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    [post_date] => 2017-07-30 14:26:22
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-30 20:26:22
    [post_content] => In the land of golden pagodas,

The smell of jasmine flowers provides a fleeting, sweet, comfort.

Umbrella traffic crowds Yangon's sidewalks on a rainy afternoon.

Rice is livelihood- the fuel of an entire nation.

In the land of golden pagodas, change is coming, they say. Hope is abundant.

The golden pagodas scattered about remind us all of the majesty of tradition, the magnitude of faith and culture.

As day turns to night, as a country opens its doors to the world, as the wheel of time continues to spin, The golden pagodas still shine, the people of Myanmar smile with betel stained grins, and I, the curious traveler observe and absorb with gratitude, awe, and humility.

 
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The Land of Golden Pagodas

Dani Rader,SUMMER: Myanmar

Description

In the land of golden pagodas, The smell of jasmine flowers provides a fleeting, sweet, comfort. Umbrella traffic crowds Yangon’s sidewalks on a rainy afternoon. Rice is livelihood- the fuel of an entire nation. In the land of golden pagodas, change is coming, they say. Hope is abundant. The golden pagodas scattered about remind us […]

Posted On

07/30/17

Author

Dani Rader

Category

SUMMER: Myanmar

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2017-07-27 14:13:18
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-27 20:13:18
    [post_content] => Hi Friends and family,

Your students are en route back to you and you are probably wondering what to expect after their four weeks of deep cultural immersion and unplugging from the familiar. Going home from a Dragons course can be disorienting and is often filled with many emotions at once: joy, a sense of accomplishment, grief that it ended, and lots of questioning and negotiating our place in the world and how to integrate new lessons and experiences into our lives back home and at school.

We want to express our gratitude in how each of you has supported these students to come on course with us in Myanmar this summer. Your trust, encouragement, courage, and love have allowed these students to go to a place seldom visited by foreigners and foster deep empathy for and connections with people who are in many ways similar and in other ways quite different.

Know that it was worth it. For the past four weeks the three of us have had the immense privilege of watching our students transform before our eyes. Your children are fantastic! They are deeply insightful, compassionate, and funny individuals and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing them with us this summer. We hope you will forgive us for how little we were able to share the experience digitally while traveling to remote corners of Myanmar.

The bleary-eyed student that will shortly arrive back home to you with a heavy backpack full of local snacks and dirty laundry has so much to share with you. Please be gentle. It can take time for stories and memories to come bubbling to the surface. It's tough to know where to start, so we asked students to pick 10 words to give you a quick first glance. We have shared some of these below.

With so much gratitude,

Jenny, Siang, & Som

10 word stories:

Clara: explored. Identity. Development. Inspirational. Shared. Communal. Communicated. Cultural boundaries. Kindness. Laughter.

Jacob: Ko Kyaw's village teacher courage Sinleh family hike Naypyidaw museum Hpa'an caves.

Steven: development. Adventure. Kindness. Eternal. Mingalabar. Brother. Purity. Meditation. Village.

Som: love. Nature. Revived. Back to life. Tear. Happiness. Embraced. Jisutinbade.

Martha: authentic understanding transcends verbal communication.

Will: Bagan was so beautiful, Nay Pyi Taw was so fun.

Maddy: memorable moments blessed kindness willing opportunity community curious hospitality connections

Jenny: trade routes tectonic plates colliding tea leaf extremism hope jasmine kingdoms loving kindness

Devon, Dani, Alex, and Susana couldn't boil it all down to just 10 words!
    [post_title] => How was Myanmar? Students share 10 word stories. 
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How was Myanmar? Students share 10 word stories. 

iTeam,SUMMER: Myanmar

Description

Hi Friends and family, Your students are en route back to you and you are probably wondering what to expect after their four weeks of deep cultural immersion and unplugging from the familiar. Going home from a Dragons course can be disorienting and is often filled with many emotions at once: joy, a sense of […]

Posted On

07/27/17

Author

iTeam

Category

SUMMER: Myanmar

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-27 09:34:29
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    [post_content] => To all,

The Myanmar summer students have arrived safely in LAX in the company of the inimitable Jenny Wagner. Students will be making their way to meet parents and catch onward flights home. We want to thank everyone for the unforgettable summer experience and celebrate the great successes of the students.

Best from Boulder,

Justin
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View post

Myanmar Has Arrived in LA

Admin,SUMMER: Myanmar

Description

To all, The Myanmar summer students have arrived safely in LAX in the company of the inimitable Jenny Wagner. Students will be making their way to meet parents and catch onward flights home. We want to thank everyone for the unforgettable summer experience and celebrate the great successes of the students. Best from Boulder, Justin

Posted On

07/27/17

Author

Admin

Category

SUMMER: Myanmar

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-26 14:56:11
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    [post_content] => Dear family and friends,

Team Myanmar has officially departed Yangon on their way Hong Kong and ultimately LAX. Their final leg departs Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific flight 898 @ 9:30AM local time (7:30PM MST 7/26/17). We'll update you once they've landed in the US.

