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.

Blog

Where There Be Dragons

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    [post_date] => 2020-04-16 12:02:01
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-04-16 18:02:01
    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_156662" align="aligncenter" width="522"]Dragons Fund Community Relief Fund Photo from Aajeevika Bureau[/caption]

In March 2020, the Dragons Fund, a non-profit ( in partnership with The Common Foundation), launched a Community Relief Fund to support vulnerable people and communities heavily impacted by decreased travel in the time of COVID-19.

As the world battles the spread of COVID-19, people around the world are facing immense hardship. Many Dragons partner communities rely on economic support from travel and tourism to survive, and with travel at a standstill, the impact on livelihoods will be severe.

[caption id="attachment_156663" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Dragons Fund Community Relief Fund Photo from Aajeevika Bureau[/caption]

Thus far, the initiative has been able to raise almost $10,000 and accomplish the following:

  • India: A $1,000 grant to Aajeevika Bureau, an Indian nonprofit working on the front lines of the migrant crisis
  • Indonesia: A $500 grant in Yogyakarta to provide essential food items to families that have lost income, as well as medical safety equipment for people removing dead bodies from homes
  • Senegal: A $700 grant to provide basic food supplies to vulnerable households in seven communities (Dene, Ndioukhane, Yoff, Mouit, Temanto Samba, Dindefelo, and Niodior)
  • Additional project proposals underway in Bolivia and Nepal.
  Dragons Fund Community Relief FundDragons Fund Community Relief FundDragons Fund Community Relief FundDragons Fund Community Relief Fund                
As global travelers, the Dragons community is acutely aware that the vulnerable always suffer first and most. We feel a responsibility to take action. This fund will provide financial support to partners and communities who have made Where There Be Dragons programs so incredible over the years.

— The Dragons Fund

 

Learn more about the Community Relief Fund.

   
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    [post_date] => 2020-04-14 11:22:19
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-04-14 17:22:19
    [post_content] => As an educational travel company deeply affected by COVID-19 we have been asking ourselves "How do we continue our mission in a time when social distancing and travel restrictions limit the very essence of what we do?" Like many other companies, we are turning our attention online.

Usually, at this time of year, we are busy with our Global Speaker Series program in which we send our global educators to schools across the United States in order to bring important global topics and critical questions into classrooms. Since most classrooms have transitioned into living rooms, we've decided to bring these lessons to you! Over the next couple of months, we will be live-streaming some of our best talks so you can experience a bit of Dragons straight to your living room.

 



 

This month's free webinar is called:

Migration and Organized Crime

How Thousands of People Go Missing Every Year on the Way to the U.S.

Hosted by Dragons instructor, Rich Brown. Rich will draw on his recent interviews in Guatemala and on the U.S.-Mexico border with civil society leaders, journalists, and migrants and their families to give students insight into the risks that Central Americans face as they attempt to reach the U.S.

More About the Speaker:

B.A., Anthropology - Columbia University, 2010; Graduate Specialization Degree, Migration Studies - Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO), 2020; M.A., Journalism - Columbia Journalism School, 2021 / Gordon Fellow for International Reporting
 
Rich Brown is a multimedia journalist based in Guatemala since 2013. He covers issues like migration, climate change, and land and water conflict. He facilitates the Forum on Migration, an interactive Immigration Studies program that connects U.S. classrooms with the people at the center of today's immigration headlines, from migrating families to government decision makers.
 
Rich leads Dragons programs in Guatemala, and he brings Central American to U.S. classrooms in speaking tours about the roots of immigration from the region.
 

Rich's talk will be held on April 16th and April 22nd at 4pm MST. RSVP online.

