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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Dear Dragons Community,

On this memorial day weekend, the Dragons community mourns the death of a different kind of national hero. 23 year old Taliesin Myrddin, an alumnus of the Indonesia Fall Semester-2011, was fatally stabbed while attempting to stop anti-Muslim hate speech against two women on a train in Portland, OR. His sister, Vajra Alaya-Maitreya, emailed a statement to The Washington Post on behalf of their family:

“We lost him in a senseless act that brought close to home the insidious rift of prejudice and intolerance that is too familiar, too common. He was resolute in his conduct (and) respect of all people,” she wrote. “In his final act of bravery, he held true to what he believed is the way forward. He will live in our hearts forever as the just, brave, loving, hilarious and beautiful soul he was. We ask that in honor of his memory, we use this tragedy as an opportunity for reflection and change. We choose love.”

Taliesin represents the best of what Dragons stands for in this world. May his life, and his final act, give us all strength to continue the work of creating a more empathetic, understanding, and humane world. Taliesin, and the others who intervened, are an inspiration for our entire community to stand up against the voices of violence and intolerance which seek to undermine our shared humanity. Dragons is committed to its programming throughout the Muslim world in order to continue fostering meaningful cross-cultural understanding and further strengthen the bonds of our global community.

Dragons is participating in the campaigns to support the victims' families.

[post_title] => Honoring Taliesin [post_excerpt] => On this memorial day weekend, the Dragons community mourns the death of a different kind of national hero. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => honoring-taliesin [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-31 16:03:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-31 22:03:18 [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] => 669 [name] => Engage [slug] => engage [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 669 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [parent] => 0 [count] => 23 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 13 [cat_ID] => 669 [category_count] => 23 [category_description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [cat_name] => Engage [category_nicename] => engage [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/engage/ ) [1] => 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] => 57 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 14 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 57 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/announcements/ ) ) [category_links] => Engage, Announcements )
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    [post_date] => 2017-05-26 15:44:39
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    [post_content] => "Students share images from a day in the life of a Bridge Year participant in Varanasi, India. From early morning cultural enrichment activities to the daily commute to evening time with host family members, this video captures many of the subtler moments that comprise the Bridge Year experience."

Visit the Princeton Bridge Year site to view the video!

(Or see all the Bridge Year updates from 2016-2017).


    [post_title] => Bridge Year India - Video Update from the Field
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    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_151236" align="alignnone" width="1202"] Visit Instagram to see the full slideshow.[/caption]

Captioned: "indo 2017 || i miss the constant human connection. i miss the constant company, the laughs, the talks. i miss waking up next to people who care. || an experience like this cannot be summed up in words. sure you can ask me and i can tell you about all the amazing things we did and learned ~ but that's not the most important part. what mattered most were the connections made, the friendships formed, and the revelations had. never before have i been pushed so hard out of my comfort zone not only physically but also emotionally. i may seem like the same person on the outside, but i'm a new person on the inside. things that mattered so much to me before now no longer matter and things that didn't matter before matter so much now. i met people on this trip who made me think, question my opinions, and ask big questions about myself and the way i want to approach life has shifted dramatically because of it. || but with all of this comes heartbreak. i miss the people i met on this trip who walked into my life as strangers but who are now forever unforgettable. the people who showed up every day and were there for me always. the people who fundamentally changed me and shaped me into a better person. i miss the simple joy of exploring indonesia with them - always learning, always growing. words cannot express the love and gratitude i feel for them. || indonesia was 3 months of my life. indonesia sometimes feels like a dream ~ i ask myself if it ever happened. i am writing this as a dedication to those who filled my heart with such overwhelming warmth, love, and gratitude, to those who embodied the spirit of adventure, and to those who made me fall head over heels in love with life again. @wheretherebedragons #wheretherebedragons"
    [post_title] => Featured Instagram Slideshow by @elenagadekar from Indonesia
    [post_excerpt] => indo 2017 || i miss the constant human connection. i miss the constant company, the laughs, the talks. i miss waking up next to people who care. || an experience like this cannot be summed up in words. sure you can ask me and i can tell you about all the amazing things we did and learned ~ but that's not the most important part. what mattered most were...
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    [post_content] => Where There Be Dragons is the on-site organizational partner of the Princeton Bridge Year Program. For those unfamiliar with Bridge Year, here's a description from the Princeton Bridge Year Website:

Bridge Year is a tuition-free program that allows a select number of incoming freshmen to begin their Princeton experience by engaging in nine months of University-sponsored service at one of five international locations. In addition to supporting community-based initiatives at each program site, Bridge Year aims to provide participants with greater international perspective and intercultural skills, an opportunity for personal growth and reflection, and a deeper appreciation of service in both a local and international context.

