“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:
As you may already know, Newton Garver died peacefully at home on Saturday, February 8 with his wife Anneliese present. While we regret the end of his life with us, we give thanks for the inspiration and example that Newton provided.
Bolivian Friends will hold a meeting for remembrance in celebration of the life and ministry of Newton, at Friends Church on Max Paredes tomorrow, March 8, at 10:00 am La Paz time (9 am EST).
BQE-Bolivia alumni, students, and parents, along with other Bolivian Friends who have known and worked with Newton, will be in attendance. They will meet until noon and then share an Apthapi lunch – an Aymara-style potluck.*
Bernabé Yujra, who together with “Brother Newton” began the work that grew into BQEF, writes: “We hope you will join us in spirit with your prayers this day.”
A Memorial Meeting will be held at the Orchard Park Meetinghouse, 6924 E. Quaker St., Orchard Park, NY, on May 3 at 11 A.M. Friends who cannot make that gathering are again invited to be present in thought and prayer.
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.
“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.” ~Kofi Annan
There is so much good work calling for our support as individuals, meetings, Friends. This time of year it can be hard to select from among the many appeals when deciding where to focus our giving.
Always, I am called back to this brilliant insight by Kofi Annan. Particularly in a small, emerging nation like Bolivia, where educated and ethical young people, living out their Quaker faith, can hold more sway in goverment and civil society. And where young Bolivian Friends like Irma Lima Tarqui give so generously of their time and treasure to help others, like the young students pictured here.
I had the opportunity to participate in 4 yearly meetings (SAYMA, NPYM, NWYM & PacYM) and the Friends General Conference [Gathering] this summer. My visit to the United States was for 9 weeks, during which I was in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Colorado, Oregon, and California.
I start by telling you, that this visit was a challenge for me with some difficulties that I had. When I arrived I could not access my yahoo mail, where I had all the contacts or references, then I saw that my suitcase wheels had broken. The hardest thing was the poison ivy for 5 weeks, and lastly a severe cold for 2 weeks.
But you were always there:
Friends, the grace of God is very great because you were always there to support me when I needed it, in every place that I was.
The Joys of Sponsorship
When my aunt died, she left my mother a small legacy. We decided that the best way to honor her memory was to sponsor a couple of Bolivian students who shared some of her qualities—a love of music and a love of children.
After corresponding with our two students, I had the great pleasure of going to Bolivia on the Quaker Study and Service Tour and meeting them at a potluck the entire group of scholarship students hosted for our group. Maritza greeted me warmly and tried to explain to me about her curriculum in linguistics and teacher training. Janelle came in later with her Christian Mariachi Band which entertained our whole group. It was one of the high points of my life.
I am back in La Paz for a few days so there is Wi Fi, I really am an internet addict!
I suffered a spot of "Bolly Belly" [??] yesterday, so the 4 hour public minibus trip from Sorata was a little uncomfortable as I was afraid to eat or drink in case!! However it soon passed and I have had a great day in the city today.
This morning I went to a presentation on the Aymaran language and its status on the Internet. It was very interesting to compare the issues raised with those faced by the Welsh language. There are no Aymaran schools and Wikipedia is still not available in the language but there is plenty of radio and TV. There are 5000,000 speakers of the language in South America. The students in Sorata are still determined to teach me some Aymara but I am very slow!
This afternoon I visited a Quaker school in La Paz and met the students who receive grants from the Bolivian Quaker Fund to continue their studies. They were a delightful, enthusiastic group and I hope to hold some English classes with small groups of them in November - some have requested basic German too!