ISSUE 109

RELEASE DATE: 30 Sep, 2020

EDITORIAL BY Anneli Aliaga / Iván Rodríguez

ENGLISH VERSION

On the 2nd August of this year, in a drastic turn of events, the Bolivian government announced that all of the schools across the nation would remain closed for this academic year due to the pandemic. These events, in line with scholarly disruptions and closures across the globe, draw attention to the fact that we are not only undergoing a health crisis at this moment, but we are also experiencing an education crisis. Crucial moments in children’s formative learning years have been clouded by inconsistent online teaching, ambiguity and confusion as teachers, institutes and governments struggle to come up with solutions for their students. Access to the internet and technology to attend virtual lessons is a privilege that many Bolivian students do not have, for example. Every child in the world deserves to have an education, to have an equal chance at learning and opportunity. 

This health crisis has highlighted some of society’s ugliest and most deep-rooted fissures and has shown how far we are from achieving educational equality. While a curriculum-based education is essential and solutions must be found to accommodate students as soon as possible, we too, feel the urgency and the need to address the education crisis. We are here to somehow fill a void and provide an alternative form of fulfilment for those of us who feel disheartened by the state of education. Our temporary solution to the learning crisis is inspiration. 

What inspires you in your daily life? A good book, a motivational song, a powerful film, artwork, technology or humanity? Role models that we look up to inspire us with their stories of success, resilience, bravery and defiance. These people not only allow us to feel inspired by their actions, but make us act on that inspiration to create and contribute to society in the same way they have. Inspiration is cyclical in its nature: it unites us all in a never-ending chain of finding and emanating inspiration. Although some of these role models may not be educators in the traditional sense, they still provide us with valuable life lessons and an alternative source of education that goes beyond the national curriculum. 

We are dedicating our 109th issue of the Bolivian Express to inspiring stories told by Bolivians. Within these (now digital) pages, you can look forward to reading about teachers, technological innovators, musicians, athletes, activists and intellectuals. While students across the world are finding ways to overcome the challenges presented by the ongoing education crisis, these storytellers have set an example by defying all odds and soaring over the obstacles that were placed in front of them. Racism, homophobia, sexism, discrimination and disability have not stopped them from achieving their goals, which makes them role models in their own right. If you are looking for inspiration and hope during these unprecedented times, you have come to the right place.


Editorial Continues...

Cogito ergo sum

Acknowledge the moment inspiration strikes and patiently let nature take its course. 

When the philosopher Aristotle announced that the Earth was round, I imagine the panicked voices of people as they ran around chaotically upon hearing this news. A moment of surprise caused mass hysteria because people could not fathom an idea that was so different to their preconceptions, it would be difficult to reprogram it in their brains. People had become so complacent with their worldviews that they no longer questioned them. So, in a moment of inspiration, a philosopher's internal voice introduced a new phase in human existence. Something in the air felt different and people started changing the way they thought. 

These written thoughts are all rooted in inspiration and one has to ask oneself: how is it that figures such as Nikola Tesla and Pablo Picasso were able to change history and write a fundamental chapter in our lives? 

Inspiration is an obvious unknown in that it is the answer to all questions, a simple and tiny secret that each and every one of us carries within. Knowing ourselves and how to connect with the world and the energy that surrounds us could ultimately lead us to unveiling life’s mysteries. 

The codes have been set. Our actions tend to be determined by a law and order that was designed by some unknown entity, and we are surprised and shocked when another person steps out of line, or acts unconventionally. We follow this order without asking why: we exist before thinking. Has anybody really understood what it means to think before existing? 

From here on out, if the secret is within ourselves, and it’s our inner voice that triggers the way we act, I ask myself “shouldn’t we be true to ourselves and take risks in order to be loyal to who we think we are?”

Ludwig van Beethoven and Nelson Mandela were able to do this. They responded to their restless spirit, broke boundaries in response to their inner voice which led them to achieve incredible things. They swam against the current, thought outside of the box, and never looked back. 

