Photo of the Week
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2016-08-08 10:37:01
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-08 16:37:01
    [post_content] => With great aplomb, I am happy to report that the Nicaragua summer course has come to a close! The students have returned safely to the US and they are currently clearing customs and immigration. Don't hesitate to reach out to us at the office (303.413.0822)if any needs come up.

Thanks,

Justin
    [post_title] => Arrival in Miami
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SUMMER: Nicaragua

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Arrival in Miami

Justin Kiersky,SUMMER: Nicaragua

Description

With great aplomb, I am happy to report that the Nicaragua summer course has come to a close! The students have returned safely to the US and they are currently clearing customs and immigration. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the office (303.413.0822)if any needs come up. Thanks, Justin

Posted On

08/8/16

Author

Justin Kiersky

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2016-08-08 08:08:14
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    [post_content] => Students have boarded their flight from Nicaragua back home. For the most up-to-date flight information, please refer to flightaware.com. We'll post another Field Note when they arrive in Miami.

Best,

Justin
    [post_title] => Flight Departure
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Flight Departure

iTeam,SUMMER: Nicaragua

Description

Students have boarded their flight from Nicaragua back home. For the most up-to-date flight information, please refer to flightaware.com. We’ll post another Field Note when they arrive in Miami. Best, Justin

Posted On

08/8/16

Author

iTeam

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    [post_date] => 2016-08-07 19:22:14
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    [post_content] => 
When I committed to this trip, I had vague expectations of what was in store. I expected a lot of Spanish, a homestay, and rice and beans. I also expected heat, infected water, and unsafe food. I had an idea of the curriculum and a flawed idea of the type of people I'd be traveling with.
None of my expectations were remotely close to the reality of this trip. Even my first impression of everyone wasn't accurate. On the second day of the trip, we wrote a note to ourselves to read at the end of the trip and we read them yesterday morning. I wrote mine on what I thought of all my fellow travelers at the time. This has changed dramatically over the course of the trip. In the beginning of the trip, we began to grow closer through card games and late night discussions. We learned about each other's backgrounds and personalities.
IMG_2312
Halfway through the trip, we started telling life stories after dark by candlelight. Each person shared their story and opened up in their own way over the past two weeks. I never expected that the majority of us would have separated parents, or even that most of us wouldn't have cable. But statistics could never capture all our unique traits, subtleties, and life experiences that make us who we are.
This has been the longest amount of time I've lived with a group of people other than my family, and they have become a second faua mily to me. We've connected through shared moments and bonded over the challenges we've overcome.
During our morning meeting today, we were asked what we'll miss most about Nicaragua and everyone mentioned the friends we have made, both in the group and from the communities we've visited. Every experience and connection I have made here, especially with my group members, has profoundly impacted me in ways I'm not sure I'll ever fully realize.
IMG_2304
The Where There Be Dragons Summer 2016 Nicaragua: Community in Action Course has been an adventure that we'll never forget.
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Final Field Note

Jordan Park,SUMMER: Nicaragua

Description

When I committed to this trip, I had vague expectations of what was in store. I expected a lot of Spanish, a homestay, and rice and beans. I also expected heat, infected water, and unsafe food. I had an idea of the curriculum and a flawed idea of the type of people I’d be traveling […]

