5:00am wake ups are easier when these mountains call for you to get out of your tent. Photo by Cecelia Palmquist (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest, 1st Place), Nepal Semester.

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    [post_content] => Dear Dragons Community,

On Monday, May 25th—Memorial Day—George Floyd was murdered under the knee of a Minnesota police officer. In a country already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, Floyd’s death compounded the pain of another open wound: the wound of American racism, an infection that has festered for 400 years. It oozes hatred and rage and violence. It blinds so many to the full, sacred humanity of Blackness.

We write to you today to fight that infection. We know that Black Lives Matter. And in the words of instructor Caleb Brooks, “we know that George mattered, that he was imbued with the life force that every poet and theologian and artist and shaman has lived and died trying to translate into the broken languages by which we express our love and also our hate.”

We write to grieve with you, and to join hands with you against the systems that killed George Floyd.

We condemn the racist policies, white supremacy, and police brutality that killed George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and innumerable others. White people and white-run organizations must actively work against the legacies of white supremacy, racism, settler colonialism, patriarchy and structural inequality upon which this country was built and that pervade the lives of Black and Brown people in the US every day.  

As an administrative team, we regret that it has taken us until now to make this statement publicly. We acknowledge that we benefit from these heinous legacies and have a responsibility to dismantle them. Our mission to build a just and equitable world requires sustained anti-racist action. We stand in solidarity with those demanding racial justice. We invite you, our community, to join us in the movement for sustainable transformation. 

Today, Dragons donated to Black Lives Matter 5280, a small organization on the front lines of the protest in Denver, near our headquarters. You can find more organizations to which our staff are donating, and more ways to get educated and involved below.

The work of liberation is hard and at times may feel impossible. But, to echo James Baldwin, “in our time, as in every time, the impossible is the least that one can demand.”

In solidarity, 

The Where There Be Dragons Administrative Team

 

RESOURCES TO GET EDUCATED AND INVOLVED

Thank you to Black-led activists who have created these resources, which we have pulled from various locations. 

READ

We encourage you to purchase your books from black-owned and African American-focused bookstores. You can find a list here
  • ain’t i a woman by bell hooks
  • Ally Resource Guide
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
  • Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
  • Black Lives Matter Syllabus 
  • Choke Hold by Paul Butler
  • Divided Sisters by Midge Wilson and Kathy Russell
  • Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper 
  • Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall 
  • How to be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
  • How We Get Free edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor 
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson 
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat White Supremacy, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
  • Native Son by Richard Wright 
  • POC Online Classroom  
  • Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde 
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Stamped from the Beginning by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi 
  • The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein 
  • The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe Moraga
  • What to do Instead of Calling the Police 
  • When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Kahn-Cullors & asha bandele
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo 
  • Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect edited by Joe Macaré, Maya Schenwar, and Alana Yu-lan Price
  • Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis 

LISTEN

WATCH

  • 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
  • American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
  • BlacKKKlansman (Spike Lee) — HBO
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
  • Blindspotting (Carlos López Estrada) — HBO
  • Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
  • Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
  • Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
  • I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
  • Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to watch FREE for the month of June
  • King In The Wilderness  — HBO
  • Rachel Cargle’s Address on the Revolution 
  • See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
  • Systematic Racism Explained
  • Tamika Mallory’s Speech on George Floyd Protests
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
  • When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix

DONATE

GET INVOLVED

  • #AmplifyMelanatedVoices when sharing content
  • Click for a pre-made email draft to demand justice for Breonna Taylor
  • Click for a pre-made email draft to demand justice for George Floyd
  • Click for a pre-made email draft to demand justice for James Scurlock
  • Click for a pre-made email draft to demand justice for Tony McDade
  • CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TO VOTE
  • Get involved with your local government to end police brutality 
  • Join Local Black Lives Matter Chapters
  • Join Local allyship organizations such as SURJ

SUPPORT/FOLLOW

MORE

 
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[post_title] => Solidarity + Resources For Racial Justice [post_excerpt] => We condemn the racist policies, white supremacy, and police brutality that killed George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and innumerable others. White people and white-run organizations must actively work against the legacies of white supremacy, racism, settler colonialism, patriarchy and structural inequality upon which this country was built and that pervade the lives of Black and Brown people in the US every day.   [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => solidarity-resources-for-racial-justice [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-06-09 12:59:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-06-09 18:59:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 641 [name] => About Dragons [slug] => about_dragons [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 641 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [parent] => 0 [count] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 53 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/about_dragons/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 670 [name] => Recommended [slug] => recommended [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 670 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Recommended reading, watching and listening. [parent] => 0 [count] => 18 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 11 [cat_ID] => 670 [category_count] => 18 [category_description] => Recommended reading, watching and listening. [cat_name] => Recommended [category_nicename] => recommended [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/recommended/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 651 [name] => Announcements [slug] => announcements [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 651 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [parent] => 0 [count] => 60 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 14 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 60 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 ) [3] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 13 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 13 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => About Dragons, Recommended ... )
Featured Post

Solidarity + Resources For Racial Justice

Posted on

06/03/20

Author

Dragons HQ

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We condemn the racist policies, white supremacy, and police brutality that killed George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and innumerable others. White people and white-run organizations must actively work against the legacies of white supremacy, racism, settler colonialism, patriarchy and structural inequality upon which this country was built and that pervade the lives of Black and Brown people in the US every day.  
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About Mbouillé

Mbouillé Diallo currently works in diplomatic security. He is an educator and taught young Senegalese and American students, specializing in language and culture. He is a seasoned Dragons instructor, he led Dragon's inaugural West Africa summer program in 2005 and has been invited numerous times as a speaker and trainer for Dragons staff training. A former radio host, he is very interested in politics and geo-politics, though he is not a member of any political party. He is currently writing an autobiographical book and lives with his wife and four children in Thies, Senegal. A former soccer player, trainer and referee, Mr. Diallo likes to watch soccer games and see his kids play.    