 
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. ❤️
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    [post_date] => 2020-04-09 11:35:17
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    [post_content] => 

OVERHEARD ON THE YAK BOARD

BYP Indonesia Where There Be Dragons Gap year
Something I never could have anticipated for this year is the amount of small daily surprises I encounter here in Jogja. These surprises—little moments of joy—come upon me at any time in the day. They break up the routine and remind me that my year here is not replicable. They make the mundane feel joyful, new, and human. They color my experiences in Jogja and persist in my memory, so as I reflect, I keep thinking of these interactions.
I wanted to share just 9 of those delights: 1. A few Sundays ago, I found myself folding boxes with 30 ibus. I just got out of the shower and entered the kitchen when my Ibu said, “Our neighbor died,” with a frenzied look in her eyes. I wished her my condolences, but as soon as the words left my mouth, she ran to the nearby house, broom in hand. My ayah came over to me and explained that our house was turning into the center of cooking and food for the funeral. In Muslim culture, the newly deceased must be buried if possible within 24 hours, and in Javanese culture, everyone must help with the ceremony. My Ibu set mats all over the kitchen floor, and the neighborhood women came and went, bringing boxes that I helped fold and food that I helped serve. Jacqueline joined in on the effort, and we spent the Sunday chatting and helping. I felt part of my neighborhood community, although not an ibu by any means. The man who died was beloved in the area, and around 100 or more people came and went through my house and the street in front to support the ceremony and pray for the dead. At the end of the preparations, everyone shared a meal together that Jacquline and I helped plate. There is a phrase for this type of communal effort: gotong royong, translating roughly to “mutual cooperation.” The feeling of gotong royong, a feeling of comfort and security that people will care for me as I care for them, was delightful. 2. The moment I appear at the doorway of my NGO office, a chorus of  “Halo Allie!” rings out. My coworkers’ greetings are a delightful daily reminder that I am welcome and supported at the office, despite the language barrier. 3. Putri, a staff member of UNALA (my NGO), ran out of her office on Thursday, yelling out, “Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku bermain di Plaza Ambarrukmo hari ini sore! Ayo!” (“Memories of My Body” will play at the Plaza Ambarrukmo mall this afternoon! Let’s go!). The interns and volunteers turned from their computer and called out, “Aku mau ikut!” (“I want to join!”). I couldn’t understand what the fervor was about—most of the conversations took place in Javanese—but the excitement of the office was tangible. Anggita, my coworker, turned to me and asked if I wanted to join. She explained how this movie is censored, being about a non-binary person’s journey through traditional Javanese culture and dance, but allowed to play only at this movie theater once at 4:00pm on that day. I came along and soon realized the movie lacked English subtitles. Even though I was only able to understand 60% of the movie, it was a delight to join them and watch this story.   BYP Indonesia Where There Be Dragons Gap year   4. When the skies open up, the rain pours down, and a breeze flows through the city. I feel relief all through my body as the humid pre-rain pressure fades away. At night, the streetlights and motorbikes reflect against the puddles, staturating Jogja in a haze of reds, yellows, and greens. 5. A later Saturday, I photographed my NGO’s promotion in Bantul, south of the city. They gave a presentation to a Muhammadiyah youth group (a Muslim group) on reproductive health including issues of menstruation, self-love, and gender issues. I raised my camera up and tried my best to capture the expressions on the girls faces: their eyes followed the speaker, smiles tugged on their faces, and they sat forward. The girls were stuck to every word. It was empowering for myself to see them, who were all almost the same age as me, so focused and engaged. I felt pride in my work there, happy I joined this NGO to do what I can to help them. After the promotion, we squeezed into the organization’s car. Everyone was hungry—we already ran out of snacks. Putri called out, “Sate klathak!” The energy rose as if everyone downed a cup of coffee. Brokir, the driver, did a U turn then and there and drove until we found the restaurant. Sate klathak, some sort of goat sate, is originally from that area of Bantul and best served there. I unfortunately could not eat the sate klathak (I’m a vegetarian), to which Putri continually said “Kasian” (Too bad) about. Still, eating nasi goreng (fried rice) as they ate the sate klathak added to the many moments of joy that day.   BYP Indonesia Where There Be Dragons Gap year   6. On Sunday, I carved away the contours of faces from my woodblock board. Olivia came along that weekend, and we drank tea and chatted with my IEA mentor Fitri. I worked on my piece on female reproductive rights, Olivia created a piece on body image positivity, and Fitri completed her pieces on solidarity and activism. Time faded away, and soon it was already night. I got in my Gocar back to the program house, feeling as confident and calm as the women from my woodblock. 7. Jacqueline and I sit atop the Lippo Plaza mall, where street food stands, outdoor lamps, and cafe style tables and chairs decorate the area. We chose to sit a level above the main area, able to watch both the scenes below us and the nighttime view of Jogja. A low, distant murmur of voices created an ambience I had only before heard in recordings. As the purple and pinks of the sunset finally faded into the deep blue of the night, a breeze pushed out the usual heat of the day. This moment only lasted for 15 minutes, but it was delightful. BYP Indonesia Where There Be Dragons Gap year   8. Every Friday, I give an English lesson to my NGO as a means of preparation if the European donors visit the office. I don’t know how useful my lessons end up being, but I teach about American culture and lifestyles, and we discuss the differences and similarities with Indonesian cultures. Given the lesson is always full of generalizations and mostly from my perspective about American culture, the lessons are mostly just fun. A couple of Fridays ago, per their requests, I decided to teach them slang. I included around 30 words, ranging from “ASAP,” “vanilla,” to “queen” (I did mention that some of these are only used with young people while others like ASAP are more general). It was fun to teach them, but the weeks ahead were more fun: my coworkers called shotgun for the front seat of the car when we went to promotions, said “cool, cool, cool” when commenting on something they like, and replied “RIP” when I couldn’t make it to an event. We bonded by laughing over the English language and made fun of words that took on alternative meanings. Delightful. 9. As silat (Indonesian martial arts/self-defense class) wrapped up on Monday, I mouthed to Aneekah, “What about doing zumba after this?” Before our silat instructor even left, Aneekah, Elliott, and I began to move our bodies along with the high intensity YouTube video. 10 minutes in, as sweat pooled down our faces, Jacqueline walked into the program house, coming from a meeting at a nearby NGO. We yelled out at her to join, and she too started the workout without changing out of her day clothes. There we were, the four of us with our hearts pounding and muscles aching. Then, the 30 minutes were up. The video finished. But, we kept going. We got on the ground, got into plank formation, and sang out “Cause baby you’re a firework!” at the top of our lungs as we waited for a minute to pass. We were determined to push our bodies, embracing the sweat, muscle ache, and eventual tiredness. I began playing Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” as each of us started a new exercise. From the outside, we probably looked like a mess, our faces red and bodies giving up under the intensity of zumba.  But, endorphins pumping through my blood, I thought: this is delightful. BYP Indonesia Where There Be Dragons Gap year
I do not know if it is because I am looking for these moments of delight, but I find myself feeling so much gratitude recently for being able to experience life in a way I’ve never experienced it before. The humdrum of the everyday no longer seems as overwhelming as it once did. I am excited by living moment to moment, knowing I can stumble into a moment like the ones I wrote about above again.
 