All the best,

Justin
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Team Myanmar: Homeward Bound

Admin,SUMMER: Myanmar

Description

Dear family and friends, Team Myanmar has officially departed Yangon on their way Hong Kong and ultimately LAX. Their final leg departs Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific flight 898 @ 9:30AM local time (7:30PM MST 7/26/17). We’ll update you once they’ve landed in the US. All the best, Justin

Posted On

07/26/17

Author

Admin

Category

SUMMER: Myanmar

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-21 11:37:08
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    [post_content] => 
Dear Summer 2017 Myanmar Student Families,
It is hard to believe that almost 4 weeks have already passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long before students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!
Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families (all times are in local time zones):
Thursday, July 27th, 2017
 
Cathay Pacific Flight #251
Depart: Yangon @1:10AM
Arrive: Hong Kong @ 5:45AM
 
Cathay Pacific Flight #898
Depart: Hong Kong @ 9:30AM
Arrive: LAX @7:45AM
 
We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day. Should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 303-921-6078.
We wish all students a great trip home!
Sincerely,
Boulder Admin
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SUMMER: Myanmar

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July 27th Group Return Details & Reminders!

Eva Vanek,SUMMER: Myanmar

Description

Dear Summer 2017 Myanmar Student Families, It is hard to believe that almost 4 weeks have already passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long before students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of the return group flight […]

Posted On

07/21/17

Author

Eva Vanek

Category

SUMMER: Myanmar

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-19 11:22:16
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-19 17:22:16
    [post_content] => 
Bats swirl around the golden spire of Uppatasanti Pagoda. It's five minutes to nine, and the peeling fake gold paint is lit up from every angle like a casino in Vegas. My bare feet stick to the unswept marble floor, gathered with dust. I look out over the sparse and sprawling and sparingly lit cityscape. Naypyidaw. This whole city is gathering dust... even the vast 8-lane highway would have tumbleweeds blowing across it if we were in my home in the American West. Myanmar's capital was moved suddenly by the military government in 2005 from the port city of Yangon (formerly Rangoon) to the middle of nowhere, Naypyidaw (some say the notoriously superstitious former President U Than Shwe heard something from an astrologer about a possible foreign invasion and built Naypyidaw with highways as big as runways to make Myanmar less vulnerable to attack). The city is famous for its vast new infrastructure and low population density.
It starts to rain lightly, and the lights are being shut off one by one as the pagoda starts to close down for the night. A local family and a few stray cats are the only living beings I meet as I circumambulate the massive pagoda, often called 'fake Shwedagon' in reference to the iconic real deal, the jewel that towers over Yangon, gleaming with real gold leaf. More lights shut down. I feel like I'm in a giant empty football stadium. Nighttime in Naypyidaw is eerily quiet, and for the first time since arriving in Myanmar I hear the call to prayer echo up from a city mosque below. The country is so much more diverse and messy than tourist ads will have you believe- Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs mingle with Buddhist monks on city buses- countless phenotypes blend together in crowded markets. My own co-instructor is a Christian from Chin State in the northwest, and has just as many questions about Theravada Buddhism as I do. One of our students speaks Mandarin and realized that over 40% of the population of Mandalay was Chinese. On a Dragons course, we end the course with a student planned and directed expedition called 'X Phase.' Our students chose to come to Naypyidaw, this weird and empty capital to see the Parliament (where per the constitution 25% of seats are granted to military members) and military museum. They wanted to see the center of government of this incredibly complex country, a nation that was formed together from a patchwork of ethnic groups thrown together under oppresive British rule in colonial Burma and were then stitched together into a country by General Aung Sun, the national hero of Burmese independence. Today is Matyr Day, and all flags are flying half mast in memory of General Aung Sun's assassination on this date in 1947. This country has been through so much since independence- Chin, Kachin, Shan, Karen, Rakhine... so many of Myanmar's ethnic and religious minorities have struggled for autonomy and suffered from state violence and ongoing civil war in certain areas. You wouldn't know any of it looking at the peaceful, sleepy, and eerily vacant capital city. I constantly have to remind myself that this country's first elections resembling anything close to free and fair were only two years ago. That the friends I have made here have had family members jailed or disappeared for speaking out against the former regime. That this country still spends less than 1% of its budget on education. That political speech is still censored. Mostly our reality here has looked much less bleak than all this. Endless cups of tea, Shan noodle breakfasts, lovely walks through green rice paddies, brilliant smiles of the incredibly gracious and welcoming local people, meditations and afternoon monsoon rains under the eaves of golden pagodas on hilltops, haggling for magenta dragonfruit in the local markets... Myanmar puts on its best face for us and manages to stay vibrant and alive. You would never guess the intensity of what people here have been put through by their government unless you ask their stories. For me and my co-instructors, the time has come for us to bite our tongues and sometimes allow our students to struggle or miscommunicate as they practice the skills they have been learning. As instructors, we get the luxury of taking on the role of 'students' for the next few days as our ten 'instructors' direct an educational adventure for us. We are having a blast and can't wait to see what's next! Jenny
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Nighttime in Naypyidaw: Reflections from X-Phase

Jenny Wagner,SUMMER: Myanmar

Description

Bats swirl around the golden spire of Uppatasanti Pagoda. It’s five minutes to nine, and the peeling fake gold paint is lit up from every angle like a casino in Vegas. My bare feet stick to the unswept marble floor, gathered with dust. I look out over the sparse and sprawling and sparingly lit cityscape. […]

Posted On

07/19/17

Author

Jenny Wagner

Category

SUMMER: Myanmar

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-18 11:08:44
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-18 17:08:44
    [post_content] => Hi there!

