Photo by Lindsay Coe, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Posts Tagged:

South America

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    [post_date] => 2017-06-02 10:25:33
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Exciting news for us at Dragons HQ as eloquently announced by our Latin America Program Director, Julianne Chandler.

Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

Today, I am very proud of Dragons.  Early this morning, one of our dear friends and contacts from the Peruvian Andes approached the US Embassy in Lima with a  large stack of documents and his traditional hand woven chulo fit firmly on his head.  After a four hour anxious wait in line, he was called to the counter and handed over his shiny new passport and letter of invitation from Dragons to participate in our all staff orientation in the Sierras.  We had gone over this moment countless times over the phone, and he had rehearsed everything he needed to say. I told him they wouldn't turn down his winning smile.  I was right.
Don Fabian Champi Apaza, an Andean priest and spiritual leader, a dear friend, a man who has been the spirit of our Peru programming for the past decade, who has touched the lives of countless students and instructors will be joining us this year in the Sierras for All-Staff Orientation & Training. 

Fabian may not know how to read the writing on his visa documents, but he knows how to read the night sky and the arching slopes of the Andes and the blessing hidden in a palm full of coca leaves. He is a healer, a connector of worlds both seen and unseen, and the sound of his flute can part clouds in the sky (seriously).  His work has helped our students connect more meaningfully with the landscapes, people, communities, and traditions of the Q'eros Nation - perhaps the last true Incan outpost - a place we never could have stepped foot into without Fabian's guidance and trust.  

I am so grateful for the leadership which has made this possible!  I look forward to joining all of you in a few short weeks to welcome Fabian to our community.  His presence in the Sierras will be one small gesture of reciprocity for the countless guides and contacts that have opened doors for our students across the globe.  

Below, Fabian sees and touches the ocean for the first time in his life yesterday in Lima.  Also, a big thanks to Annelies Hamerlinck, who hosted Fabian in Lima and took this photo.

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    [post_date] => 2017-05-05 11:36:00
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Captioned: “Ruffled pink flamingos fish for brightly colored algae at the base of active Ollague volcano; one of many among the serene landscape of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.”
    [post_title] => FEATURED INSTAGRAM PHOTO FROM PERU TAKEN BY LINDSAY COE
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    [post_date] => 2017-05-02 14:11:15
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    [post_content] => This jaw-dropping shot was captured by Benjamin Swift on the South America: Andes and Amazon Semester.



Captioned: "A young arriero leads a mule across fresh snow in the Peruvian Andes.”
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    [post_date] => 2017-04-18 12:30:02
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    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_150918" align="alignright" width="418"] Haitian community leaders and Ellie conduct a survey on access to water in communities affected by mining in Haiti.[/caption]

Ellie Happel is a social justice lawyer who has been working in Haiti for more than a decade. Since graduating law school, she has worked closely with various Haitian civil society groups and NYU Law School's Global Justice Clinic on cases of forced eviction in the Internally Displaced People (IDP) Camps in Port-Au-Prince. She has a complaint filed against the United Nations over the introduction of cholera into Haiti, and most recently on issues involving hard metal mining. These are some of her observations.

CREATE SPACE
Leaders for social change create space for movements to thrive, change, and to reinvent themselves. Often, leaders rise not only because of who they are—their charisma or skills or vision—but because of privilege. Leaders acknowledge power and privilege, and work to create the space for those who are less privileged to speak, to contribute, to shine. Strong social movements push themselves to be more inclusive and more creative, and demand leadership that embraces plurality. Leaders invite movements to grow in size and to grow in imagination, to strive tomorrow for a dream that is unforeseen today. Strong leadership and strong movements embrace nonconformity and embrace change. They practice inclusivity.
GET PROXIMATE
Leaders get proximate. Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, said “If you are not proximate, you cannot change the world.” Getting proximate means knowing the People, the masses, the Other. True proximity breeds empathy, and is possible only in the absence of fear. Proximity disappears the Other. It creates unity; differences are celebrated and respected, and a common vision is defined. Leaders get proximate. Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, said “If you are not proximate, you cannot change the world.” Getting proximate means knowing the People, the masses, the Other. True proximity breeds empathy, and is possible only in the absence of fear. Proximity disappears the Other. It creates unity; differences are celebrated and respected, and a common vision is defined.
PRINCIPLES OVER POPULARITY: THE POWER OF DISSENT
Leaders choose principles over popularity. They not only document injustice, but they demand action to change the status quo. They are the authors of (unpopular) dissent. Justice Harlan was the lone dissent in the 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson, arguing that the Constitution is color-blind. It took 58 years before Brown v. Board, when the Court made this the law of the land. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously dissented to promote free speech. Recently, Justice Sotomayor has authored dissenting opinions to document and criticize the racial discrimination in our criminal justice system. The authors of dissenting opinions and the promoters of unpopular ideas are rarely Leaders choose principles over popularity. They not only document injustice, but they demand action to change the status quo. They are the authors of (unpopular) dissent. Justice Harlan was the lone dissent in the 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson, arguing that the Constitution is color-blind. It took 58 years before Brown v. Board, when the Court made this the law of the land. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously dissented to promote free speech. Recently, Justice Sotomayor has authored dissenting opinions to document and criticize the racial discrimination in our criminal justice system. The authors of dissenting opinions and the promoters of unpopular ideas are rarely identified as leaders. They should be. In dissenting, in voicing the unpopular, they encourage alternative visions and promote change.
DARE TO CHANGE COURSE
Leaders dare to change course. Two examples are Toussaint Louverture, leader of the Haitian revolution, and Ernest Shackleton. Toussaint Louverture allied with the Spanish, the French, and then fought for Haiti’s independence, the only slave revolt to result in a sovereign nation. According to C.L.R.E. James’ account, The Black Jacobins, from the beginning Louverture had a singular goal: to abolish slavery and create a free Haiti. Sir Ernest Shackleton led a team of 27 men in an attempt to cross the Antarctic continent. Shackleton is famous not for the transverse—they failed—but for keeping every member of his team alive. Shackleton led his team away from their ship, frozen in the ice, on a two-year journey for survival. Along the way, Shackleton “got proximate.” Shackleton did not use his position of leadership to insulate himself from the pain of the journey. The ship’s captain, Frank Worsley, said that it was Shackleton’s rule that “any deprivation should be felt by himself before anyone else.” For more, go to: bit.ly/1qpL7G8
LEADERSHIP FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
Movements make the leader as much as the leader makes the movement. Leaders for social change encourage broad, ambitious, inclusive social movements. They not only listen to the people, but they work in close enough proximity to know the people, and they give the movement the space it needs to thrive. Leading for social change is less about individual qualities of character than about the back and forth between leaders and the masses, the process of collectively dreaming and redesigning a more just world.
ELLIE HAPPEL’S first experience with Dragons was on a summer program in Dolpo, Nepal. Ellie was later admitted to NYU Law School as a Root Tilden Kern scholar in 2008 where she focused on racial justice issues. She has since worked on environmental justice and public health issues in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Peru and Washington, D.C. Ellie has led Dragons programs in Guatemala, India, and Peru. She most recently led Dragons Fall 2016 Andes and Amazon Semester
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    [post_date] => 2017-04-02 14:29:19
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    [post_content] => Here we are, closing another chapter of our story and our time together.

