Our high school students in Sorata are delighted to have ready access to the internet at the student residence, for the first time ever.
In recent years their teachers have increasingly assigned reports that require them to do research on the internet.
Because the minimum monthly charge for establishing an internet connection was $300, we were unable to offer internet on the student residence computers. So students had to pay for computer use at one of the local internet cafes, which are often crowded, noisy, and an expense that most could ill afford.
This July, a generous donation from visitors on the Quaker Service and Study Tour equipped 2 of the new student residence computers with affordable internet access via a cell phone simcard.
Below is the expanded edition of our print story on Anahi Ticona Serrano. We hope you enjoy learning more about this dedicated young Friend.
Volunteer Orit Netter shares this story of Dia del Padre, the Bolivian Father's Day:
"One day during my volunteer stint at Los Amigos Quaker school in La Paz, things seemed a little different. Clearly something was up, but with my limited Spanish, I wasn’t able to figure it out - until midday, when a teacher was selling home-made chocolates (like hot cakes!) in the shapes of ties and watches to everyone within a mile of the teacher’s "lounge". Finally I understood. The following day was Día del Padre (Father’s Day) in Bolivia, and clearly, it was an important day!
It used to be that we had a hard time eliciting stories from the deeply modest Friends in Bolivia. Nowadays, as Friends emerge from centuries of oppression into the light of freedom, we get stories aplenty. There's such a richness of stories in fact, that our faithful translation volunteers are sometimes overwhelmed with the volume.
Could you give of your time to help Friends in Bolivia have their stories heard and re-told? If you're interested in volunteering to translate letters or reports (often with fascinating photos included) from Spanish to English, please email board member Jane Simkin at simkinjab (at) gmail (dot) com, or use our website contact form here.
We hope to hear from you, and hope you'll soon enjoy hearing Bolivian Friends' stories firsthand.
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
BQEF volunteer Karen Wise recently posted this piece on her shared blog, reaching4light.blogspot.com:
Alicia Lucasi joined us in the US for our annual board retreat in October, leaving behind her husband of less than two months to do so. (Thanks for being so understanding, Rene!) Minga Claggett-Borne asked Alicia what difference BQEF had made in her life, and the lives of others, and this was her response:
Juana Ruperta Carani will graduate from high school this December with an excellent academic record.
She came to the BQEF Student Residence (aka Internado) in Sorata in 2009 as a timid 7th grader. The school in her home community of Chuchulaya only goes through 6th grade, and Juana wanted to be the first in her family to go to high school. Her stepfather, Luis, had applied for Juana to join the Student Residence so she could start 7th grade.
On the day we were to post the list of those accepted, he was anxious to confirm that Juana was included, so he and another parent from Chuchulaya left home at 2:00 am to walk and run in the rain to arrive by 8:00 am. Happily, both their daughters were on the list.
Primitiva Castaya Quispe felt honored and gratified to co-present garments made by her Aymara textiles class to President Evo Morales during his visit to her school.
Primitiva is studying textile engineering at the “Tupak Katari Indigenous Amyara Bolivian University”, where she’s learning to produce textiles with traditional Aymara cultural symbols, using both traditional and contemporary technology.
Her class was chosen to design textiles for the president, and Primitiva and a classmate presented them in person. “It was a great honor and I was very happy to have this opportunity. The President encouraged us and thanked us for the gift we made him.”
Primitiva’s studies link traditional Aymara arts to international organizations that can spread appreciation for their beauty as well as provide markets.
Imagine trying to struggle through law school without your own set of textbooks! Now imagine the joy and relief in finding out that you don't have to, thanks to a generous Friend who believes in education.