There is a different, more free path we can take, let’s work on steering ourselves towards it. Finally, are we heading where we want to go, or are we going where we think we’ll be loved?

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VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL

El 2 de agosto de este año, el gobierno boliviano anunció la clausura escolar de todos los institutos educativos del país a causa de la pandemia. Estos eventos, a nivel global, hacen hincapié al hecho de que la crisis sanitaria no es la única crisis que estamos viviendo. También existe una crisis de educación. Momentos cruciales en los años formativos de los niños se llenan con clases virtuales, ambigüedad y confusión mientras que profesores, institutos y gobiernos, tratan de encontrar soluciones para sus estudiantes. Muchos niños bolivianos no tienen el privilegio de poder acceder al internet y la tecnología fácilmente, por ejemplo. Todos los niños merecen acceso a la educación, poder aprender y tener las mismas oportunidades. 

La crisis sanitaria ha resaltado algunas de las peores y más arraigadas fisuras de la sociedad, mostrándonos lo lejos que estamos de llegar a tener una educación ecuánime. Si bien la educación basada en un plan de estudios es esencial, y se debe encontrar soluciones para acomodar a los estudiantes lo antes posible, nosotros también sentimos la urgencia y necesidad de abordar la crisis educativa. Estamos aquí para, de alguna manera, llenar un vacío y brindar una forma alternativa de realización para aquellos de nosotros que nos sentimos desanimados por el estado de la educación. Nuestra solución temporal a la crisis del aprendizaje es la inspiración. 

¿Qué inspira tu vida diaria? Un buen libro, una canción motivadora, una película poderosa, una obra de arte, tecnología o la humanidad? Modelos a seguir que buscamos para inspirarnos con sus historias de éxito, resiliencia, valentía y desafío. Estas personas no solo nos permiten sentirnos inspirados por sus acciones, sino que nos hacen actuar sobre esa inspiración para crear y contribuir a la sociedad de la misma manera que ellos lo han hecho. La inspiración es cíclica por naturaleza: nos une a todos en una cadena interminable de encontrar y emanar inspiración. Aunque algunos de estos modelos a seguir pueden no ser educadores, en el sentido tradicional, nos brindan valiosas lecciones de vida y una fuente alternativa de educación que va más allá del plan de estudios nacional. 

Dedicamos nuestra edición 109 de Bolivian Express a historias inspiradoras contadas por bolivianos. Dentro de estas páginas (ahora digitales), podrás leer sobre maestros, innovadores tecnológicos, músicos, atletas, activistas e intelectuales. Mientras que los estudiantes de todo el mundo están encontrando formas de superar los desafíos que presenta la crisis educativa en curso, estos narradores han dado un ejemplo al desafiar todas las probabilidades y sobrevolar los obstáculos que se presentaron frente a ellos. El racismo, la homofobia, el sexismo, la discriminación y la discapacidad no les ha impedido alcanzar sus objetivos, lo que los convierte en modelos a seguir por derecho propio. Si estás buscando inspiración y esperanza durante estos tiempos sin precedentes, has venido al lugar correcto.


Editorial continúa...

Cogito ergo sum

La virtud está en reconocer el momento de inspiración, y esperar pacientemente su curso natural. 

Cuando el filósofo Aristoteles anunció al mundo que la tierra no era plana, imagino un pánico entre voces corriendo por sus alrededores, un momento de sorpresa agitaba a las masas que no concebían una idea distinta dentro de un preconcepto difícil de reprogramar en sus cerebros. El pueblo había guardado de manera tan profunda una idea, que no era necesario preguntarse por qué se había acomodado allí. Y así, en un momento de inspiración, una voz interna, iniciaba una nueva fase para la existencia humana; se generaba un cambio de pensar; algo en el aire se removía.

Esta pieza de ideas escritas, relata, como base del argumento; la inspiración, y se pregunta; ¿Cómo es que personajes como Nikola Tesla y Pablo Picasso cambiaron el destino de la historia, y escribieron un capítulo fundamental en nuestras vidas? 