And  an excerpt from the announcement:

"We are thrilled to be able to offer students the opportunity to explore Indonesian society and culture at our new program site in Yogyakarta, located on the island of Java," said John Luria, director of the Bridge Year Program. "As with all of our program locations, volunteers in Indonesia will engage in service work, study the local language and immerse themselves in the local community."

You can learn more about the new Princeton Bridge Year Indonesia program by reading the full story Princeton's website: Bridge Year Program to offer new program in Indonesia. Save Save Save [post_title] => New Bridge Year Indonesia Program [post_excerpt] => Dragons is thrilled to announce the development of two new programs in Indonesia... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-bridge-year-indonesia-program [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-20 15:57:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-20 21:57:21 [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] => 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] => 57 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 14 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 57 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/announcements/ ) ) [category_links] => Announcements )
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    [post_date] => 2017-05-08 11:55:51
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    [post_content] => There are over 2,000 Certified B Corporations from more than 130 industries in 50 countries with 1 unifying goal – to redefine success in business. B Corps are important because they inspire all businesses to compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.

From the B-Corp website
  • Certified B Corporations meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.
  • It’s like Fair Trade certification but for the whole business, not just a bag of coffee (or USDA Organic certification, but not just for a carton of milk; or LEED certification, but not just for a building).
  • The performance standards B Corps meet are comprehensive, transparent and verified. They measure a company’s impact on all its stakeholders (e.g. workers, suppliers, community, customers and the environment).
  • Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders (e.g., workers, suppliers, community, consumers, and the environment).
Here's a little video that explains it all nicely: The process provided Dragons with the affirmation that our business has a strong and positive social and environmental impact. It also gave clarity on where we can improve as a business, and how we can more closely align our values with our business practices. And as of May of 2017,  Dragons officially became a legal Benefit Corporation! [post_title] => Dragons is now a Benefit Corporation (B Corp) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dragons-is-now-a-benefit-corporation-b-corp [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-07 09:05:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-07 16:05:23 [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] => 655 [name] => Continued Education [slug] => continued_education [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 655 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Continued Education, Webinars, Curriculum, Transference. [parent] => 0 [count] => 14 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 655 [category_count] => 14 [category_description] => Continued Education, Webinars, Curriculum, Transference. [cat_name] => Continued Education [category_nicename] => continued_education [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/continued_education/ ) [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] => 46 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 46 [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] => 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] => 48 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 48 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [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] => 57 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 14 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 57 [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] => Continued Education, For Parents ... )
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    [post_content] => We went out in his boat, a battered blue canoe that was roomier and required less bailing than most other boats in Sampela—a financial testament to his fishing capability—and were armed with a long speargun for him, a short, easy to reload speargun for me, and one extra for good measure. We would cruise across a sea peppered by waves big enough to make the boat rock a little until he, peering over the side of the boat, decided that he liked the fishing prospects of that particular spot of ocean. He’d flash me a terrific smile, say, “Ini bagus” (“This is good”), and launch overboard. I’d follow him, much less gracefully, and hope that I was in the water in time to watch him tie the anchor onto whatever monolithic coral structure we’d have stopped over.

[caption id="attachment_150877" align="alignnone" width="958"]Indonesia Semester Photo by CELIA MITCHELL, INDONESIA SEMESTER[/caption]

Then we’d stretch the cut lengths of rubber on our wooden spearguns back, lock in the spears, and dive down. Totombo always caught the first fish, spinning up to the surface with a joyous smile before dropping his catch in the katingting and diving back down. Sometimes my only role for a morning would be to swim his catch back to the boat, and it took me a few days before I caught my first batfish, his most commonly sought prey. Those mornings were always lovely. It was just the two of us in a small blue boat in the middle of the ocean, swimming and fishing and basking in the Indonesian sun, and it was blissful.

[caption id="attachment_150876" align="alignnone" width="838"]Indonesia Semester Photo by CELIA MITCHELL, INDONESIA SEMESTER[/caption]

 

About halfway through my time in Sampela, we started to go out earlier and travel farther, fishing for upwards of six hours. On one of these days, we were taking a break in what was starting to be a blisteringly hot day when a few boats puttered up to us and cut their engines. I’m not quite sure what was said over the next 45 minutes, given that they were speaking in Bajo, but somehow Totombo and I ended up a part of Mr. Helmet and Mrs. Hat’s crew.