Posted On

08/7/16

Author

Jordan Park

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Saturday, August 6th, 2016
Dear friends and family,
This past week at the Bona Fide Farm has been exhausting but super interesting. The farm is former cattle land that is being revitalized as a sustainable farm. It is located on a dormant volcano on the island of Ometepe in the middle of a lake. Solar panels generate electricity in the kitchen, but there is no power anywhere else in the farm, including our living space. We sleep in an area with twelve beds under a roof.
Every morning, we've woken up before 5:30 to work on the farm--two hours before breakfast and two hours afterwards. Farm chores vary from planting trees in the field to bagging dirt and watering baby plants in the nursery to helping prepare breakfast and lunch with the head chefs. We work with volunteers, staff from the United States, and local staff. It's been a great opportunity to learn about how a farm works and practice our Spanish.
After meeting as a group and eating lunch, we've had some free time and then done some really fun activities in the afternoon. This week we have been introduced to permaculture, learned to make chocolate and enchiladas from scratch, and visited an amazing beach.
The beach we went to Thursday was one of the most incredible beaches I have ever visited. It was a sand beach in between both volcanoes on the island. We could see the Nicaragua mainland in the distance, an active volcano to our left, and a dormant volcano to our right. The view was awesome no matter which way we looked. When we went in the water, it was warmer than a pool and knee deep for over a hundred yards. As we got deeper, there were little fish in the murky water that bit some of my fellow travelers and forced them out of the lake. Before we left, we watched the sun set over the volcano.
Today, we walked to the town and learned to make baskets. The man who taught us is the only basket weaver on the island and has been doing it for decades. We started with four pieces of wood and some pliable wood that resembled string and started weaving it in a flat circle. Then we added four more pieces and began to fold it upwards to make the basket shape. Everyone's basket ended up a little different because we each used different angles and shapes to build the basket. After that, we went to one of the chefs house because she had invited us all there for dinner. Marina is an amazing cook and we were grateful she opened up her house to us and made us a delicious dinner. We really enjoyed our last day on the island.
Overall, we've had a great experience on the farm. It's been physically challenging and opened our minds a lot. We're sad that the trip is coming to an end, but we're excited to come home to enjoy the rest of our summers.
Sincerely,
Jordan
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Second to Last Field Note

Jordan Park,SUMMER: Nicaragua

Description

Saturday, August 6th, 2016 Dear friends and family, This past week at the Bona Fide Farm has been exhausting but super interesting. The farm is former cattle land that is being revitalized as a sustainable farm. It is located on a dormant volcano on the island of Ometepe in the middle of a lake. Solar […]

Posted On

08/7/16

Author

Jordan Park

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    [post_date] => 2016-08-05 14:06:10
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    [post_content] => Abby and Jordan collecting neem seeds on Bona Fide Farm above Lake Ometepe.
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View post

Bona Fide Farm

Chelsea Muir,SUMMER: Nicaragua

Description

Abby and Jordan collecting neem seeds on Bona Fide Farm above Lake Ometepe.

Posted On

08/5/16

Author

Chelsea Muir

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2016-08-04 17:24:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-04 23:24:12
    [post_content] => Dear Nicaragua Students & Families,

Nicaragua summer program students will soon be boarding their planes to return home and 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:

August 8, 2016

American Airlines #994

Depart: Managua (MGA) 7:00 AM

Arrive: Miami (MIA) 11:36 AM

Should you need any assistance during student travel days, please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078, or email: update@wheretherebedragons.com.

We wish all students a great trip home!

Sincerely,

Dragons Administration
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SUMMER: Nicaragua

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Return Travel Information

Eva Vanek,SUMMER: Nicaragua

Description

Dear Nicaragua Students & Families, Nicaragua summer program students will soon be boarding their planes to return home and 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: August 8, 2016 American Airlines […]

Posted On

08/4/16

Author

Eva Vanek

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    [post_date] => 2016-08-04 16:55:16
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    [post_content] => image2

image3

image1
    [post_title] => Images from Ometepe
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View post

Images from Ometepe

Mitch Haddad,SUMMER: Nicaragua

Description

Posted On

08/4/16

Author

Mitch Haddad

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    [post_date] => 2016-08-01 13:53:51
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    [post_content] => IMG_2144 IMG_2178

Please click on the images for full-sized rendering.

IMG_2168 IMG_2171
    [post_title] => Belated Images from El Lagartillo
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View post

Belated Images from El Lagartillo

Mitch Haddad,SUMMER: Nicaragua

Description

Please click on the images for full-sized rendering.  

Posted On

08/1/16

Author

Mitch Haddad

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    [post_date] => 2016-08-01 12:43:44
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    [post_content] => The team is on their way to Ometepe to begin their farm stay. The team will update you with more information and images in the days to come...with poetry and prose...once they're back in an area of internet connectivity. Just one week to go!

