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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Where There Be Dragons

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    [post_date] => 2018-10-25 10:15:36
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    [post_content] => Our Alumni Ambassadors are an integral part of the Dragons community and work alongside the Boulder Admin Team to reinvigorate our alumni network and help brainstorm and offer feedback on the direction of Dragons development initiatives.

Congratulations to our 2019 team of Ambassadors! We're so excited to collaborate with you. And even more excited to HOST you this month at our HQ in Boulder!
PS. Rumor has it our Ambassadors might take over Dragons Instagram feed during their Ambassador Retreat from Nov. 2nd - 5th. So keep your eye out more from these faces...

"I live in Boulder, Colorado, and while I love waking up to the sight of the Rocky Mountains every morning, this summer I was given the opportunity to trade my mountains with the rolling green hills, covered with tea plants, of northeast India."

SOPHIE REEVESEASTERN HIMALAYAS: WEST BENGAL TO SIKKIM

 

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"I am Lithuanian, Russian, and American. Traveling, discovering new places, and adapting has defined my life since I moved to a new country when I was 10 and dived into the unknown."

ANNA DUDINA,  BOLIVIA: SPIRIT OF THE ANDES

 

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"Be afraid, it’s normal. Be nervous and worry about things that might go wrong, it’s normal. But be yourself, it’s all you can wholeheartedly be, and before you know it the things that once made you uncomfortable, will be your favorite stories to tell."

IVAN GARCIABOLIVA: SPIRIT OF THE ANDES

 

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"I didn’t realize how much I would learn beyond improving my language. I was amazed by the generosity of my host families, and there was never a moment I wasn’t learning something new from my group of awesome students and instructors."

LILLIAN ELLISCHINA: MANDARIN LANGUAGE INTENSIVE

 

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"Being an artist, I have been trying to figure out ways to merge my love for creating with my desire to bring awareness on global issues to my friends and family at home. Therefore, as part of my senior art show, I am dedicating my time to making a piece that tells the story of the different hardships and struggles facing our world today."

VANESSA PAYNEGUATEMALA: SPANISH LANGAUGE INTENSIVE

 

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"I currently live in San Francisco, am a senior at Redwood High School in the Bay Area, and have been fortunate enough to go on two trips with Dragons. One to Peru for 6 weeks at age 14, and another to China along the Silk Road at age 16. I’m a strong believer in the idea that the most growth an individual can do is outside of their comfort zone."

TIM KOENCHINA: SILK ROAD & PERU: SACRED MOUNTAIN

 

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"I would like to leave you with a simple, but significant saying that one of my instructors often said to our group: “La vida es loca y todo puede pasar.” That is, life is crazy, and anything can happen, so please do not mute the voice inside you and instead embark on a journey that connects you to a world beyond the one you now know."

LINDSEY O'NEILLGUATEMALA: SPANISH LANGAUGE INTENSIVE

 

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"Personally, when I venture into the unknown I like to turn up the introspection and challenge my brain to see the bigger, more global picture. I’ve often found that I discover myself only when I am “lost.”

EMMA BAILEYPERU: SACRED MOUNTAIN & INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, AND CONSERVATION

 

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"To me, nothing can compare to the thrill of discovering the unknown, then diving deep into it, and learning all I can from it.  Why should I reuse my old habits when new ones are far more exciting?"

SETH FISHER-OLVERAGUATEMALA: SPANISH LANGAUGE INTENSIVE

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Again, look for more from our 2019 Student Ambassadors via their Instagram Takeover Nov. 2nd - 5th!

[post_title] => Meet our 2019 Student Alumni Ambassadors! [post_excerpt] => Our Alumni Ambassadors are an integral part of the Dragons community and work alongside the Boulder Admin Team to reinvigorate our alumni network and help brainstorm and offer feedback on the direction of Dragons development initiatives. Meet our 2019 cohort! [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => meet-our-2019-student-alumni-ambassadors [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-11-08 11:11:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-11-08 18:11:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 700 [name] => For Parents [slug] => for_parents [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 700 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [parent] => 0 [count] => 28 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 28 [category_description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [cat_name] => For Parents [category_nicename] => for_parents [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/for_parents/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 646 [name] => Alumni Spotlight [slug] => alumni_spotlight [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 646 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [parent] => 0 [count] => 21 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 21 [category_description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [cat_name] => Alumni Spotlight [category_nicename] => alumni_spotlight [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/alumni_spotlight/ ) ) [category_links] => For Parents, Alumni Spotlight )
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    [post_content] => It was extremely hard for the committee to choose only three winners, but we've posted the 1-minute videos selected as our three top #dragonsvisualstory contest winners on Instagram this week.

You can watch the videos on instagram by clicking on the videos below...

