up this long walkabout through one of the most beautiful countries in Central America.

A bit about how I came to Dragons: I grew up in rural New Hampshire in a big family of loud, tall people. Before beginning college, I chose to take a gap year living in Istanbul, Turkey. I returned to the United States to study International Development and Social Change at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and spent my junior year abroad in the Dominican Republic. It was after I helped to create a youth group for teens in Santiago, DR, that I really began to narrow my studies toward a focus on youth development. In graduate school, I explored the intersections between environmental education, youth groups and immigration. I traveled to Guatemala to complete master's research on methods of evaluation for an environmentally-focused community organization based in the mountains surrounding Xela. The last year has found me traveling through Mexico and Peru, as well as leading wilderness trips for youth in rural Maine and New Hampshire.

I strongly believe that whatever I learn and do must be accompanied by time to play. I love to draw, to dress up in costumes and play pranks on my friends, to have dance parties in my kitchen, to play pond hockey and jump in lakes early in the morning. I enjoy putting myself in situations where I can be scraped down to my real core so that I can build myself into someone better.

So, in these last weeks before we meet, I hope you spend time thinking about what parts of you are essential for this next step. I challenge you to decide which parts of yourself you want to celebrate during our journey as well as what aspects of yourself you would like to leave behind. I challenge you to view this experience as something unimaginable that you will receive, and consider what you can offer in return. If you have any questions, please write!

Congratulations on choosing to take up your walking stick. I look forward to meeting what comes with humility and hard-working hands.

Abrazos,

Lila
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Bienvenidos

Lila Trowbridge,Guatemala 6-week

Description

Travelers of the Land of Eternal Spring, Bienvenidos! We are about to embark on a grand journey together. At this moment, we are all separated in our separate homes, our separate lives. Soon, we will meet in Miami to spend six weeks learning and growing as a group as we travel together through the cities, […]

Posted On

05/21/14

Author

Lila Trowbridge

Category

Guatemala 6-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-05-21 11:56:37
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    [post_content] => Bienvenidos!
 
Hello dear students,
 
Rush of excitement wells up I sit down to write this letter to you. In this moment, I find myself in Indonesia, on a four-floor ferry crossing the strait of Lombok to the island of Bali. I took this slow boat so that I could spend the next couple of hours with you all. After five years of living a nomadic life, finding a moment to slow down, to reflect, is truly a gift.
 
In many ways, returning to Guatemala this summer is a homecoming. It is by the sacred Lago Atitlan four years ago, I first encountered and guided a Dragons group. I was volunteering as a hiking guide back then. Taking clients to hike volcanoes and the Cuchumatanes mountain range was my weekly duties. The Todos Santos to Nebaj multi-day trek was my baby and I cannot wait to introduce you all to the families along the path. The photo you see here is my family in Todos Santos from 2010. They don't smile much in photos but my memory is filled with us laughing together in the living room.
 
To tell you about myself is to share with you the different elements of Guatemala. In the jungles I rescued animals from illegal trafficking, in the mountains I climbed to the top of Central America eight times and by the lake I became a yoga teacher and studied holistic healing. For more than a year, Guatemala was my home and supported my growth as a person. The people here are kind, wise, and incredible hosts. It is no surprise then that I will be the first person to vouch that you have chosen the right classroom for your own personal development.
 
My goal as a Course Director is to create a course that is safe, challenging, inspirational, and allows space for your own personal growth and learning. My hope is that your time in Guatemala will be an impactful experience; that you will leave the country feeling as though you have made meaningful connections with individuals, communities and yourself. This summer you will not be asked to learn facts about Guatemala, but rather to think deeply about concepts, and what they mean in your life. Your time in Guatemala will offer deep cultural and language immersion into rural Guatemala. Your Spanish is going to improve a ton! Part of living in a new culture also entails taking a step back and assessing our own perspectives and beliefs, as a way of processing the intricacies of different worldviews and how they come to be. We will spend lots of time off the beaten path in communities where we will engage with locals on topics of development, work with grassroots organizations, study Spanish, get to know our homestay families, and explore the natural world, and the Mayan cosmovision. Alongside these experiences we will have lessons, and facilitate discussions that will give you an understanding of how global issues affect local communities. We will discuss topics including permaculture, history of the war, education, social justice, immigration, etc.
 