     

Interviewing Mbouillé

Can you speak a little bit about what it was like to grow up in Kolda?

I remember, when I was a lot younger, my parents or people of their generation would refer to the regions North of the Gambia as Senegal, and our area (South) as Casamance. I always wondered why. To me we were all Senegalese. My father served in the army and later the Police of Senegal. We ended up living in Kolda just because my father decided to build his house there. Actually, many of my siblings and myself (as a little boy) did not like having to live in Kolda. Because we wanted to be in the North and be "Senegalese". As I was growing up, I realized how grateful I should be to God and my parents for giving me the opportunity to grow up in Kolda. I am not sure I would have learnt and understood a lot of things. Maybe, I would not have been the same person. Two examples can help explain why I am saying this:
  • People like me who grow up in Kolda are what I call a "Language and Culture Melting Pot". Thanks to my past and experience I speak at least seven languages. In my neighborhood, we were surrounded by families of different origins. Almost in each family, they spoke a different language and had something specific to their culture, religion etc. There were several ethnic groups and each had some specificities. That's why I would do whatever I could to not miss family ceremonies. As such, I was able to grow up learning from others and build my own personality, my future… my life. I am deeply convinced that without this past I would not have had the opportunity to work at the US Peace Corps, Dragons and other foreign organizations, or it would not have been the same. With my background and education, it was quite easy for me to understand others and know that staying or working with someone thought to be different from you is a gift and WEALTH.
  • When I was a little boy, electricity and running water was nonexistent in our neighborhood. We learnt to struggle to succeed in difficult conditions. We would study at night with "lampe Tempete'' (kerosene lamps); and had to pull water from wells to drink, bathe, and do the laundry etc. The legend says that the best civil servants (teachers, health workers, etc.) were mainly posted in the Northern part of the country. My family was considered as one of the wealthiest in the neighborhood, but we loved each other, as friends and played together in the streets as one. We shared food, clothes, school supplies and anything to make friends happy. We learnt to be independent and fight to succeed at school and in society. The one thing I feared the most was going to the bush to fetch firewood for cooking or working in farms. However, by following my friends and seeing how well they were doing, I decided to do the same. The most memorable times of my childhood comes from the moments I spent with friends in the bush, hunting, wrestling, playing games and fighting sometimes. Growing up with that is worth years of school studies.
 

You reached out to Dragons with a grant proposal to fund Dr. Yaya Balde's campaign to purchase Personal Protective Equipment in the Region of Kolda. Can talk to us a little more about how these funds will help healthcare workers and the local population?

Healthcare workers were quite unable to fulfill their daily tasks to reach out to communities in the beginning, communicate well with them, let them know that following guidance given by authorities is key to fight COVID 19. The health system and facilities in Kolda is one of the least equipped in the country. Staff did not have enough tools (masks, gloves, hygiene gels, soap etc). Healthcare officials could not keep telling people to wash their hands if the latter don't have soap or water (in some areas). They used a few radio programs, but being in the field was the best way to communicate with people. Healthcare workers knew it would take time to change people's mind and let them understand that COVID 19 is real and anyone can be infected. The virus can survive anywhere; be it a hot, humid or cold area.  They needed the basic tools and products to help communities fight. The public health system also depends on volunteers, since many health workers are not treated as civil servants and their salaries depend on the fees paid by patients in public hospitals and health care centers. Some health workers unions and hospital managers publicly announced that they might not be able to pay some salaries in the near future if solutions are not found quickly. So, I understood that people's lives are at risk. How can someone who struggles on a daily basis to get the minimum to feed themselves and their family be able to pay for fees in order to be taken care of by public health care? And if the health care workers are frustrated and stressed out, because not only don’t have good salaries, but also they might even be paid, I do not think they will be able to help fight COVID 19 in an efficient way.  I thought it would be very helpful to help with means to anticipate and limit the number of people contaminated or affected. I contacted Dr. Balde and learned that there is a committee in charge that can receive donations. Knowing that I do not have enough income to personally bring a help that could impact, I decided to contact friends who could work directly with him and coordinate donations.  

What is the current state of the Covid-19 crisis in Senegal? How has the virus impacted daily life for most people?