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. ❤️
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    [post_date] => 2020-04-07 14:26:39
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-04-07 20:26:39
    [post_content] => 

ANNOUNCING THE DRAGONS MIGHTY NETWORK

A SOCIAL PLATFORM FOR ALUMNI & INSTRUCTORS

 
For years, our alumni & instructor community have been asking us to create a social platform for Dragons. With the strange COVID-19 realities of "social distancing" and "shelter in place" (terms none of us knew just a month ago!)., it feels like the right time to roll out a virtual way to foster Dragons connection and community.
 
We've been testing out the Dragons Mighty Network social platform and although it's still a work in-progress, we're announcing it anyway! Because the time is right and we want our alumni to contribute to how this new community-driven platform can look and function.
 
Through the Dragons Mighty Network, we soon plan to offer classes, lessons, training, and transference tools. In the meantime we are excited about the following features our alumni can explore:
 
Find and connect with Dragons folks that live in your area
Connect with other Dragons who are "online right now" & meet other members of our community
Create or engage with an article, question, or poll
Create a local COVID-19 support or resource circle
Fill in your profile
Create a "circle" for you and your Dragons friends to chat privately
Download the app to your phone for instant DMs and notifications
  The Dragons global community is strong and we are grateful for opportunities to continue to engage and connect.  

Are you an alum who wants to join?

