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Rwanda
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    [post_date] => 2014-08-09 08:25:58
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-09 14:25:58
    [post_content] => I woke up this morning (at 3:30am...thanks time zone difference) mildly distraught and severely disoriented. My ears searched around for the familiar sounds of my roommate Emmy or the faint East African rhythms coming from some nearby radio. Yet all I heard was the labored breathing of a cheap hotel's outdated air-conditioning unit. This morning I would not start my day with a  shower that consisted 30 seconds of boiling water and then 5 minutes of water imported from Antarctica. I would not walk out of my room and sit with my amazing instructor team to plan out our day over countless cups of Icyayi ch'amata. I would not see my wonderful, sleepy eyed students slowly trickle over to the breakfast table.  I was no longer in Africa. I was "home."

 

To the parents, friends and loved ones of our dear students,

Your Dragon is home! What a long six weeks its been for you. Getting the occasional Yak update or hastily written email that can't even begin to cover all the experiences your loved one is having. We thank you for your patience but we need to ask you for even more. Because despite the fact that your Dragon has returned home their adventure is not over. Actually, as cliche as it might sound, their adventure has only just begun.

Rwanda changes you. It changes you while you're there. It changes you in the days and weeks that follow. It changes you in the years that follow. Loved ones of our dear Dragons acknowledge and nurture this change. Ask deep questions that go beyond the "what was the food like?" but also give then space and time to process this epic adventure. And the last request I have is send them love from us, their instructor team, and let them know how unbelievably proud of them we are. Thank you for letting us steal your precious child/friend/loved one away for 6 life changing weeks this summer.

Sincerely,

Zack

 

To my Dragons family,

When I look back on our trip the first of so many memories that comes to mind is the 13 of us sitting on the shores of beautiful Lake Kivu. All of us looking up to the stars and sitting in blissful silence while we reflected on the concept of forgiveness. I am so impressed with each and every one of you in your own unique way. I hope we made it clear how proud of you all we are. Continue our meditative practices of sending love and positive energy to one another. I look forward to the day our paths cross again but if they do not I want you to know how thankful I am for the time we had together. Let's keep each other in our lives.

With much love and appreciation,

Zack

 
    [post_title] => The red dirt of Africa on New York City carpets
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Best Notes From The Field, Rwanda

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The red dirt of Africa on New York City carpets

Zack Siddall,Best Notes From The Field, Rwanda

Description

I woke up this morning (at 3:30am…thanks time zone difference) mildly distraught and severely disoriented. My ears searched around for the familiar sounds of my roommate Emmy or the faint East African rhythms coming from some nearby radio. Yet all I heard was the labored breathing of a cheap hotel’s outdated air-conditioning unit. This morning […]

Posted On

08/9/14

Author

Zack Siddall

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-08 09:08:49
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-08 15:08:49
    [post_content] => While sitting on a beautiful island in the middle of Lake Kivu the wind whipped around me and cooled my face from the touch of the mid morning sun. We each were holding a rock which had one of Dragons values written across it. Mine was awareness.

Awareness, to be alive both in mind and body. To listen to yourself, others and the places around you. To be in tune and clear and let go of the static of everyday life. I have never been more self aware than on this trip. There is something really special about being in such a beautiful place and how it has allowed me to really connect with myself. I have found in my travels over the past six weeks while I have been in amazing places that are so different to what I know at home and in places where I have connected to the untouched beauty of Rwanda, I have opened up and gotten to know myself. I have found peace.

In my personal awareness I have found deep serenity and I have really been able to soak up the splendors of Rwanda's beauty because my body has been like a blank slate, ready to absorb, soar and discover. I was so happy I picked up the rock that said awareness because I could not think of a better word to describe how I felt on this trip. Aware. Filled with deep awareness. I have really come into myself and have found a deep sense of self love and appreciation through the adventures we have had and the people I have taken them on with. I have found self love and appreciation of the country I have spent the last week in and the people around me. This course has opened my eyes to greater wonders that my body and mind have taken on with eagerness to learn and for this I am both grateful and proud.  As we are getting ready to leave Rwanda I look back on this trip as a fantastical time of self discovery. I'm so happy to get home and apply this new sense of awareness and crave for adventure in my everyday life.
    [post_title] => Awareness at Lake Kivu
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Rwanda

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Awareness at Lake Kivu

Roni Callahan,Rwanda

Description

While sitting on a beautiful island in the middle of Lake Kivu the wind whipped around me and cooled my face from the touch of the mid morning sun. We each were holding a rock which had one of Dragons values written across it. Mine was awareness. Awareness, to be alive both in mind and body. […]

Posted On

08/8/14

Author

Roni Callahan

Category

Rwanda

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    [post_content] => ♫♫♫……♪♪   ♪…………..