As of today Senegal Registered 3253 confirmed cases among whom over 2000 recovered and 38 died. The government of Senegal has not yet opted for total lockdown. However, we are in a state of emergency and under curfew (2100 to 05:00).  The virus has impacted people's daily life in many domains: In terms of the economy, the majority of Senegalese workers are in the informal sector. The economy has slowed down and many locals have been having problems getting income to take care of their daily needs and their families. This crisis has also shown that the health system is extremely weak in this country as it is in many other developing countries. We realize now that the health system has issues in staffing (low salaries or no salary for many of them), and equipment (absence of masks, gloves, hygiene stuff) etc. More importantly, this crisis shows that good communication, hygiene and healthy diets can save lives and money.   The government voted for a special budget to support needy people. As such, food and hygiene products were supposed to be delivered to families that do not have income within a short period of time. Unfortunately, over one month after the decision has been made, many regions have not yet received anything from the government. The government could have done a better job if they did not focus on political actions that we call in French ‘Du Voyez moi’ (look at me). The minister in charge of this task is travelling and using the government TV and other Medias to show up and pretend that he is doing a good job delivering what the community deserves.  On a positive note, this crisis has pushed some sectors to be creative and work on resiliency. Though we are not used to producing and consuming locally, some sectors have decided to participate in the fight by producing masks, machines, gels etc.  

In your opinion, how effective has the leadership in Senegal been at managing the crisis?

To me there was good leadership in the beginning, in the sense that there was an agreement between the current government, the opposition, and most of the other sectors of the society. They all decided to fight the pandemic together. However, I believe, they forgot to take into account certain realities. Most of the recommendations were to stay at home and follow recommendations made by health organizations and authorities. The communication was done in the way that they focused more on stigmatization than addressing the issue. Many people still consider COVID 19 as shameful. That's why many communities did not want to be moved from home (house/village,city, neighborhood) to their quarantine  places (hospitals, hotels and centers).  Also, in my mind, the decision to move all the patients tested positive was a mistake. Many people could have stayed at home and taken care of. The huge amount of money spent to move and take care of those people in hotels could have been saved for investing in testing, research and equipment.  The decision to follow some recommendations was not adequate. For example, they could have recommended locals to wear masks right at the beginning of the crisis, rather than recommending only sick people should wear a mask. I think that added to the false belief that COVID does not exist.     Also, some local wealthy people and politicians who pretended to bring their own revenue into the fight were not doing it for the sake of helping needy people, but rather for publicity. Why would someone whose aim is to help people get out of the crisis expose the stuff and money he is giving in front of cameras and post it on social media? On the other hand, I came to realize that Senegal might not be as poor as our authorities claim. The amount of money that has been collected from politicians and other private business owners could have been enough to help us tackle the problem right at the beginning. If this money was used in the way it should be, the health system in this country would not have been at this sad level.     

Is there anything you wish people living abroad knew about Senegal?

Senegal is one country with a lot of differences and details specific to peoples’ lives; it’s not fair to say there is one culture of Senegal. Senegal is not a poor country, but communities are not always given the opportunity to take advantage of their resources. The colonial system and history have impacted Senegal in different ways. Depending on where you are in the country, you can see these differences.  As such, the decision-makers should take into account the community realities in order to manage and help this country get out of the hole. So, for people living abroad, the best way to know this country and understand the realities to connect directly with locals, stay with them, travel with them….  Also, the educational system has to change. No community can make progress without a good system of education. And leaders should understand that not only people who are literate in French should be considered as educated people or intellectuals. There are a lot of people who could be good resources, but they are not being asked; if they are, their ideas are not taken into account.

What are your hopes and fears for the future?

I will summarize my hopes in one sentence: I wish the future of this country to be left in the hands of those who have the capacity and deserve it. I am optimistic that the new activist movements that are spreading now all over Africa will help us get to that. Many young Africans now understand that the most obvious guarantee to move forward is real Africa Union…

Anything else you want us to know?

I will be happy to get back to you if you have further questions. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express myself in a few lines about my country…..    

Dragons Fund is a program of the COMMON Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax-deductible as permitted by U.S. tax law.

 
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[post_title] => SENEGAL COMMUNITY GRANT UPDATE: An Interview With Mbouillé Diallo [post_excerpt] => Mbouillé Diallo currently works in diplomatic security. He is an educator and taught young Senegalese and American students, specializing in language and culture. He is a seasoned Dragons instructor, he led Dragon's inaugural West Africa summer program in 2005 and has been invited numerous times as a speaker and trainer for Dragons staff training. A former radio host, he is very interested in politics and geo-politics, though he is not a member of any political party. He is currently writing an autobiographical book and lives with his wife and four children in Thies, Senegal. A former soccer player, trainer and referee, Mr. Diallo likes to watch soccer games and see his kids play. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => senegal-community-grant-update-an-interview-with-mbouille-diallo [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-18 08:14:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-18 14:14:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 76 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 76 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 48 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 48 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 641 [name] => About Dragons [slug] => about_dragons [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 641 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [parent] => 0 [count] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 53 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community ... )
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Meet Lin Theik

Lin is a 29 year old tour guide, educator, and entrepreneur from Myanmar. The ninth of ten children, Lin has a contagious enthusiasm for travel, learning from differing perspectives, and environmental entrepreneurism. Linn is a hero on many fronts - from exposing local youth to a variety of cultures within the borders of his own country to finding creative solutions for reusing plastic.

