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] => 2019-01-17 14:42:32
    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-17 21:42:32
    [post_content] => 

This week at Dragons HQ, we're quite busy with our annual Admin retreat. In our administrative absence, we offer you this lovely image, from India, by Michael Woodard.

It's captioned: "Marigold garlands have important cultural and religious significance in India and are commonly offered to the Hindu gods and goddesses." Marigold India Garland Hindu Thanks for your patience this week. Back to regular business on Monday! Sincerely, Dragons HQ [post_title] => Featured Photo (from India) by Michael Woodard [post_excerpt] => This week at Dragons HQ, we're quite busy with our annual Admin retreat. In our administrative absence, we offer you this lovely image by Michael Woodard. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => featured-photo-by-michael-woodard [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-01-29 15:05:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-29 22:05:13 [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] => 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] => 33 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 33 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/mixed_media/ ) ) [category_links] => Mixed Media )
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    [post_date] => 2019-01-10 12:44:43
    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-10 19:44:43
    [post_content] => 

We love to feature the projects that keep our instructors inspired and busy when they aren't leading Dragons trips. Read on to learn about REISA (which stands for Independent Network of Educator for Food Sovereignty) from Erick Torres, one of Dragons Central America Instructors....

Hello Dear Dragons Community and Friends!

I want to share with you all a project I have been working for the last four years, between Dragons and my time in Central America working with SERES organization. (I have been working with SERES sharing Permaculture and Agroecology intensive courses and workshops for young community leaders from Central America since 2014.) Now I am working and coordinating a project with four other Guatemalan educators and one from the US, to offer more educational programs to our young people, mostly in Guatemala and El Salvador. We have created REISA, which stands in Spanish for Red de Educadores Independientes por la Soberania Alimentaria or Independent Network of Educator for Food Sovereignty in English. This project has been created by the need to offer and share safe spaces of environmental and agroecology education for our young people. In this way, they can have tools and alternatives to develop and manage Agro-ecological projects in their communities and generate more opportunities for work, economic income, and environmental awareness. We hope that they won't leave their communities trying to go to the US. We all know how difficult that situation is and we need those young leaders staying in our countries in order to improve the life of their families and their communities. I want to invite you all to visit our REISA website, to see what we have done and what we want to do this year. We already start a crowdfunding campaign and I would like to ask you a huge favor, if you could please help us by sharing the project with your family, friends, and coworkers via Facebook and Instagram. We will deeply appreciate it and we will be grateful for your help to aiding us to share more Agroecological education for young community leaders in Central America! Un abrazo grande! Les deseo lo mejor para el año 2019! Maltiox Chawe ! Urpillay Sonkollay ! Muchas Gracias! Thanks ! Erick Torres

Head on over to the REISA website for more videos and details on the project. And here's the crowdfunding campaign if you'd like to financially support this good work!

  [post_title] => Featured Project: REISA - The Network of Independent Educators for Food Sovereignty [post_excerpt] => We love to feature the projects that keep our instructors inspired and engaged when they aren't leading Dragons trips. Read on to learn about REISA from Erick Torres, one of our Central America Instructors.... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => featured-project-reisa-the-network-of-independent-educators-for-food-sovereignty [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-01-17 14:44:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-17 21:44:04 [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] => 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] => 21 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8 [cat_ID] => 640 [category_count] => 21 [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 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/dragons_instructors/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 669 [name] => Engage [slug] => engage [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 669 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [parent] => 0 [count] => 12 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 13 [cat_ID] => 669 [category_count] => 12 [category_description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [cat_name] => Engage [category_nicename] => engage [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/engage/ ) ) [category_links] => Dragons Instructors, Engage )
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    [post_date] => 2019-01-02 15:29:20
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This is how we at Dragons HQ are heading into 2019.

Happy New Year to all. And thank you, Amrit Ale, for this lovely image summing up it up (and keeping it sacred)...

[caption id="attachment_154233" align="aligncenter" width="429"] Photo by Amrit Ale, @himalayanquests. Nepal.[/caption]

Captioned: "Offering butter lamps is the most powerful offering because their light symbolizes wisdom. Just as a lamp dispels darkness, offering light from a butter lamp represents removing the darkness of ignorance in order to attain Buddha’s luminous clear wisdom."

[post_title] => Featured Instagram Photo by Amrit Ale [post_excerpt] => This is how we at Dragons HQ are heading into 2019. Happy New Year to all. And thank you, Amrit Ale, for this lovely image summing up it up and keeping it sacred... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => featured-instagram-photo-by-amrit-ale [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-01-02 15:32:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-02 22:32:17 [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] => 12 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 12 [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] => 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] => 33 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 33 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/mixed_media/ ) ) [category_links] => Global Community, Mixed Media )
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    [post_date] => 2018-12-26 11:26:36
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-26 18:26:36
    [post_content] => 

The WSJ forgot to give us exact credits, but none-the-less we are excited to see our Bridge Year Program featured in the education section of the Wall Street Journal.

The piece is titled, Welcome to College. Take a Year Off.

