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.
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.
Children with painful teeth have a new dentist to help them develop a healthy mouth. Miriam Alave Condori graduated in dentistry from UPEA, the Public University of El Alto, last December with the help of a BQEF scholarship. (She was one of fourteen BQEF graduates last semester.) Miriam has completed five years of university studies. This year she’ll also complete a nine-month internship in health centers.
Miriam discovered her love of children’s dentistry during her fourth year, when her studies began to include working with patients. Miriam quickly discovered that in both the coursework and the clinic, she enjoyed pediatric dentistry the most. Miriam has observed that working with children under twelve requires communication with and cooperation from the child. The dentist, the child, and the parents all have to work together. The dentist also has to give tactful recommendations to help the family prevent further problems. Miriam enjoys this relationship building aspect of the work.
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.
Steeped in the rich heritage of the Aymara language and culture, Emma Quispe Mamani graduated from the Public University of El Alto in linguistics and languages.
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.
Congratulations to Martha Silva Canaviri on her graduation from the University of San Andres with a degree in Geotechnical Engineering. We're especially gratified when female students are empowered to enter traditionally male fields, particularly in a machismo culture.
(Martha and a classmate analyze materials from a field trip, above.)
Martha’s coursework included environmental impact studies. In one course, she learned to recognize different layers of clay and sandy soil by color and structure.
She learned to analyze the soil and water, and to study the distinct types of vegetation and animals in an area. The course included field work and classroom study.
Martha also participated in a case study of the impact of a supermarket in Achacachi, looking at both the positive and negative effects.
Congratulations to Sonia Carolina Llanque Quispe on graduating as a nursing assistant. Sonia graduated from the INFOCAL Technical Institute thanks in part to donors who supported her BQEF scholarship.
Sonia’s studies included practicums in various wards in the hospital. In the Emergency Room she learned to give blood transfusions. In her community health course, she researched and made a presentation to her class about care of pregnant women in the home.
She learned to provide both physical and emotional care for patients who could not move themselves in the trauma ward, and assisted in surgery for a broken nose in the ear, nose, and throat clinic.
Sonia is particularly concerned about children’s health and took part in a vaccination campaign. It was a very good experience for her training and a successful campaign.