 

♪♪ ♪…

Warm greetings from Kigali!!!

We would like to update our friends and families about the group flight. Yuan Yuan Kelly and Xi Xi arrived safely in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) while  a little while ago (8:35pm Kigali time) the rest  the group  started the first leg to Amsterdam (Netherlands). We would like to with them pleasant flights back home.

Rwanda misses you already!
    [post_title] => Tell the world…..I am coming    ♪♪   ♪… I am coming home  ♩♩♩
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Tell the world…..I am coming    ♪♪   ♪… I am coming home  ♩♩♩

Emmanuel Dukundane,Rwanda

Description

♫♫♫……♪♪   ♪…………..   ♪♪ ♪… Warm greetings from Kigali!!! We would like to update our friends and families about the group flight. Yuan Yuan Kelly and Xi Xi arrived safely in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) while  a little while ago (8:35pm Kigali time) the rest  the group  started the first leg to Amsterdam (Netherlands). We would […]

Posted On

08/7/14

Author

Emmanuel Dukundane

Category

Rwanda

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-04 11:26:47
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    [post_content] => Dear Rwanda Students & Families,

This weekend marks the end of our Rwanda 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 7th, 2014 

Delta Airlines #9318

Depart: Kigali (KGL) 8:25pm

Arrive: Amsterdam (AMS) 6:55am (Aug 8th)

August 8th, 2014 

Delta Airlines #9641

Depart: Amsterdam (AMS) 8:30am

Arrive: London –Heathrow (LHR) 9:00am

August 8th, 2014 

Delta Airlines #002

Depart: London –Heathrow (LHR) 11:30am

Arrive: New York (JFK) 2:30pm

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Rwanda

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Rwanda Return Flight Reminder

Boulder Administration,Rwanda

Description

Dear Rwanda Students & Families, This weekend marks the end of our Rwanda 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 […]

Posted On

08/4/14

Author

Boulder Administration

Category

Rwanda

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2014-08-04 09:48:20
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-04 15:48:20
    [post_content] => I awoke the first morning to a ruckus that seemed pretty distinctive, but couldn't quite put it into context. I opened the door and found myself staring at three young'ens that had no idea I was even there. As they stared back at me we stood in silence that ended in me laughing at the situation. After I broke the silence them young'ens starting laughing as well, and it was a quick meet and greet. We sat for a while in the quadrangle of the home and just recieved and gave fist pumps and high-fives for a solid 30 minutes. After a while I remembered all the cheap sunglasses my grandpa made me bring for gifts, and me seeing three cute young'ens, I couldn't resist but give them each a pair. The glasses ended up being to big for them of course, but they were the cutest little kids I've ever met. However, this is where my Yak gets interesting. Around lunch time I began heading home to my home stay with some friends from the group. Earlier, I had told them about these really crazy kids that woke me up that morning and in response I gave them sunglasses... Well as we were walking towards my home all the sudden I see one of the kids who was wearing the glasses running along side us and instantly felt like a proud Santa. That moment was the beginning of a relationship that will last a lifetime.
His name is Valentin, but I call him sunglasses for an obvious reason. All week Valentin would walk me to where our group would meet every morning and after lunch time. However, being so young, I was amazed of how he could find me. No matter where we were at in the village, sunglasses would see me and gently place his hand into mine and walk with me without saying a word. In fact I don't think he ever said a word, and that's why I loved him so much. He reminded me of another relationship I have with someone, Jesus Christ. I don't need to say anything, prove myself, or show myself worthy. All I need is my relationship with Christ and everything else in life will fall into play. I'm so happy to have gotten the chance to bond with Valentin because he wasn't like the others who would stare at us like zoo animals. He would literally sit with me and never say anything or look at me. He just loved my presence and I loved his as well. I'm going to miss him greatly, but I know our bond will last forever. He taught me something and never said anything which is something that really got me going mentally. He will forever hold a memory in me and one day I hope to thank him for never saying a word, but enjoying the presence of a friend.
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Rwanda