Lin’s Story

Lin had been working as a guide with a tour company leading young American students throughout Myanmar when he asked himself, “Why not do this with local students?” This question inspired him to found an organization, called Promised Land, that brings local youth on trips within Myanmar that exposes them to differing cultures and perspectives found within their own country. Lin teaches Myanmarese youth how to travel, guiding his students to reflect upon their own experiences and helping them to build a cohesive group dynamic. Students learn leadership skills, oversee the group budget, engage in trekking, and have discussions with local community members. Lin tries to give them, “what they cannot get from the city.” He says, “I’m trying to let them see what you really need to see, trying to get them to think outside the box.” Through these immersive and hands-on travel experiences, Lin aspires to cultivate a combination of confidence and respect within his students. Lin shares that one of the biggest obstacles in working with the youth of Myanmar is in fact their parents! Culturally, parents aren’t accustomed to being apart from their children and have high expectations for consistent communication and a low tolerance for separation. Lin surmounts these obstacles by posting daily messages on social media for the parents as well as keeping the trip length to a maximum of four days! Over the years, two prominent figures have influenced Lin’s approach to life. The first was his late father, whose wisdom shaped Lin’s heart-centered manner in which he approaches people. His father taught him,
'People will forget what you say and what you give, but they will never forget how you treat them.' The second was a former boss, who taught Lin, 'When you talk to the people, you talk with your heart, not with your brain.'
Those words of wisdom have a visible effect on the way in which Lin interacts with others; he exudes a zest for life and heart-centeredness that permeates all of his encounters. Lin states, “Traveling is important … to see the world in a different perspective.” He surmises that traveling is akin to standing in front of a mirror; it provides the opportunity to reflect upon one’s life and also to see from another person’s perspective. He shares, “The youth can change the world, if they try to know each other. If you want to know each other, you have to go to the place you’ve never been, talk to the people you’ve never talked to, and eat the food that you’ve never eaten.”
Forever the entrepreneurial spirit, when Lin isn’t busy guiding, he is developing a project to collect plastic and recycle it into bricks to be used for construction.
The idea came to him after watching local pagodas integrate straw to fortify the clay in the creation of bricks. He thought why not use plastic for the same purpose. He is in the process of creating this project and aspires to collect plastic gathered by people in his community by trading a prescribed amount for a t-shirt. We’ll end with Lin’s words of wisdom: “Walk the way you’ve never walked. Don’t judge people, go the road the people go so you will see it. Go travel and learn. You can have fun and see what is there.” Lin believes that meeting new people and seeing the world through different points of view is the key to understanding and true happiness. Lin's Film Recommendation: The Lady Lin's Book Recommendation: Twilight over Burma: My Life as a Shan Princess Lin's Favorite Myanmarese Food: Mohinga: rice noodle soup served with beans, egg, and banana stem. An essential part of Burmese cuisine that is eaten in the morning and evening. To learn more about this inspiring human and his organization, please visit Lin’s website: Promised Land Myanmar.
 
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[post_title] => Local Heroes Series: Lin Theik, Myanmar [post_excerpt] => Meet Linn Theik. Linn is a 2x year old tour guide, educator, and entrepreneur from Myanmar. The ninth of ten children, Linn has a contagious enthusiasm for travel, learning from differing perspectives, and environmental entrepreneurism. Linn is a hero on many fronts - from exposing local youth to a variety of cultures within the borders of his own country to finding creative solutions for reusing plastic. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => local-heroes-series-linn-theik-myanmar [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-08-18 11:12:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-08-18 17:12:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 776 [name] => Local Heroes Series [slug] => local-heroes-series [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 776 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 1 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 0 [cat_ID] => 776 [category_count] => 1 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Local Heroes Series [category_nicename] => local-heroes-series [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/local-heroes-series/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 48 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 48 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 670 [name] => Recommended [slug] => recommended [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 670 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Recommended reading, watching and listening. [parent] => 0 [count] => 18 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 11 [cat_ID] => 670 [category_count] => 18 [category_description] => Recommended reading, watching and listening. [cat_name] => Recommended [category_nicename] => recommended [category_parent] => 0 ) [3] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 13 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 13 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Local Heroes Series, Global Community ... )
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    [post_date] => 2020-07-24 11:29:20
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-24 17:29:20
    [post_content] => 

You'll find no shortage of mask-making videos these days, but here at Dragons, we are feeling especially proud of this version created by our dear friends in Senegal, Papa Laye and Jenny Wagner.

As we continue taking responsibility to protect each other from Covid-19, let's also continue to protect the environment by creating masks from materials we already have. In this short video, you'll learn how to make a mask Senegal Style under Papa Laye's step-by-step and no-machine-needed expert instruction.

If you'd like to joins us in "masking-up to the challenge," email a photo to us or share one on social with the tag #maskupdragons so we can share your creations with Papa Laye, who would be so excited to see what he's inspired you to make!

   
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One email a week. Nothing Markety. Unsubscribe any time. Subscribe to the Dragons Blog and stay connected to the community. ❤️

[post_title] => How to Make a Mask Senegal Style, With Papa Laye [post_excerpt] => As we continue taking responsibility to protect each other from Covid-19, let's also continue to protect the environment by creating masks from materials we already have. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-make-a-mask-with-papa-laye [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-07-24 19:21:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-07-25 01:21:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 76 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 76 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 48 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 48 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 654 [name] => Mixed Media [slug] => mixed_media [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 654 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [parent] => 0 [count] => 52 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 52 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community ... )
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    [ID] => 157143
    [post_author] => 1530
    [post_date] => 2020-07-07 09:15:18
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-07 15:15:18
    [post_content] => We caught up with Dragons instructors Luke Hein and Kawsar Muhtar to learn more about their art-based project to tell stories from Uyghur people around the world during Ramadan.