Here's an excerpt:

"Peter Scharer, a freshman at Princeton, spent last year studying Hindi and Urdu and volunteering at a school in northern India as part of Princeton’s Bridge Year program.

The university launched that offering for 20 students in 2009, and this year it is funding 38 students doing service projects in Bolivia, China, India, Indonesia or Senegal. Princeton covers basic living expenses and offers need-based aid for travel and incidentals like visa paperwork.

“I was stepping away from the cycle that I had been in,” said Mr. Scharer, now 19 years old. He said the program was “a powerful way to get a different perspective on the world, better understand myself, [and] better understand what I might be interested in studying.”

Mr. Scharer said he has a new outlook on things like consumption and waste after seeing an open dump in India, and on the best way to offer aid to a needy community. He just finished a class on the interplay between national identity and language."

You can read more reflections from Peter Scharer's Princeton Bridge Year India group on our Yak board, or learn more about our Bridge Year Programs in India, Bolivia, China, Indonesia, and Senegal on Princeton's website. Or head over to the Wall Street Journal to read the full article! [post_title] => Our Bridge Year Program Featured in the Wall Street Journal this week.... [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => our-bridge-year-program-featured-in-the-wall-street-journal-this-week [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-26 11:38:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-26 18:38:34 [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] => 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] => 33 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 33 [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] => 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] => 26 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 26 [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/ ) ) [category_links] => For Parents, About Dragons )
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    [post_date] => 2018-12-20 10:36:54
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Please enjoy the following featured yak, written by Tabita Doujad, a student on the Fall 2018 South America: Andes & Amazon Semester (Group A).

It will be hard to tell the whole story.