Best

Admin
    [post_title] => To Ometepe
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View post

To Ometepe

Diriang,SUMMER: Nicaragua

Description

The team is on their way to Ometepe to begin their farm stay. The team will update you with more information and images in the days to come…with poetry and prose…once they’re back in an area of internet connectivity. Just one week to go! Best Admin

Posted On

08/1/16

Author

Diriang

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    [post_date] => 2016-08-01 11:49:57
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    [post_content] => 
I am writing as I'm sitting here. On the second story of a cute, but warm little house in the village of El Lagartillo. There is a door open and my legs are out, my feet dangling over the edge. I am looking through the two trees on either side of the door, out, onto the not very big but always bustling main road that runs through the community. A very close but independent community. A community that falls asleep early, but arises even earlier. There are constantly children chasing after each other, young men riding around on motorcycles, some even on horses, and parents working hard.
And so here I sit, reflecting on the past two weeks. Today is Saturday, which to most individuals reading this, means you are enjoying your first day off after a long, tedious, but productive week. But to me, and my six other group members, this Saturday marks the last full day and the last night of the homestay portion of our trip. For the past two weeks, my fellow group members and I have been living with a family in El Lagartillo. We have been sleeping in the house, eating meals with the family, and even participating in community activities as well as taking four hours of Spanish class a day.
Coming into this trip. I had no idea what the experience was going to be like, and I was nervous about this portion of the trip. With that being said, I never could have imagined the impact that the homestay would have on me. It has been two weeks already, which is mind blowing to me, as it has felt like two days. I remember arriving here on my birthday, two weeks agotomorrow, just as if it were yesterday. I was introduced to my homestay mother, a woman named Erika. She lived with her husband, Juan, and her three young children, Marcelo, Cairo, and Sinthia. I was lead to her house and shown my bedroom, a very tiny, compressed space but at the same time, very warm and homey. The family did not speak any English, and upon arriving I was very worried, but any worries quickly went away as I realized my Spanish speaking skills were much better than I had originally thought. And so here I was; thrown into a situation I had to make the best of, even though it wasn't bad at all.
I am going to cry when we have to say goodbye to the community of El Lagartillo. In two weeks, it has felt like a second home to me. It has been home for me. I felt accepted, loved, and most importantly, I felt like a part of the community. Everyone here has been so kind and hospitable. The sense of community here is amazing and extremely unique. There is something special about small communities, and El Lagartillo is the prime example of this. Everyone knows everyone, it is like one big family. On numerous occasions I would arrive home from Spanish class or from a group activity and upon walking through the front door, there would be two or three different people in the house that were not in direct relation to my homestay family. I would be eating a meal and the gate would open in the kitchen and somebody new would walk in and a conversation would strike up instantly. My mother made 80 tortillas a day, and people would be in and out with plates and servings full of hot, homemade tortillas. It was a lot to get used to, the amount of people that would come in and out of the house on a regular basis. At first it was super weird and sometimes it was irritating, but that's just how it is in a community that is just one big family and keeps the front doors to their homes open all day. Another amazing thing about El Lagartillo is how hard each individual works. For example, my homestay mother wakes up at five every morning and begins making her tortillas. The children go to school all day, and the fathers work from the crack of dawn until sun down. There is a very strong sense of culture.
The final, but also biggest thing I want to speak on is this. It was eye opening and life changing to see and experience first hand how these people live. There is no running hot water, some families get water only every two days. I had to teach myself how to bucket shower, which is basically exactly like what it sounds. Taking a bucket of water and dumping it on yourself. There were no inside bathrooms, I had to use a "latrina," which is a big, less flattering version of a port a potty. After pooping, I had to put my toilet paper in an assigned basket, and then I had to grab some sand from a nearby bucket and pour it on top of my waste. This way of life is so different, barely any electricity, barely any water, no cold air, let alone phone service; but the people who inhabit this community are just as happy, if not happier, than someone living in a place with all of those accessibilities and accommodations. They remain smiling, positive, and most importantly, they are the most kindhearted and warm group of people I have ever met. They went out of their way to make sure that my group members and I could have the best, most influential experience possible. As I mentioned in my previous entry, the family of five I am staying with are all sleeping crammed in one room in their already super small house, just so I could have a peaceful room to myself.
They gave me a jersey that is a representation of this community and their history to me, someone who has done absolutely nothing for them, but take up space in their home, because they were sad for my loss. I have learned to never complain about the littlest things and make due with what you have. It doesn't matter how much money you have or how expensive your taste is. As long as you have family and a sense of community, you will prosper.
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Best Notes From The Field, SUMMER: Nicaragua

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Reflections II

Harper Ensslin,Best Notes From The Field, SUMMER: Nicaragua

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I am writing as I’m sitting here. On the second story of a cute, but warm little house in the village of El Lagartillo. There is a door open and my legs are out, my feet dangling over the edge. I am looking through the two trees on either side of the door, out, onto […]

Posted On

08/1/16

Author

Harper Ensslin

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