Every day during the month of Ramadan for the past two years, Luke Hein makes a watercolor painting and posts it on his Instagram handle, vlfhein. The paintings are renditions of photographs and stories gathered in the Tarim Basin area of western China, and they showcase vignettes of life there: Kashgari pottery, desert landscapes, clay tonur (i.e., tandoor) ovens, street scenes, mosques, and buildings decorated with intricate and colorful mosaics.

Ramadan Watercolors“The Boy Loves Fish”

When he launched the Ramadan watercolor project in 2019, Luke had just returned from a personal trip through the Tarim Basin, located in Xinjiang Province, China. He wondered: was there a way to publicize the challenging realities there without making explicit political comments that could compromise his ability to travel there in the future? Inspired by Chiura Obata, the renowned Japanese-American artist who painted and taught while imprisoned at the Topaz internment camp during World War II, Luke hit upon the idea of raising awareness indirectly. 
I said, ‘Let me just highlight things I love, to build knowledge, to build understanding, and through that to build empathy and eventually connection and love because that’s what going to make people risk to help somebody else, that’s what’s going to make people loyal to other people.’ The project is valuable because it’s not directly critical. That’s sort of the key move.
“I had been carrying around a cakey old tray of watercolors from my days as a home schooler. I brought it all over Indonesia and China, telling myself I was going to paint something.” It wasn’t until Luke arrived back in the U.S. that he finally sat down to paint with his niece. “I just started doing it, I didn’t know much about watercolors,” explains Luke, adding that he “drew poorly” throughout high school before his interest in the visual arts waned.  Ramadan Watercolors“Daily routines in Kashgar’s demolished old quarter” During the first year of the Ramadan watercolor project, most of the paintings were of photographs from Luke’s direct experiences traveling in Xinjiang Province. Luke had just moved back into his parent’s house in Alabama to help take care of his ailing father, who had been diagnosed with cancer five years prior and was now taking a sharp decline. Luke recalls his father coming out every night while he was painting at 2 or 3 in the morning. “I interrupted my paintings to give massages, talk with him, sometimes to be angry with him, sometimes to be curious, to make time to be with him.” Luke’s father passed away about a month after the completion of the first Ramadan project, on the summer solstice, surrounded by family.  “With this watercolor that you can’t control super well, not in the same way you can control a pen when you’re doing cartoons, drawing/erasing then drawing again, these details, freckles, each leaf on a tree… you can’t do that in watercolor. It takes away your ability to control that much. It ended up being a really healthy medium for me. I came to identify it a little bit with some of the ideas I was struggling with over control, two tensions I was holding very tightly to: One, the situation with my father, the other situation with a friend in China I was very worried about. Both of which I had almost no control over, both of which became fused in me and in the project. I was doing a lot of thinking by painting.” Ramadan Watercolors“Like a Kind of Medicine” Though not a Muslim, Luke fasted and observed the other tenets of Ramadan while painting. Says Luke: “It’s no accident that I was doing this during Ramadan. I don’t know a lot about Islam, my understanding is evolving. The act of submission was the idea I was repeating in my head. This isn’t necessarily going to look good. The time constraint was another element: I’m going to do one painting a day. Some of the paintings aren’t going to get done. You can see pencil on some of the places where I didn't actually get to painting because it took me so long, I had to move onto the next one.”  Ramadan Watercolors“Farms outside of Hotan” The last piece of the project fell into place during a phone call with fellow Dragons instructor Kawsar Muktar—a Uyghur woman from Kashgar—during which they discussed parallels between Uyghurs and the Cajun ethnic group. Years of conversations with his bayou-born grandmother sparked an increasing interest in the history of the Cajun ethnic minority. Why, wondered Luke, when his grandmother’s first language had been French, did neither he nor his father speak a word of it?  After suffering targeted violence and forced removal from Maritime Canada beginning in 1755, the mostly Catholic, French-speaking Acadians (or ‘Cajuns’) were deported en masse to Britain, France, and various colonies. Many Cajuns later regrouped and settled in South Louisiana. Historian Shane K. Bernard explains how xenophobic policies associated with the Red Scare, World War I and II, and the Cold War pressured Cajuns to move to the city and assimilate into White Anglo-Saxon Protestant majority. It was during this time that many Cajuns, including Luke’s grandmother, stopped speaking French. Ramadan Watercolors“Please speak the common language”  And yet the Cajun identity didn’t disappear. “In the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s,” says Luke, “ there was this revival of Cajun as cool. Something on the verge of disappearing seemed to gain the public eye. Most of it was through music and food, commodifying those in a way. It became cool to go to New Orleans, Mardi Gras was super cool.” Although some Cajun activists are critical of this commercialized caricature of Cajun-ness, Luke suspects that without this revival, perhaps no Cajun tradition would have survived to reevaluate today.  Hein pauses before adding:  “There is a long tradition in China of talking about something that happened in a previous dynasty as an allegory, a veiled critique of something that is happening currently.” In its second year, the Ramadan watercolor project started to change shape from an intensely personal project to a collective endeavor. Luke explains that he had been reading on critical pedagogy and became convinced of the value of what Paulo Freire describes as a dialogic relationship a teacher or researcher forms with partners in a project. He began asking himself:  “How can I put more control of this project into other peoples’ hands?” The answer came once again from Kawsar Muhtar, now living in Paris with her husband and three-year-old daughter. Kawsar recounts: “My encounter with the Ramadan watercolor project actually started with Dragons (staff) orientation in 2016 when I met Luke Hein. I remember we had discussions about what was happening in my hometown. It felt very nice and connected to talk to someone who had been to (my hometown) before and understands the situation.” During the second year of the Ramadan watercolor project, Kawsar began collecting stories from Uyghurs from the Tarim Basin now living abroad, asking people to share old photos and the stories behind them. Stories and photos came flooding in from Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, the UK, and elsewhere. Ramadan Watercolors“Waiting at the Dress Shop” Kawsar translated the stories and Luke made paintings from the photos. Says Kawsar: “We want this project to draw people’s attention to the land currently being forgotten. Secondly, we want the diaspora community from [Tarim Basin] to share their beloved memories about their hometown and families, to let each other know that they are not alone, give each other strength and encourage each other to go through this difficult time together.” Ramadan Watercolors“Just a Road Near My Home” “Personally, it has been very difficult for me to accept the fact of not being able to contact my parents in any form at the beginning. Especially because it happened right after I gave birth to my daughter when I needed my parents so badly, I had tons of questions to ask from my parents, and tons of feelings I feel after being a mother that I need to tell my mom. I felt very angry for a long time, I cried a lot, it even led to a period of depression when my daughter was a few months old.  Now I am more at peace. When I receive those stories, I know that I am not the only person who lost contact and connection to their families. I think some people need this platform to express their feelings. It is very important.” Kawsar shares a recent message from a Uyghur girl living in Japan: 
Kawsar: Do you miss your father? The girl: If I saw his shadow, I would hug it.
Ramadan Watercolors“The Taste of Snow”
“For me,” adds Kawsar, “the most inspiring part of this project is that I got to talk to the Uyghur people all over the world, listen to their stories and feelings, and feel connected. 
After we started to post our invitation to collect photos and stories, a lot of people sent me their photos and told me about their memories. Some of them didn’t have any photos, but they told me the stories or the feelings which they miss the most. Luke did some paintings based on just those memories, which I think was incredible. A lot of people don't have any photos or memories to share, but they still write to me and express gratitude and say that they love to follow the stories and photos I post every day. One Uyghur lady who lives in Sweden sent me a poem she wrote after she saw our invitation.” Kawsar and Luke hope to continue the project in future years, both as a means of raising awareness about the lives of Uyghur people to an external audience, and as a way of fortifying Chinese Muslims in the diaspora through storytelling during their holiest month. Kawsar and Luke are actively enlisting help to translate the stories into multiple languages, and many of the stories have already been translated into  Indonesian by friend and colleague Umi Akhdadiyah. The pair also have plans to write a children’s book in the Uyghur language using Luke’s illustrations. Below you will find the aforementioned poem and Luke’s accompanying watercolor painting. It is the woman’s first poem.  