I took to calling them Mr. Helmet and Mrs. Hat as a way of referring to them in conversation with other Dragons, and their monikers descended from their headpieces. Mrs. Hat always wore a huge bamboo hat. It’s shadow rarely let the warm glow of her eyes out, instead showing only her sun-leathered face and betel-stained teeth. Mr. Helmet had a well-worn black construction hat which kept the   sun off his face and, more importantly, kept his cigarettes and lighter dry from the ocean’s spray and Sampela’s monsoon rains—it only occasionally showed his face when we were there during the dry spread along the ropes scared most of the fish in their way towards the net and the net was soon teeming with a swirl of fish. I was told in no uncertain terms by Totombo to stay out of the net but I was permitted to get in the water and watch from a distance.

They had one of the only nets I saw in Sampela, and certainly the largest. It had it’s own canoe, and Totombo and I (mostly Totombo) were recruited to help use it. Mr. Helmet and Mrs. Hat each had a large boat filled with several hundred feet of rope with some floating thing— a plastic bag, a water jug, a stick—tied every couple yards. Leaving the net, the net’s canoe, myself and my canoe anchored, each boat began to go in an opposite direction, slowly paying out the rope as they went. The old man who had ridden in the canoe with the net was spending this time pulling the net out and setting it up in the sea and I, unskilled and unable to help, watched like the five year-olds that sometimes accompanied their mothers and fathers to the ocean.

The rope-boats eventually finished unloading their ropes and began to arc around, back towards us. The miscellaneous debris spread along the ropes scared most of the fish in their way towards the net and the net was soon teeming with a swirl of fish. I was told in no uncertain terms by Totombo to stay out of the net but I was permitted to get in the water and watch from a distance.

The net, I realized once I’d gotten in the water, didn’t have a bottom. It was weighed down at the edges, so fish couldn’t get out, but to lift it out of the water like a trawling net reduced its size tremendously, so the Bajo would simply use it as a pen for fish instead. I spent a few moments ogling at the swirl of fish in the nets, filled with lashes of green from parrotfish and red from snapper, before a set of splashes indicated the arrival of the. The swirl turned into a frenzy, punctured by the familiar swish of a speargun’s projectile whipping through the water. By the time I got out of the water our boat was carpeted with fish.

Once the spear-gunners had sufficiently thinned the school in the net, it was closed from the bottom and Mr. Helmet and a fisherman who had helped set up the net pulled it in hand over hand. It wasn’t until it had been landed that I realized that the catch from the net far exceeded any individual’s spearfishing catch, and that Mr. Helmet and Mrs. Hat allowing their helpers to spearfish the net was as much a method of payment as it was necessary to land the net.

The fishermen, triumphant for the day, spent a few moments enjoying their success and the sun before Mr. Helmet called us over to his boat. He gave us a few armfuls of miscellaneous fish and handed Totombo a massive wrasse, his further thanks for Totombo’s help.

Over the rest of my stay in Sampela, Totombo and I rendezvoused with Mr. Helmet and Mrs. Hat three more times. Each time we fished a different part of the ocean and each time our catch was better than when we fished on our own. On my last day in Sampela, Mr. Helmet was on our porch when I woke up and we rode out to the reef with him as part of a flotilla of boats that carved its way to a white sanded reef that was farther from Sampela than I’d been since I arrived. I’d been taught enough by Totombo—about how to read a gesture towards a fish, about how to tie anchors to the ocean floor, about how to be safe with a speargun—over the past two weeks that I was allowed to participate now. Together on that last day, he and I swam over the sun- dappled seabed as host and guest, master and pupil, father and son. (This article was featured in the Spring 2017 edition of Dragons bi-annual Newsletter, The Map's Edge. Each newsletter explores a subject of interest to the Dragons community through the voices of our Alumni, Instructors, Partners, Parents and our International Staff and contacts. Feel free to view our archive of editions of The Map's Edge or even submit a piece to be featured in our next issue by sending an email to [email protected]) Save [post_title] => Lessons in Grace: A Map's Edge Newsletter Feature [post_excerpt] => We went out in his boat, a battered blue canoe that was roomier and required less bailing than most other boats in Sampela—a financial testament to his fishing capability—and were armed with a long speargun for him, a short, easy to reload speargun for me, and one extra for good measure. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sticky-post-example [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-20 21:25:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-21 03:25:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 1 [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] => 71 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 71 [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/ ) ) [category_links] => From the Field )
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