[caption id="attachment_153754" align="aligncenter" width="460"] 1-minute visual story video by Katherine Marcus of Dragons Guatemala: Community in Action program.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_153752" align="aligncenter" width="460"] 1-minute visual story video made by Jenna Einhorn, a student on Dragons Summer 2018 Nepal - Traditions of the Himalayas Program.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_153753" align="aligncenter" width="459"] 1-minute video from Vanessa Payne with imagery and sounds from this summer’s Guatemala Spanish Language Intensive 4-week course.[/caption]

Congratulations Vanessa, Jenna, and Katherine!

And thank you to ALL those who put love into their beautiful video contest submissions. They were an honor to watch! Sincerely, Dragons HQ [post_title] => Announcing our Three 1-minute "Visual Story" Video Contest Winners! [post_excerpt] => It was extremely hard for the committee to choose only three, but we're thrilled to announce and share with you the top three 1-minute videos selected as the #dragonsvisualstory contest winners... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => announcing-our-three-1-minute-visual-story-video-contest-winners [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-10-18 12:18:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-18 18:18:25 [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] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 2 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 39 [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] => 700 [name] => For Parents [slug] => for_parents [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 700 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [parent] => 0 [count] => 28 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 28 [category_description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [cat_name] => For Parents [category_nicename] => for_parents [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/for_parents/ ) [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] => 29 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 29 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 ) [3] => 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] => 31 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 31 [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] => From the Field, For Parents ... )
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    [post_content] => As a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, I grew quite fond of mealtime. Each afternoon and evening, my host family and I would gather around a large silver bowl placed upon a plastic mat. Squatting in the shade of the wide green arms of a mango tree, we scooped delicious fistfuls of savory sauces and white rice into our hungry mouths. Meals were completely satisfying. In my reflections, I realize that I was being nourished not only by the food, but also by the company I kept. Meals were a communal pause in our day, often followed by napping, drinking sweet mint tea, and braiding hair.

Upon returning to the States, I processed  my experience in Senegal by attending West African cultural events, printing myriads of black and white photographs, and cooking Senegalese food for friends. One of my favorite dishes to make was mafé gerte, or Senegalese Peanut Sauce. Simple yet scrumptious, this dish has served as one of the bridges between my Colorado mountain life and the years I resided in a round, earthen hut, gathering each day for the ageless ritual of sharing a meal.

Mafé Gerte

[caption id="attachment_153727" align="alignright" width="401"] Mafé Gerte pictured. Photo by Elke Schmidt, Senegal.[/caption]

Ingredients

  • Onion (1 large white)
  • Garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • Sweet potato (1 medium sized)
  • Carrots (2 medium sized)
  • Potato (1-2 medium sized)
  • Cabbage (approx 3 cups)
  • Habanero pepper
  • Oil of your choice (2-3 tsps)
  • Peanut Butter (½ cup to 1 cup depending on preference for thickness)
  • Tomato Paste (2 tsps - helps cut the sweetness of the peanut butter)
  • Water or broth (a bullion cube in water works well)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper (Lots of it! A few tsps)
  • Cayenne (A pinch)
  • Rice
This dish is traditionally made with goat meat, which can be added with the onions if you prefer meat in your sauce. Directions:
  1. Cook rice while preparing sauce.
  2. Sauté onion in oil on medium heat until golden.
  3. Add vegetables including garlic, sweet potato, potato, and cabbage and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add 4-8 cups of water or broth (depending on how thick you like your sauce.)
  5. Once water is boiling, add peanut butter, tomato paste and spices.
  6. Turn to a low simmer and cook until sauce is reduced and vegetables are cooked (10-20 minutes).
  7. Serve over rice and enjoy!
Make sure you remove the habanero pepper so someone doesn’t get a hot surprise in their mouth. In the village, the pepper is passed around and dabbed on each person’s portion (it’s that hot!) Bon appetite! Ps. Do you have a favorite recipe from your travels that you'd like to share? Share it with megan@wheretherebedragons.com  
CO-DIRECTOR OF ADULT PROGRAMS
  [post_title] => Recipe for Senegalese Peanut Sauce Mafé Gerte [post_excerpt] => Upon returning to the States, I processed my experience in Senegal by attending West African cultural events, printing myriads of black and white photographs, and cooking Senegalese food for friends. One of my favorite dishes to make was mafé gerte, or Senegalese Peanut Sauce... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => recipe-for-senegalese-peanut-sauce-mafe-gerte [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-09-27 12:09:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-09-27 18:09:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [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] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 2 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 39 [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] => 11 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 11 [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/ ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community )
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    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_153725" align="aligncenter" width="431"] Photo by Elke Schmidt, Senegal Program.[/caption]

  