I Most Want

A poem on which the painting was based by a Kashgar native and mother of two boys now living in Sweden @miskin.kalip. Translated from Uyghur to Chinese by Kawsar Muhtar, and from Chinese to English by Luke Hein. Ramadan Watercolors I most want to gather the alfalfa clustering in the fields, to return home and make mouthwatering alfalfa dumplings. My eyebrows have become dry and rough; I want the moisture from the Osma grass to draw them into the shape of a heart.   My hair, like my very self, withers and becomes brittle. I most want to smear it with Persian olive, infusing a bit of nutrition, or, even more, I wish to hang against my mother’s bosom as when I was a child and let her to rub me with sheep oil while I absorb the sun.   I want to dress bright and beautiful, put on high heels, stalk the Old Town’s streets and alleys. I hope Kashgar’s rain soaks me through. I’d open my two hands and scream, allowing my tears to fall the way of the rain.   I most want, in the kitchen, before the holiday, to press close to my mother while we bake dumplings, fry pancakes, and meticulously prepare the holiday table. When I think that I was at my mother’s side and never once thanked her, I have ten thousand regrets and want to run off to slap this mouth of mine until it shatters.  
  Luke Hein is a freelance writer and experiential educator working in the PRC, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the US. Luke was raised in Auburn, Alabama AL after his Louisianan parents relocated there from Seattle in 1987. Home schooled until high school, Luke left Auburn ahead of schedule to spend his senior year in China in 2005. He has been returning there since, as a student, guide, researcher, traveler, and teacher. He's passionate about rural places, regions where boundaries blur, and the ingenious strategies people invent to contend with life's challenges. He writes and makes art at Instagram @vlfhein and has a recent article out on The News Lens International. You can hear an interview between Luke and his grandmother at a StoryCorps. Kawsar Muhtar grew up in Kashgar old city and received a Chinese language education until middle school. She worked as a language teacher, journalist, and editor in Urumqi, where she gained valuable experience with Uyghur media and literature. Kawsar continued her studies in London, where she researched the role of mass media in social construction, representation, and understanding of difference and social diversity. After her studies, she worked as a Dragons instructor in China. She now lives in Paris as a part-time editor and an almost full-time mom.  
PS. WANT DRAGONS BLOG UPDATES SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX? ONE EMAIL A WEEK. NOTHING MARKETY. UNSUBSCRIBE ANY TIME. SUBSCRIBE TO DRAGONS BLOG AND STAY CONNECTED TO THE COMMUNITY. ❤️
[post_title] => Ramadan Watercolors Project: Sharing Stories from the Uyghur Diaspora [post_excerpt] => We caught up with Dragons instructors Luke Hein and Kawsar Muhtar to learn more about their art-based project to tell stories from Uyghur people around the world during Ramadan. Every day during the month of Ramadan for the past two years, Luke Hein makes a watercolor painting and posts it on his Instagram handle, vlfhein. The paintings are renditions of photographs and stories gathered in the Tarim Basin area of western China, and they showcase vignettes of life there: Kashgari pottery, desert landscapes, clay tonur (i.e., tandoor) ovens, street scenes, mosques, and buildings decorated with intricate and colorful mosaics. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => ramadan-watercolors-project-sharing-stories-from-the-uyghur-diaspora [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-07-07 10:44:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-07-07 16:44:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 76 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 76 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 48 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 48 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 640 [name] => Dragons Instructors [slug] => dragons_instructors [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 640 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featuring the words, projects, guidance and vision of the community of incredible staff that make Dragons what it is. [parent] => 0 [count] => 36 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8 [cat_ID] => 640 [category_count] => 36 [category_description] => Featuring the words, projects, guidance and vision of the community of incredible staff that make Dragons what it is. [cat_name] => Dragons Instructors [category_nicename] => dragons_instructors [category_parent] => 0 ) [3] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 13 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 13 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community ... )
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    [post_date] => 2020-07-06 10:23:43
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-06 16:23:43
    [post_content] => Dear Dragons Alum Families and Community,