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Sunglasses

Tanner Winters,Rwanda

Description

I awoke the first morning to a ruckus that seemed pretty distinctive, but couldn’t quite put it into context. I opened the door and found myself staring at three young’ens that had no idea I was even there. As they stared back at me we stood in silence that ended in me laughing at the […]

Posted On

08/4/14

Author

Tanner Winters

Category

Rwanda

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-31 11:30:10
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    [post_content] => My rural home-stay has been quite the experience. From dealing with all the small, curious children who swarm towards you whenever you go outside to the abundance of farm animals everywhere. The living conditions are different here. The houses are not made from typical materials and there is minimal lighting. The stars are quite lovely here as there is little to no light pollution. Here is a poem describing my first impressions of the village (I don't know how to spell the name).

Five Days, Five Nights

Ah, the village life.

How perplexing it is

to the city boy

who knows not the sound

of hens, goats, or cows,

but the sound

of business, cars, and

industrial ambience.
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Rwanda

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Life in a Rural Village

Justice Park,Rwanda

Description

My rural home-stay has been quite the experience. From dealing with all the small, curious children who swarm towards you whenever you go outside to the abundance of farm animals everywhere. The living conditions are different here. The houses are not made from typical materials and there is minimal lighting. The stars are quite lovely […]

Posted On

07/31/14

Author

Justice Park

Category

Rwanda

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2014-07-31 11:29:26
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-31 17:29:26
    [post_content] => The little northern village of Cyenkwanzi has no running water. There are no cars, most houses are made of cement and have few rooms. Most people would categorize the village of Cyenkwanzi as "poor". But when you walk down the streets of Cyenkwanzi the children run out of their houses and hold your hands. The shout greetings in their high pitched voices. When you walk into the shops of Cyenkwanzi, the owners greet you with a warm handshake and smile, and a greeting of either, "Mwaramutse", "Muraho" or "Mwiriwe". The chlidren of Cyenkwazi run down the streets with tires and sticks, chasing each other around. Adults walk down the street and greet everyone they see. Elders sit and stand in front of houses watching over the village.

It all depends on your perception of wealth, whether it is material or emotional. In the village of Cyenkwanzi, in all of Rwanda emotional wealth is what matters most. A pineapple, a million pineapples, are just that unless you share them, as I did with the four daughters and son of my homestay family. Drawing a hopscotch in thew dirt may not sound like much, but when you teach the game to thirty children who have never seen it before, it becomes so much more. A bunch of rags can easily turn into a soccer ball if you know how to use it right.

Life in Rwanda has taught me that wealth cannot be measured in the number of cars you own or how much money is in your wallet right now. Wealth has to measured in the number of times you've laughed today and the amount of sweat on your brow (or back from carrying your backpack around all day). Wealth is measured in the amount of dirt on your shoes and in the weight you carry from the memories and souvenirs you've collected along the way.

If you measure wealth in these ways, like I do, then you understand when I say the people of Cyenkwanzi are the richest people in the world.
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Rwanda

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Riches

Pauline Seibert,Rwanda

Description

The little northern village of Cyenkwanzi has no running water. There are no cars, most houses are made of cement and have few rooms. Most people would categorize the village of Cyenkwanzi as “poor”. But when you walk down the streets of Cyenkwanzi the children run out of their houses and hold your hands. The […]

Posted On

07/31/14

Author

Pauline Seibert

Category

Rwanda

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 107417
    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2014-07-30 09:41:16
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-30 15:41:16
    [post_content] => At the beginning of this course we were all asked to pick a subject for an independent study project, or ISP. The options were endless, but I chose basket weaving--I figured I could put my ten years at Waldorf school (an artistic and liberal environment with a dash of pretentious hippie, for those of you who aren't familiar) to good use. Besides online research I was able to do in some of our previous locations I had yet to really begin my project before today. I went into the situation a bit stressed out, full of questions, and unsure how I was supposed to learn this traditional art in three days, let alone give a presentation on it next week.

My worries immediately subsided when I met the woman (I'm not even going to try to spell her name) who was there to teach me. She walked into our meeting area calmly and quietly, sat down and took out all of her materials and began her methodical stitching. It was clear that anyone was welcome to join her, but she looked content in her own work and observing the pottery lesson that had started. Reluctantly I walked up to her and introduced myself using the minimal Kinyarwanda I know, which received the usual chuckle and nod. Soon enough she had set down her own partially finished basket and she was starting one for me--she speaks no English and I speak no Kinyarwanda, for all intents and purposes, but somehow she guided me through the steps and I was weaving my own lopsided basket in no time. Now, I'm not going to glorify the experience--I pricked my fingers more times than I care to admit; my stitches were not evenly spaced, to put in mildly; and I was internally cursing the fact that the invention of the thimble had yet to hit Cyenkwanzi, Rwanda. Over the course of the afternoon she patiently taught me via nods and experienced hands, which would interrupt my work to point out subtle corrections every so often.