I'm sorry I haven't written in so long, wifi access has been limited since Bagan. After Bagan, we stayed at a monastic school for 2 days. It was so amazing; the chlidren were happy to see us! After helping making bricks for the school, we helped teach English to a class of 6th graders! There were a lot of kids outside the classroom watching us. After that, we went to Kalaw to spend the night before our trek. The next day, we trekked to our homestay. Our village was called Sinleh. My host family had 2 younger brothers and a younger sister. I tried to help my host father with his work, but most of the time he didn't need my help, so a lot of my time was spent exploring the village. After our homestay, we trekked 23 more miles to Inle Lake. It's beautiful there!

Mandalay has been amazing too. We had the honor of doing a scavenger hunt with students from Phaung Dow Oo, exploring Mandalay and asking them questions about how they live. Today we got to hang out with them again. We've officially began the X-Phase portion of our trip, where us students get to plan out the trip. Tomorrow, we're heading to Nay Pyi Daw, the capital of Myanmar. We'll spend two days there before going to Hpa'an to complete the X-phase and start Transference.
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SUMMER: Myanmar

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Hello!

Will Carson,SUMMER: Myanmar

Description

Hi there! I’m sorry I haven’t written in so long, wifi access has been limited since Bagan. After Bagan, we stayed at a monastic school for 2 days. It was so amazing; the chlidren were happy to see us! After helping making bricks for the school, we helped teach English to a class of 6th […]

Posted On

07/18/17

Author

Will Carson

Category

SUMMER: Myanmar

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2017-07-16 10:56:25
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-16 16:56:25
    [post_content] => Mingalabar Friends and Family of Myanmar Dragons!

We hope this note finds you all well. We are writing to you after a long bus journey to the bustling commercial hub of Mandalay, the last royal capital of Myanmar where trade routes from India and China intersect and the Burmese jade markets start bustling just after sunrise every day. Our rural homestays in Sinleh village and our trek through the hills and rice paddies of Shan State were incredibly beautiful and culminated with a day of rest in the town of Nyaung Shwe on the beautiful borders of Inle Lake (the "Venice" of rural Myanmar). We hope that you will forgive our lack of communication as we emerge from some of the most remote and "disconnected" places in Myanmar— please know that in lieu of being able to share a "live feed" of their experience with this digital community, students have been connecting deeply with the amazing people and places, waking up at dawn to go to rice paddies and take out the water buffaloes with homestay siblings, walking in the monsoon rains next to barefoot old women as they head to mountain shrines, sleeping on the floor of monasteries to the sound of young monks chanting, and getting deep into questions of Buddhism, development issues, the meaning of service, the political history of Myanmar, and local language. We had a double birthday on the 14th and were able to celebrate with a slightly different type of cultural immersion— karaoke! Yesterday we met with an environmental development professional and also explore the floating gardens on Inle Lake and visit local craftspeople who do traditional blacksmithing and weave textiles with fibers from the pink lotus plants that dot the lake.

Our time in Mandalay will be filled with time spent with students from the Pre College Program at Phaung Daw Oo monastic school. Students will also get a chance to explore their ISP's (independent study projects) and plan for "X-Phase"— a 5-day student-led expedition where instructors pass the reins to students and allow them to lead us through a student-directed educational experience in Myanmar. Students are putting their heads together as we write this, furiously calculating transport costs and planning for guest speakers. They will update you once we have approved their final itinerary— which will end in Hpa'an, our picturesque end-of-course location for reflection and "transference."

Wishing you all the best. Thank you so much for lending us your wonderful children!

-The Instructor Team (Som, Siang, and Jenny)
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View post

The Road to Mandalay

Instructor Team,SUMMER: Myanmar

Description

Mingalabar Friends and Family of Myanmar Dragons! We hope this note finds you all well. We are writing to you after a long bus journey to the bustling commercial hub of Mandalay, the last royal capital of Myanmar where trade routes from India and China intersect and the Burmese jade markets start bustling just after sunrise […]

Posted On

07/16/17

Author

Instructor Team

Category

SUMMER: Myanmar

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SUMMER: Myanmar

View post

Images From the Mud

iTeam,SUMMER: Myanmar

Description

Posted On

07/10/17

Author

iTeam

Category

SUMMER: Myanmar

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SUMMER: Myanmar

View post

(Arm) Wrestle Mania

iTeam,SUMMER: Myanmar

Description

Posted On

07/10/17

Author

iTeam

Category

SUMMER: Myanmar

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