Email us at [email protected] for the invite link.  
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] => Launching The Mighty Network: A Social Platform for Dragons Alumni [post_excerpt] => ANNOUNCING THE DRAGONS MIGHTY NETWORK A SOCIAL PLATFORM FOR ALUMNI & INSTRUCTORS For years, our alumni & instructor community have been asking us to create a social platform for Dragons. With the strange COVID-19 realities of "social distancing" and "shelter in place" (terms none of us knew just a month ago!)., it feels like the right time to roll out a virtual way to foster Dragons connection and community. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => launching-the-mighty-network-a-social-platform-for-dragons-alumni [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-04-07 14:32:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-04-07 20:32:35 [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] => 45 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 45 [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] => 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 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/dragons_instructors/ ) [2] => 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] => 47 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 47 [category_description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [cat_name] => Alumni Spotlight [category_nicename] => alumni_spotlight [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Global Community, Dragons Instructors ... )
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    [post_date] => 2020-03-31 14:23:22
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-31 20:23:22
    [post_content] => Here are 3 Dragons activities that you can easily do at home focused on goal setting, gratitude, & connection.

We are sharing some of our resources to keep positive! Dragons programs focus on creating meaningful connections to self, place, and the planet. Though our mission generally happens abroad, the work we do can definitely translate to life at home.

We’re all about silver linings, taking things in stride, and trying to learn from whatever life throws at us. Hopefully, these activities offer some inspiration, perspective & laughs during these challenging times. 

3 Dragons Activities for YOU! 

Gratitude Personal Reflection

Grab a notebook and pen. Take 5-10 minutes to free-write a list of all the things you are grateful for. Do your best to fill at least one page. Once you have completed your list, take some time to consider:
  • The why behind each of your bullets 
  • Are there any people in your life that stand out on your list? Have you shared your gratitude with them? 
  • Has COVID-19 changed how you feel about anything on your list? Given you any new perspectives? Made your gratitudes specific to this time in history? 
  Take action:
  • What are 3-5 things that you can do to share & express your gratitude? 
 

10 Minutes of Fame - Connecting more Deeply with Friends & Family 

Set up a zoom meeting with friends, or do this activity with your family over dinner. One at a time, select someone in your group to be in the ‘hot spot.’ The person in the hot spot then answers questions from the crowd about their life, beliefs and thoughts on just about anything.  Sample questions:
  • What’s your favorite food? Why?
  • What is your best childhood memory and how did it shape your life today?
  • If you had unlimited resources to spend 24-hours however you wanted, what would you do?
  • Name 3 important people in your life & share more about your connection with them.
  • In an alternate universe, what would your life be like?
  • What’s the weirdest thing you've ever done? Smelled? Eaten? 
  • What is something that you are proud of?
  • What is something that most people don’t know about you?
  • What do you need right now & how can we support you?
  • If you could be an animal, what animal would you be and why?
 

Magic Statement - Goal Setting 

Choose a period of time in the future (e.g., January 2021, the end of the summer, through the end of shelter in place, etc.) and think about the things you want to accomplish by that date. Visualize yourself standing in that future moment of time looking back at the weeks, months, or years behind you. From that perspective of your future self, journal about your “past” goals and accomplishments and how you reached them. For example, your journal prompt may be something like, The summer of 2020 was the best summer of my life because...  or My junior year was the best year of high school because…  Write down the things you have accomplished in the past tense as though you’ve already achieved them. Make sure to include the steps that you needed to take in order to reach your aspirations. It has been shown that looking backward at your imagined successes can help turn them into reality.   
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Director of Student Programming, Aaron Slosberg, was interviewed on Santa Cruz-based podcast What To Be.

  What To Be podcast

Unfamiliar contexts spark curiosity.

Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts. Here is an excerpt from the episode: "We talk about this 'sage on the stage' type education where this traditional model of teaching and learning is that you have an expert who has the answers and as the student, your job is to be this passive recipient of knowledge from that expert. So that person is the kind of 'sage' who is transmitting that knowledge to you. Whereas we really believe that we are facilitators and we are creating and presenting opportunities for our students to discover that learning on their own. So our role is really to set the stage, so we say we are 'guides on the sides' rather than the 'sage on the stage'. So we are in the circle with the students ensuring that it's a safe experience and also we have a really intentional progression of learning and challenges that we are trying to put the students through. But the actual engagement and learning, it's really up to the students to do that on their own and engage with opportunities rather than sitting up there and lecturing them...that's going to happen in a much more organic way." — Aaron Slosberg  
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