Leaving Tiquipaya for the last time meant more this go round, it meant we were actually saying our final farewells to our incredible families. These people that essentially adopted us for a month, providing food, comfort, love, and protection to total strangers, and they did so completely, with their whole hearts. I think back on all of my time in Tiquipaya, with my family, and I truly think that out of our whole journey so far, our time in Tiquipaya has been the time that meant the most to me. When I returned to my family with some sort of sickness I picked up in the Amazon, all I can think of is the look of deep concern on the faces of my host parents, the mint tea Dona Pilar brought to me in bed, how she kept checking on me, every hour or so, and when we sat down to eat dinner, she spent the whole time trying to figure out exactly, down to the fruit, what it was that could have made me sick. This kind of care was something that I recieved everyday from my family, and I really don’t know how to express how much I care about them in return, so I would like to share some gratitude for all of the little things. I am grateful for the first time I saw Dona Pilar and saw her adorable smile, for Nadite, slowing things down for me, for family dinners, for Sergio introducing me to every plant in their garden, for picking figs before dinner with Nadite, Alfredo, and Sergio, for the gatitos that are tough as nails and cute as ever, for Dona Pilar showing me how to do laundry “properly,” for the Simpsons and all of the laughter, for all of D. Pilar’s “how to survive in the streets” facts, for connecting with Don Felix over the loss of our mothers and how important it is to remember the people we love, for all of the intensely concerned faces waiting outside my door when I was sick, for Dona Pilar always being worried about when, where, and with whom, I am going anywhere, for Alfredo’s dedicated explanation, in spanish, of the space/time continuum as it pertains to time travel, for Uno and Jenga, for Nadite, Sergio, Alfredo, Don Felix, and Dona Pilar, and most of all for all of the love and laughter. I felt like I truly found a place in Tiquipaya and leaving was probably the hardest moment I have had so far on this journey.

We have done a lot of traveling over our course, to try to make the most of our experience in only three months, and with that traveling we have constantly tried to be more than tourists just visiting and leaving. Dragons focuses on making and maintaining personal connections in the places we visit, but the truth is, we are outsiders and foreigners and sometimes it is inevitable to feel like an outsider. However, in Tiquipaya our experience was so unique, I felt like we had time to settle into a community, to form a daily routine, to form strong, meaningful connections, and to just live in that community for a while. That is what made it so difficult to leave and the time there so precious. I will always hold that place and those people in my heart and I know that they have had a strong impact on my life that I will carry with me forever.

The end of Tiquipaya also marked a new change for us in the way that it marked the transition into our last phases, expedition and transference. Leaving Tiquipaya meant that we are that much closer to parting as a group and ending our journey. We transitioned into expedition phase which is our last big adventure, and we only have ten days. The time is really moving quickly now and there is a lot to reflect upon and analyze before the end, but I still can’t wait for what we have in store for the little time we have left and I look forward to all of the memories we have yet to make.

 
    [post_title] => YAK OF THE WEEK: Saying Goodbye to Tiquipaya
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    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_150742" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo Credits: MICAH LEMASTERS[/caption]

Dragons was recently featured in the Denver Post! Here's an excerpt:
"Founded in 1993, Dragons has worked with more than 6,000 participants in often remote areas over the years, offering travel experiences ranging from four-week summer programs to three-month gap year and college study abroad programs.
They are transformative programs. Students have an experience of a different way of living life,” Harwood said in an interview. “We go to communities and places that are far from what students are accustomed to, and it challenges them to think about who they are and what their values are in a different way."
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