As I meander down a sandy path in the Senegalese neighborhood of Yoff, I hear someone shout, “Kai Lekk!” I look up knowing that this familiar Wolof phrase meaning “Come Eat!” is in fact an invitation. A smiling face glows at me from a circle of people who are gathered around a silver bowl, their right hands beholding greasy rice. They are participating in an ageless afternoon African tradition of gathering amongst friends and family to enjoy a home cooked meal. In this case, they are eating my favorite, thieboudienne, Senegal’s National Dish, which consists of a scrumptious mélange of cooked vegetables, spicy stuffed white fish, and rice cooked with tomato paste.
thieboudienne, Senegal’s National Dish, consists of a scrumptious mélange of cooked vegetables, spicy stuffed white fish, and rice cooked with tomato paste  
[caption id="attachment_153726" align="alignleft" width="420"] Plates of cheb (rice), by Elke Schmidt, Senegal Program.[/caption] In any language in Senegal you will find the same message to come eat called out time and time again.  In a country where people have so little in terms of material items, where the entirety of a person's belongings can sometimes fit into a recycled aluminum can trunk, it shocks me that generosity and hospitality are offered without hesitation.  A personal example that elucidates this happened over a decade ago. In 2006, I was guiding a group of a dozen adventurous Dragons students through the rolling green hills of southern Senegal. We wanted to explore this seldom-visited nook of West Africa on foot in an attempt to witness and experience rural life first hand. One particularly beautiful afternoon, we came upon a remote village of earthen round, hobbit-like, thatched roof huts perched in a cluster amongst a vibrant parade of rainy season greenery.  Weary from a day of hiking uphill under the relentless West African sun, we stumbled towards the Chief’s abode to inquire about lodging. Without missing a beat he exclaimed, “Bismililaye! You are welcome to stay in my village but you must be my guest!” With his large smile and readiness to share, he exuded terranga, a Wolof word roughly translating to outrageous hospitality. [caption id="attachment_153727" align="alignright" width="408"] Mbouille & friends with plate of Mafe Gerte. Photo taken by Babacar Mbaye.[/caption] For me, “Kai lekk” and terranga are Senegal’s national pride. I’ve spent 18 years now traversing the Atlantic at any opportunity that arises to find myself in a country I continue to find a delightful amalgam of the challenging and the inspiring. On the one hand, I struggle with the oppressive heat that inspires rivulets of sweat to run down my stomach, the piles of trash on the urban beaches, and the barefoot children in tattered clothes with outstretched tomato paste cans begging for a sugar cube or a few coins. On the other hand, I am moved by the Senegalese ability to laugh, to be adorned in vibrant colors, and the way a stranger is called over to take a handful of rice or share rounds of sweet mint tea with neighbors.  Through the trials and joys of nearly two decades of a tumultuous love affair with Senegal, she has been my greatest teacher of gratitude, generosity, and the enormous potential of the human spirit. If you’d like to experience the way of Senegalese hospitality and eat delicious thieboudienne while you’re at it, consider joining us on one of our West African adventures. For adults, warm up from winter this February on our Music & Mysticism trip. For students, we offer In The Shade of the Boabob Tree, a 4-week summer program, and Rhythms of Senegal, a vibrant gap year semester program in West Africa.   

Ps. If you'd like to know how to make a simple and incredibly delicious Senegalese staple, read how to make the peanut sauce Mafé Gerte!

CO-DIRECTOR OF ADULT PROGRAMS
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    [post_content] => 
One of our dear friends and a longtime Dragons instructor, Gina Collignon, has started a campaign to help bring our friend Sandy Pinto, one of our Bolivia instructors and a well-known Afro-Bolivian activist and organizer, to Honduras as part of a delegation supporting human rights, feminist initiatives, and awareness-raising surrounding violence against women under the Honduran dictatorship and in the wider region: Building Bridges of Solidarity. This effort is part of an initiative to help make these delegations availability to a wider demographic, specifically supporting women of color from the Global South to be part of these kinds of delegations.  As Gina writes:
I am part of an amazing community of people who understand the power of travel. What can happen when we use that power not just for our own personal growth, but to also grow connections between amazing organizers who might not otherwise have the chance to meet? I would love to find out.
Please consider contributing to this cause, even a small sum can go a long way!
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    [post_date] => 2018-09-20 10:53:31
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    [post_content] => 

Did you know Dragons now offers an advanced level course for alumni of Dragons and other expedition, leadership, and international experiences?

The new program is for participants ages 18-25 and runs from Feb 7 - Apr 29, 2019. The itinerary was handcrafted by veteran Dragons instructor Tim Hare and includes wilderness exploration, Andean culture, Spanish language, and rock climbing. The course was developed in shared-vision and collaboration with the High Mountain Institute.

Read on for a bit of Tim's inspiration in designing the course:

TIM HARE
DIRECTOR OF RISK MANAGEMENT
----------
ON THE ANDES LEADERSHIP SEMESTER*
"The Andes mountains have captivated me for over 15 years, drawing me back to climb granite spires in southern Argentina, or walk through spacious wilderness of Patagonia or high glaciated peaks of Bolivia. The diversity of landscapes and cultures along the Andes Mountain range is breathtaking and I continue to learn so much from the various mountain communities and ways that humans have learned to relate to their natural surrounding in this region. "
ANDES LEADERSHIP SEMESTER*
PATAGONIA TO PERU
*The Andes Leadership semester is for students who have participated on a prior travel program or HMI course. 
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