Today is July 1st: Week one of our summer courses. In normal times, students would be getting to know their instructors and peers, tasting and smelling new cuisines, and beginning their Dragons experience. These are clearly not normal times, and this year we are feeling what many of you experienced when your child left home: the empty nest. Until international borders reopen, the majority of our customary work is put on hold; as temporary empty nesters, we are afforded the time and space to look at ourselves in new ways. These past months of crisis have helped us to ask old questions with renewed urgency, expand our vision, and deepen our purpose. I'd like to share these developments with you:
 

Bringing our work closer to home

At our core, Where There Be Dragons is about discovery of and connection to self, others, and our shared planet through immersive and responsible travel. With international travel on pause, we want to expand our mission to meet new realities. Over the past several months we've developed new domestic programs for our SummerGap and Adult participants. We've long wanted to bring our work "closer to home." These courses do just that, allowing us to bring participants in contact with critical issues and impactful experiences in the US.  

Supporting communities

  • While we know Dragons will get through this and be stronger for it, the slowdown has acutely impacted many of our overseas staff and partner communities. In response, The Dragons Fund (a 501c3 program of the COMMON Foundation) started a
  • Community Relief Fund to help provide small grants to affected communities in the places we visit. These communities have always been the bedrock of a Dragons education. We are continually inspired by their creativity, strength, and resilience. They continue to teach us how to navigate this complex world.
  • Julianne Chandler, our Latin America Program Director, recently wrote a beautiful blog post about how one of these communities in Bolivia has been impacted by the pandemic and responded in creative ways.
 

Deepening our work towards justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion

Over the past few years we've made tangible strides in more fully articulating and realizing our mission, vision, and values. We hope our actions loudly reflect our words. And yet, as with all things aspirational, the journey is endless. COVID-19's unequal impact on vulnerable communities and movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter remind us of how far we have to go-as an organization, as a country, and as a global community-to actuate meaningful and systemic change. International travel, and Dragons programming, are fundamentally entangled with legacies of colonialism and contain deep inequities. We are using our "empty nest" to develop a long-term strategic plan for deepening our work toward justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, which we look forward to sharing in the coming months.
  Dragons will always seek to provide profound and unfiltered experiences that expose us to the beautiful and painful complexities of our world. Through our shared learning, we can step beyond our cultural and self-imposed limitations, awakening to who we want to be for ourselves and our communities.
Thank you for all your support in the recent months, and over the decades. We look forward to updating you on our programming as it returns.
 
Reed Harwood
Executive Director
 
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[post_title] => The Empty Nest and What Comes Next for Dragons [post_excerpt] => Today is July 1st: Week one of our summer courses. In normal times, students would be getting to know their instructors and peers, tasting and smelling new cuisines, and beginning their Dragons experience. These are clearly not normal times, and this year we are feeling what many of you experienced when your child left home: the empty nest. Until international borders reopen, the majority of our customary work is put on hold; as temporary empty nesters, we are afforded the time and space to look at ourselves in new ways. These past months of crisis have helped us to ask old questions with renewed urgency, expand our vision, and deepen our purpose. I'd like to share these developments with you: [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-empty-nest-and-what-comes-next-for-dragons [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-07-06 10:47:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-07-06 16:47:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 48 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 48 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 641 [name] => About Dragons [slug] => about_dragons [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 641 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [parent] => 0 [count] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 53 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/about_dragons/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 651 [name] => Announcements [slug] => announcements [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 651 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [parent] => 0 [count] => 60 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 14 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 60 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Global Community, About Dragons ... )
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    [post_date] => 2020-06-27 08:00:26
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-06-27 14:00:26
    [post_content] => This blog post is written by Claire Bennett, a Dragons Instructor who usually resides in Nepal, but who has spent the months of the pandemic hunkering down in Indonesia, after supporting the Bridge Year Program there earlier this year. Claire worked with Lutfi Handayani, Dragons Local Coordinator, to distribute a Community Relief Fund grant in Yogyakarta.

