June 30- July 3: Meet up & Orientation
Most Dragon students and instructors meet in LA to catch an overnight flight to Hong Kong. Hannah will fly out with students to Hong Kong late on the night of June 28, landing in Yangon on June 30 evening. Siang will pick the group with an open arm at Yangon International Airport. Then, the group will transfer to the orientation site, Bago Metta Center. It is located in Bulae Inn Village, Bago Township, Bago Region and it is about forty miles northeast of Yangon city. It is relatively 1 or 2 hours’ drive from Yangon. At the Centre, we will see an opportunity to deepen our understanding of ecologically sustainable living systems. It is where we will start to build our group culture, work through group dynamics, learn what it means to be on a Dragons trip, and start exploring Myanmar. We will serve wholesome nutritious meals using locally sourced fresh ingredients.
July 4 – 6: Yangon
We will transfer to Yangon, the metropolitan city, a place that is diverse and bustling. We’ll explore this urban hub and how it exhibits the changing face of Myanmar’s traditions as the country steps into a globalized world while simultaneous setting group and individual goals for the course. This gallery exhibits revolutionary art and is a place to support local artists. We, then, take a night bus to Bagan, the heart of Myanmar, a place where the history begins.
July 7-10: Bagan
We arrive early morning to Bagan, the most historic place in Myanmar; thousand-year-old temples on the side of Ayeyarwady river bank. The Buddhist land with its temples in every direction was where Myanmar unified for the first time in the 8th Century and spread Buddhism.
July 11-13: Kyukpadaung
We begin our FOI on Environmental Protection and Conservation, and Community Based Development in Kyukpadaung town. It is a town in the Mandalay division, and we will be based at a monastery with our first service project of Adobe building. We create the opportunity to learn through our service in the environmental friendly monastery. We will spend two days building adobe bricks to support the monastery which is building adobe classrooms to open secular education school for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
July 12 – 20: Kalaw and Sinleh (Shan hills)
We’ll finish the skill building portion of our trip and transition into putting our new skills into practice by trekking through the cool mountainous vistas of the Shan plateau, spending a day or two exploring Kalaw before parting ways as a group for a few days to embark on our rural homestays in Singleh. After spending the first portion of the trip getting oriented in this fascinating country and learning how to navigate its culture, we’ll experience Myanmar hospitality firsthand by being welcomed into the homes of local families for a truly immersive experience.
July 21 – 22: Inle Lake
One of the jewels of Myanmar’s highlands and rich in a unique way of living closely tied to the water that the local villages are built on and around. Here we would have the opportunity to explore Myanmar by boat, floating among the buildings and gardens that have been suspended on stilts over the lake’s smooth glass surface. Or we may decide to explore another corner of the Shan plateau that has caught our interest. Then it the trip will be toward the end and this is the expedition stage of our journey, and when Dragons instructors will step back to let students lead the way in our exploring.
July 23 – 25: X-Phase
Keeping in mind that we will be returning our final few days at Bagon Metta Center before parting ways, students will be left to plan and execute our itinerary, putting their new skills to the test and planning our travels.
July 26-28- Transference Bago
We’ll return to Bago for the close of our trip, coming full circle with our travels to reflect on the experience. This is the final stage of our journey, one of transference, where Dragons become not just students, but people who actively help to shape and reflect our complex, constantly changing in the real world. We’ll board a late night plane on the 28th after saying our goodbyes, embarking home with fascinating stories about our adventures to tell and new friends to keep in contact with until the next time we take a giant leap outside our comfort zones to become familiar with the unknown.