I began my Dragons journey with all of my future plans in limbo. This was no accident; it was an intentional creation of space for something wildly new to grow. Because I am a person who has craved control over much of her life, who feels most comfortable when a sturdy plan is in sight, I knew that if I wanted to learn anything real about uncertainty and maybe, eventually, trust, I had to leave the second half of my gap year unscheduled. The thought of coming home after this Dragons trip without any real plans burdened me with anxiety for the first third of the adventure. I carried a kind of fear in my chest, a voice that asked me sometimes, What if you get stuck? What if this adventure is your only one? But I told myself, this is good for you. This uncertainty is what you need. Because you see, I also began my gap year with a kind of philosophy, a half-formed theory in mind.
I carried a kind of fear in my chest, a voice that asked me sometimes, What if you get stuck?
It’s an idea about trust: I want to believe in, or at least live by, the hope that if I give my energy and my efforts to the life I want to lead, things will come to me. Roads will open up for me if I trust enough in their possibility. I believe that that kind of trust and my willingness to engage with the world matters; I believe it plays a part in the unfolding of my life’s events. I think of it all as kind of a net. The net can be anything at all- a kind human being, a seemingly magical coincidence, a piece of good news, a story, or a door swinging open to a new journey. Like a crowd of people carrying a singer, or a friend… it is what catches you when you’ve gathered up enough courage and trust to let yourself fall. Leaving this part of my gap year empty felt like falling. I had (and have) no plans to attend college yet. Along with some other reasons, I wanted to see how far this wave of adventurous living could take me. I wanted to see what could come of a lifestyle that revolved around that idea of trust and flow.
This uncertainty is what you need.
In a kind of practice for my time post-Dragons, I learned to trust in small things on our three-month journey. My best example of this is the day that I let my friends cut my hair. One day, nearing the end of our final, 8-day trek, my group and I set up our tents, ate plates of pasta and organized gear. Then we gathered on the grass of the campsite with scissors and pocket knives, and a small ceremony began. I wore Ella’s rain poncho as a makeshift barber’s cloak, we ran a comb through my hair, and then, one by one, everyone cut a piece. I felt the dull pair of scissors that Edson, our guide, had brought from the kitchen house, go straight up the side of my skull, and I knew there was no going back, no resisting anymore. It was like a metaphor for the entire journey: I had to have trust in each one of the people who were taking part in this experience. It was my first haircut without a mirror, with only the faces of my beautiful friends to read as they piled onto the grass in front of me after cutting their piece (pictured in the photo above!). They looked worried, which worried me, but they all encouraged me with love. In the end, when I did look in the mirror, I was thrilled (and surprised) to see that it was honestly the best haircut I’d ever had. The care that my friends had taken with me, the energy that they had put into their work, was part of what made it special. I want to remember now how that kind of trust can lead to something beautiful.
They looked worried, which worried me, but they all encouraged me with love.
As I move now into the uncharted territory of my post-Dragons year, I think of all that I will carry with me from this trip, that lesson in trust being one of them. Our Ana, who led us in a ceremony on the last night of our adventure, told us to “guardar en sus corazones este viaje, como un recuerdo bonito.” To keep this journey in our hearts, like a beautiful memory. I want it to be a memory that lends itself to action. This has been a journey that has taught me how to be patient, how to think deeply, how to be respectful, how to have more courage, how to listen well. I will carry so many of the things that it gave me into the rest of my life. Stepping into the airport of my home city yesterday, I thought, over and over again: It will be hard to tell the whole story. It has been 24 hours now, and I’m still at a loss for proper words. Any real retelling of the past three months would be full not only of the things that I have lived, but would dive, also, into the imagined perspectives of other lives. This story is not just mine. To tell it, to express its complexity and richness, its reality and its surreality, to understand and to explain each of the implications and impacts that it had on every person that it touched, is an impossible task that I’ll never undertake in one Yak alone. Some things can’t be written at all.
Our Ana, who led us in a ceremony on the last night of our adventure, told us to “guardar en sus corazones este viaje, como un recuerdo bonito.” To keep this journey in our hearts, like a beautiful memory.
The story of this viaje will escape my being in a myriad of colorful ways; in conversations full of laughter with my family and friends, in the newly-conscious choices that I’ll make as a consumer, in my dreams at night of the places and people I’ve left behind, in my newfound love for spontaneous backyard haircuts, in every plan I make as I decide what roads I want to take next. The story of this semester will tell itself, will find its way from my memories and into my life every day, even when I am not aware of it. It’ll linger in my physical form: my legs harboring the faint remains of hundreds of mosquito bites from the Amazon; my shoulders still sore but made stronger by carrying my heavy pack, the choppy, short haircut through which I will tell, for a little while, the story of all of my friends. Two days ago, I was in Urubamba, waking up in a room full of friends, trying to get some breakfast into my nervous, emotional stomach, stretching my arms out of the window of a bus and feeling like flying. Two days ago I was saying goodbye: to the small apple orchard and to the owners of the Sacred Valley hostel where we stayed, to the cobblestone streets of downtown Cusco, to the the sun-warm and elegant mountains of the Cordillera Real. To my dear friend Emmy, and to my three instructors who I have come to love and admire so deeply. Looking out the window of our first airplane, I took my last look at Peru in the light of day. My last, for a while. For a little while.
I wasn’t expecting any grand transformations to come from these three months of travel. Yet this experience has changed me beyond any physical marks...
My backpack is still half-full, and small reminders of the adventure are strewn about my bedroom. When I left home, I said I wasn’t really going to change, that I wasn’t expecting any grand transformations to come from these three months of travel. Yet this experience has changed me beyond any physical marks, and what a transformative three months this has been. I have been changed by the love I have received, been challenged by it too; have grown up in the face of the worlds that have been shown to me, larger and more complex than anything I knew at home. Coming back home now, unpacking my memories, I am surprised by small differences that are markers of the person I’ve become. The gal that I’m becoming. She’s ready to fall in, now. To be brave with whatever comes next. I carry now in my heart, in place of fear, the light of possibility.
I carry now in my heart, in place of fear, the light of possibility.
Thank you, Dragones. Love, Tabita.     [post_title] => I SAID I WASN’T GOING TO CHANGE - A Featured Student Reflection [post_excerpt] => Please enjoy this lovely featured reflection written by Tabita Doujad, a student on the Fall 2018 South America: Andes & Amazon Semester (Group A). [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => i-said-i-wasnt-going-to-change-featured-yak-tabita-doujad [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-20 10:42:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-20 17:42:32 [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] => 46 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 46 [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] => 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] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 25 [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] => From the Field, Alumni Spotlight )
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    [post_date] => 2018-12-13 10:03:07
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    [post_content] => 
"It blends my love of cute things with India and this desire that I have for people to understand the rest of the world better," Sommers says.

This week, we are celebrating the recognition of Christy Sommers (Dragons South Asia Program Director) and her feature by NPR this week in a piece titled, "Dear Internet: Goats In Sweaters Are Cuter Than Kittens In Mittens." We encourage you to read the article and see for yourself seven "impossibly cute" photos of goats wearing sweaters!

From the NPR article:

"Christy Sommers, who takes the photos, first noticed the cuteness that is clothed goats in 2010, while living in a village in northwestern Bangladesh as a Fulbright scholar studying rural primary education. Now she considers the project as adding "net happiness" to the world and helping to share a little slice of life from parts of the world that Americans don't often get to see."

PS. There's also a calendar. Sales of which benefit local organizations in Varanasi, India. Sounds like Christy quickly sold out after the NPR feature, but she's working on a re-print! More details here. [post_title] => Christy Sommers & Her Featured Goats in Sweaters! [post_excerpt] => This week, we are celebrating the recognition of Christy Sommers (Dragons South Asia Program Director) and her feature by NPR this week in a piece titled, "Dear Internet: Goats In Sweaters Are Cuter Than Kittens In Mittens." We encourage you to read the article and see for yourself seven "impossibly cute" photos of goats wearing sweaters!  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => christy-sommers-her-featured-goats-in-sweaters [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-13 10:04:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-13 17:04:27 [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] => 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] => 21 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8 [cat_ID] => 640 [category_count] => 21 [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 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/dragons_instructors/ ) [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] => 9 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 11 [cat_ID] => 670 [category_count] => 9 [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] => 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] => 33 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 33 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Dragons Instructors, Recommended ... )
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