Minga's blog

Friends Reclaiming Aymara Culture

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Guido at Friends Meeting

Ninety five percent of the 30,000 Quakers in Bolivia are Aymara. Aymara Indians have inhabited the Altiplano from Peru down to Chile long before the Incas invaded to control the Andean commerce. The ruins at Tiwanaku (60 k from LaPaz) reveal a thriving highly developed culture which rivals the art, irrigation, and architecture of ancient Egypt. The Aymaras may have arrived in the Andes as early as 1400 BC and the Incas arrived in the Altiplano about 1440.

Fanny Huanca Overcomes Obstacles

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Fanny at Tiwanaku

 

 

Gabriela Finds New Strengths Teaching Disabled Children

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Hi, this is Gabriela Molina Valencia speaking about my news to Friends in other lands. I am delighted because the financial help has allowed me to study in the University. I am in my fifth semester, studying psychology. In 2011 my university classes just started on February 15. I'm taking social psychology and psychology in education, this semester only part time. I have to work every morning which basically functions as a practicum. My job is perfect for my career and it helps me with tuition. My practicum is working with 2 years old at the preschool, Happyland. I help the toddlers who haven't been away from their parents to adjust to a school. These young ones are still learning to speak their first language. Sometimes they cut their words, so I am using speech therapy to those who cut off or slur their words.

 

Call for Volunteers

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Art therapy workshop 2007

In our very first year, students at Friends schools and colleges as well as other adults began asking to volunteer.  Now they range in age from middle-school students in family groups to retired professionals.  Volunteers help with school and adult ed classes (especially English), and come home amazed at the richness of their experience. In 2011 one family with three teens participated, a doctoral student spent a full year, and a retired teacher from the UK spent four months.

Not ready for the Andes just yet? We also need volunteers for document translation, regional committees, and spreading the word about this work.

Do you have time and talent to share in support of Bolivian Friends education?  If you’d like to experience the joy and growth of volunteering on behalf of Friends in Bolivia, please send us an email at office_ (at)_bqef.org.

Emmanuel Escuela welcomes Teachers

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El Alto is perched 1,000 feet above La Paz, the capital or Bolivia. When the sun glitters you stare down into a cascading spiral of lego-like houses. Once your lungs have adjusted to less oxygen, El Alto seems like Kansas City. Except everyone speaks Aymara or Spanish. Except there’s no SUVs. Except instead of greasy hamburgers, open markets sell quinoa drinks and fish soup.

I fell in love with the Aymara students at Emmanuel Friends school. I met Flavia, Marta, Estevan, and Eduardo in 2011 when I volunteered for 6 weeks. Some classes had 7 students but most classes had 18 students. In high school Bolivians study English twice a week. It’s usually their 3rd language and they can start it as early as 6th grade. Their class load is immense, and even 8th graders study philosophy and technical arts.

Waliki: Soothing a Weary Traveler

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Jhobana welcomes Minga to Sorata

 Kamisast’asa? Jisa, Waliki? How are you? Are you well?

The Latest Scholar Joins BQE

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Pablo with BQE Class 2011

 

Pablo Pillco Cultipa joined our BQE family 2 months ago. In fact, he was added as our 40th, and we’re fortunate to have him. BQEF in 2011 decided our budget could increase our number of scholarship students.

The Keys to LaPaz City

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Nino Luz Vida 074.JPG

I was walking with Juan down into the valley of LaPaz. Not really walking, my feet picked nimbly between stones and sidewalk holes. It was a valley, with the descent so steep in this city 10,000 feet above the sea that I was breathless. Nevertheless I was happy to hike instead of drive cramped in a mini-van with 12 passengers. This Friday the city was awake. The city was clear of fumes and noisy engines. Bus unions all over Bolivia had called a transportation strike on Feb. 25th.  Una huelga firme. A total strike. Schools were closed. The streets were a river of people getting to work. Juan and I edged down the curving roads to the Quaker Education office. I wasn’t about to stay home, because I planned to meet Pablo at the office. The air was buzzing with novelty.

Can't Find McDonalds in Bolivia

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So I have 2 very different experiences of the lifestyle of Bolivian Quakers. One Sunday I came home from Santidad church in El Alto and my mother, Ildafonsa was sititng on the wooden floor in her long satin skirt, apron with long braids peeling a sack of carrots with a knife. The potatoes, onions were spread around her in waves of farm produce, and the bits of carrot skin were flying from her knife. I sat down with the family to warm my hands with tea. Ildafonsa proudly quoted the Bible in Castellano and we chatted about the day. 5 year old Sarita showed me where she cut her finger. The bandaid was transparent and seemed to do the hygienic trick. Ascension, the father picked up a primer with basic language lessons on Aymara, Quechua and Castellano.

Bolivian Spirit Marches Adelante

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 3.4.11

This Tuesday the Catholic world feasts and does whoopla for Mardi Gras. I always thought Lent was a big deal because you had to rescind something for 6 weeks, and Easter was a celebration of resurrection and spring. But Bolivians celebrate Carnival, next Tuesday and Monday too. Here, Easter isn't related to spring, since spring starts in September and in March it’s technically summer.

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