This afternoon I had the opportunity to meet with her again, and despite only having met the day before we fell into our rhythm. She sat down and took out her work, I did the same, and there we sat for the next three hours. I'm glad to report that her corrections became more sporadic as did the pricks to my fingers. Sadly, I must also report that my basket remains drastically uneven. I'm already looking forward to the group lesson tomorrow, partially for the activity itself, but more so for the absolute calm she brings to her work and the precision and expertise she has cultivated over the past twenty plus years. I don't tend to believe in fate, but if I did I would credit my seemingly random ISP choice to it. Watching as she created something so beautiful out of straw and shredded rise sacks with such patience and concentration and watching her dedication to her work was exactly what I needed to see as I prepare to enter my first year of college when I return home. I hope to become as dedicated to something in my lifetime, though at this point I'm fairly sure it won't be basket weaving.
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Rwanda, Internships and Independent Study Projects

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Basket Weaving

Emma Caulfield,Rwanda, Internships and Independent Study Projects

Description

At the beginning of this course we were all asked to pick a subject for an independent study project, or ISP. The options were endless, but I chose basket weaving–I figured I could put my ten years at Waldorf school (an artistic and liberal environment with a dash of pretentious hippie, for those of you […]

Posted On

07/30/14

Author

Emma Caulfield

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    [post_content] => On Saturday, July 26, we were fortunate enough to bear witness to two different sides of a conflict which resonates worldwide. Refugees struggle internationally with meeting their basic needs, conflict in their countries, exclusion from life in their current places of residence, and faded hopes for a peaceful return home. We met in the morning with a representative from the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) and in the afternoon with the english-speaking Congolese refugees who live in Gihembe Camp, just outside of Byumba. Hearing two different perspectives on the refugees' daily living conditions was very interesting. During our meeting with Sibu, the UNHCR's Community Service Coordinator, he described the same problems that the refugees later listed, including lack of enough water and money for food each month, too much unoccupied time, unemployment, vandalism, and youth deliquency. The UNHCR Byumba office administers aid to two camps, one of which is Gihembe, and they do as much as possible with their limited funds to help the refugees. They recognize that these problems need longer-term solutions, but they only have so many resources, and other aid agencies are needed in order to fully meet camp needs.
The refugees themselves face the dilemma of wanting peace in their own country and wanting to go back as soon as it is secure enough to do so, and also wanting to be relocated to the United States, where they can get jobs and have a much better life than in the camp. Talking with the refugees was so eye-opening for so many reasons. They are so optimistic in the way that they face everyday life, and so hopeful that one day they will be able to return to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They practice English in the hopes of getting better jobs both within and outside the camp as teachers, ministers, and tech administrators. They were also very candid about the problems they face in the camp, where most of them have been for over 17 years.
Hearing about these issues made me want to continue my contact with the UN, its aid missions, and Congolese refugees who are relocated to the U.S. There are many Congolese who are resettled in my home city, Nashville, TN, and I would love to work with them as a volunteer helping with english skills, job-seeking, and cultural introduction. Working for the UN is something I may want to do one day, and seeing its aid programs in action was a blessing for two reasons. First, it showed me what a tangible effect it can have in the lives of so many, and second, it showed me how much is still to be improved, and made me want to contribute my own skills and knowledge to making its aid go even further.
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Rwanda

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Refugee Perspectives

Anna LeBleu,Rwanda

Description

On Saturday, July 26, we were fortunate enough to bear witness to two different sides of a conflict which resonates worldwide. Refugees struggle internationally with meeting their basic needs, conflict in their countries, exclusion from life in their current places of residence, and faded hopes for a peaceful return home. We met in the morning […]

Posted On

07/28/14

Author

Anna LeBleu

Category

Rwanda

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    [post_title] => Friendship in the Field
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Friendship in the Field

Charla Harvey,Picture of the Week, Rwanda

Description

Posted On

07/26/14

Author

Charla Harvey

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