For us at Dragons, it is not only important that you have a meaningful learning experience in relation to Guatemala, but also that you develop leadership skills. One of our goals is also to create space for all of our students to discover and reach their full potential as leaders. We will serve as your mentors, teachers and facilitators. This trip is not about being guided around Guatemala, but rather asks that you take ownership over your experience, and being part of your surroundings rather than watching them from the outside. Right now your "Guate 6" instructor team of Lila, Erick and myself are working to create an itinerary that offers opportunities for you to step up as leaders and take a lead over certain aspects of the course both personally and as a student group. I am very excited to be a part of this process with you this summer!
 
In the coming weeks leading up to your departure, please keep checking in daily on our group's Yak Yak page. Better yet, why not bookmark it right now. Please write an intro (with a photo of your lovely self) and share anything you like here. Think of it as your new Facebook for the rest of the summer. Because soon enough we will be closer than family. Share this link with your family and friends, so that they could come along on this journey of a life time. If you are a parent, family member, friends, you could write here too! We'd love to hear from you. Your student needs your support.
 
Please do make the best use of this time before the official start of our course. Relax, you've had a long semester at school. Spend time with your loved ones, you might miss them on the road. Prepare, this is how you begin to take ownership of the course, your course.
  • Course Preparation Manual: Get all your gears ready and if you are not sure on something, please post your question here.
  • Course Reader: Start browsing through it. If certain articles catch your interest or if you like to start a discussion of a topic, please take the initiative to get all of us involved.
  • Current events: Read about what is happening in Guatemala.
  • Spanish: some last minute tune up?
If it has not caught your attention up until now, allow me to share with you what I believe to be the best thing about a Dragons course. You are free to be yourself! No no. I am not talking about who you are at home or who you have been. You get to be who you want to be, who you are in essence. You can leave all your worries and patterns at home and be embraced into a group of people who are ready to go on an adventure with you, as you are. This is your course. We have six-weeks together to create magic. Shall we? If President Obama could speak Spanish, he would say to us, "Si se puede!" One love, Jacky jackysunchaser@gmail.com [post_title] => Course Director Intro: Then and Now [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => course-director-intro-now [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-03 10:03:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-03 17:03:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=101316 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 150 [name] => Guatemala 6-week [slug] => guatemala-6-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 150 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 254 [count] => 144 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8.1 [cat_ID] => 150 [category_count] => 144 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Guatemala 6-week [category_nicename] => guatemala-6-week [category_parent] => 254 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2014/guatemala-6-week/ ) ) [category_links] => Guatemala 6-week )
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Course Director Intro: Then and Now

Jacky Li,Guatemala 6-week

Description

Bienvenidos! Hello dear students, Rush of excitement wells up I sit down to write this letter to you. In this moment, I find myself in Indonesia, on a four-floor ferry crossing the strait of Lombok to the island of Bali. I took this slow boat so that I could spend the next couple of hours […]

Posted On

05/21/14

Author

Jacky Li

Category

Guatemala 6-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-05-14 13:49:39
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To all Summer 2014 Participants:
It’s great to see all the yak boards coming alive! This is a very exciting time of year for all of us, and while we know that you are anxious to meet your traveling companions, we have a request for you: please don’t direct your fellow travelers to social-networking sites (e.g., Facebook) before the course. Let us explain: our interest is to provide you with the best experience possible, and over the past 22 years, we have learned that that you will get the most out of your Dragons program if you’re able to make fresh introductions on the day that your course begins. We welcome you to introduce yourself here, and we hope that you will use this site to voice your goals and ideas for this summer’s course and to begin forming a group culture. But we’d like to avoid students forming any sort of “cliques” online before even departing on this program. We certainly know that you can all find each other on Facebook quite easily, and while we cannot (and don’t want to) forbid such networking, we encourage you to abstain from doing so and invite you to show up to meet your group in June without pre-judgment and with a willingness to expose yourself to everything new, different, wild and other. We wish you the best as you prepare for this summer’s adventures! 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Social Networking: A Request from WTBD

Dragons Administration,Bolivia 4-week, Indonesia 6-week, Cambodia 4-week, China Comprehensive 4-week, China Internship, China Language 4-week A, China Language 4-week B, China Language 6-week, Guatemala 4-week A, Guatemala 4-week B, Guatemala 6-week, Bolivia 6-week, Laos 4-week, Jordan 4-week, Myanmar 4-week, Nepal 4-week, Nicaragua 4-week, North India 4-week, North India 6-week, Peru 4-week, Rwanda, Senegal 4-week, Silk Road 6-week, Thailand 4-week

Description

To all Summer 2014 Participants: It’s great to see all the yak boards coming alive! This is a very exciting time of year for all of us, and while we know that you are anxious to meet your traveling companions, we have a request for you: please don’t direct your fellow travelers to social-networking sites […]

Posted On

05/14/14

Author

Dragons Administration

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