On our way into the public health office in Yogyakarta we had seen a pick-up truck, sirens blazing, full of people in hazmat suits. It was this trip that really opened my eyes to the scale of the pandemic here in Indonesia. Up until that point, the number of cases of COVID-19 in the country that I somewhat unexpectedly have called home for the last few months, seemed to be within reasonable limits. (Although my definition of “reasonable” has been warped by the comparison to other countries I hold dear which have fared much worse, like my native UK.)

Lutfi and I had applied to the Dragons Community Relief Fund for a small project here in Yogya. Part of the grant was to donate 25 sets of PPE to the local public health office. Procuring the suits had been no small feat; they are not available for general purchase, so we had needed to locate the correct material and then take it to a tailor to sew the suits to the required specification. I marveled that the government had resorted to appealing to the public to donate hand-sewn hazmat suits.

To enter the public health office it is mandatory to wash your hands and wear a facemask. We asked one of the administrators where the pick-up truck we had seen was headed. “To collect and bury the body of a seven-year-old girl who died this morning,” was the reply, and we wished we hadn’t asked. Still, she would not be counted among the case statistics as she was still on the waiting list to have the test that would have confirmed it. “Most of the people that die are in the ‘suspected’ category,” we were told. “But we still have to treat the bodies like they had the virus – that’s why we are running out of PPE.”

Our donation was to protect public health workers overwhelmed by the rising death tolls here. It felt like a good use of a very small amount of funds.

[caption id="attachment_157207" align="aligncenter" width="715"] Photo by Claire Bennett, Instructor.[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_157205" align="aligncenter" width="715"] Photo by Claire Bennett, Instructor.[/caption]

The other thing we planned to do with the community grant was something we knew would provide immediate relief; giving small amounts of essential food and supplies to those hit hardest by the crisis.
Indonesia is in an unusual situation in that there has been no nationwide lockdown, and no shelter-in-place instructions have been given except for in areas of exceptionally high transmission such as the capital.
The government has declared that a lockdown would be too hard on the country’s daily wage earners, who make up a significant proportion of the population. Despite this, the economic impact of the crisis has hit Indonesia hard, as tourism ceased, restaurants reluctantly shut their doors due to declining demand, construction work has stopped, and markets have closed. A large number of families have lost their only source of income. In my work with Learning Service I have often spoken out against “handouts” as a form of charity, as it leads to dependency instead of systemic change. However in the face of an immediate need such as a natural disaster or, as we have found, economic fallout from a pandemic, there is a need for a stopgap, and when people are struggling to feed their families there isn’t time to make longer-term plans. We decided to focus on the two areas of town that host our Dragons students – Tamansiswa, where the semester program house is located, and Kotagede, the community that hosts the Princeton Bridge Year groups. In both communities, we worked with local leaders to identify families most in need, which ended up being 20 families around Tamansiswa and 19 in Kotagede. The community chief in Tamansiswa also requested us to install a small public hand-washing station to promote good hygiene practices for the duration of the pandemic. The food packages were comprised of bare essentials, to ensure that we were not giving anything that would be wasted. 5kg of rice (of course, we are in Indonesia), cooking oil, salt, sugar, tea, eggs, hand soap, and naturally the ubiquitous “Indomie” instant noodles. The packages were delivered to the community leaders who distributed them anonymously in order to avoid questions or jealousy. [caption id="attachment_157136" align="alignnone" width="2560"] Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Instructor.[/caption]
In lots of ways, the support that we offered with this community fund was minimal: a token of support and solidarity in troubled times. But I also like to think it had a modest impact.
For the relatively tiny amount of just US $525, we were able to make 25 hazmat suits for public health workers, support 39 struggling families with a couple of weeks’ groceries, and set up a public hand-washing station. Along with boxes of food and soap, the Dragons community also offered our community in Yogyakarta a sense of hope in these dark times. A huge thank you to all who have donated so far!    

Dragons Fund is a program of the COMMON Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax-deductible as permitted by U.S. tax law.

 
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[post_title] => INDONESIA (YOGYAKARTA)—DRAGONS COMMUNITY RELIEF FUND IN ACTION [post_excerpt] => Lutfi and I had applied to the Dragons Community Relief Fund for a small project here in Yogya. Part of the grant was to donate 25 sets of PPE to the local public health office. Procuring the suits had been no small feat; they are not available for general purchase, so we had needed to locate the correct material and then take it to a tailor to sew the suits to the required specification. I marveled that the government had resorted to appealing to the public to donate hand-sewn hazmat suits. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => indonesia-yogyakarta-community-grant-update [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-06-27 09:07:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-06-27 15:07:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 76 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 76 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 48 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 48 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 641 [name] => About Dragons [slug] => about_dragons [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 641 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [parent] => 0 [count] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 53 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community ... )
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