Una incógnita obvia por el hecho de ser la respuesta a todas las preguntas, un simple y pequeño secreto que cada uno de nosotros lleva dentro. Conocernos y saber conectar con el mundo y la energía que nos rodea, podría llevarnos a revelar el misterio.

Los códigos están establecidos, tendemos a actuar según una ley y orden inventado por alguien/alguno, para sorprendernos y preguntarnos dramáticamente por qué nuestro vecino no actúa tradicionalmente, encaminado en ese invento de alguien/alguno: existiendo antes de pensar. ¿Hay individuos que han entendido verdaderamente que el pensar, viene antes que el existir?

Ahora y para continuar, si el secreto somos nosotros, y es nuestra voz interior la fuente de reacción a nuestros actos, ¿no deberíamos ser fieles a la misma, y arriesgar momentos por ser fieles a quien creemos ser?, me pregunto.

Beethoven y Mandela lo hicieron (respondieron a su espíritu inquieto), rompieron esquemas al responder a su voz interior, misma que los llevó a hacer cosas de alta calidad, remando contra la corriente, pensando fuera de la caja, moviéndose hacia adelante.

Existe un canal abierto, trabajemos en sintonizarlo.  

Finalmente ¿Vamos hacia donde queremos, o hacia donde somos queridos? 

ARTICLES FROM THIS ISSUE

The LGBTI population of Bolivia fights for Comprehensive Sexuality Education /La población LGBTI de Bolivia, lucha por una Educación Integral en Sexualidad

30 Sep, 2020 | David Aruquipa

Photo: Iván RodríguezENGLISH VERSIONThe Plurinational State of Bolivia has a Political Constitution that recognises sexual and reproductive rights and prohibits and punishes all forms of discriminatio...

Facilitating Disability / Capacitar un reto dentro de la discapacidad

30 Sep, 2020 | Iván Suarez Leaño

Photo: Programa LiriosENGLISH VERSIONWhen I was at university, I wanted to become a teacher at some point in my life. I felt that I had a knack for teaching, perhaps it was a response to the fact that...

Sign for Singani / Petición por el Singani

30 Sep, 2020 | Lanny Grossman

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Let´s reconcile Bolivia! / Reconciliemos Bolivia

11 Oct, 2020 | Reconciliemos Bolivia.org

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Chronicles of an English teacher in Bolivia / Relato de una profesora de inglés en Bolivia

30 Sep, 2020 | Nair Yumi Ode Hiramatsu

ENGLISH VERSIONI started teaching English when I was 21 years old. I had just finished university and still had no clear career goals. I received a call from a prestigious school in the city of La Paz...

‘Experience Bolivia’: Boarding Pass Vol.2 / ‘Experience Bolivia’: Pase a Bordo Vol. 2

30 Sep, 2020 | Jeff Soria

Photos : Alfonso Gorostiaga         ENGLISH VERSIONIn our last issue, we had the pleasure of connecting with ‘Experience Bolivia’, the travel agency that has opted to lead the...

Studying in a public univeristy / Vivencias en la universidad pública

30 Sep, 2020 | Wilmer Machaca

Illustration: Marco TóxicoENGLISH VERSIONYour time at university is shaped by the unique experiences and memories that you acquire over the course of your degree. In Bolivia, while each university has...

Enseña por Bolivia

30 Sep, 2020 | Claudia Arce

Image: Huascar CabreraENGLISH VERSIONA Better Future Exists! In February 2021, more than 30 young leaders with a strong sense of social commitment to Bolivia, will arrive at the Unidades Educativas (E...

Swimming Against the Current / Nadando Contra la Corriente

30 Sep, 2020 | Anneli Aliaga / Charles Bladon

Photos: Lars Baron, Revista “Las Super Poderosas”ENGLISH VERSIÓNHow Olympic Swimmer and Coach Karen Torrez Revolutionized her Sport in BoliviaA quick glance at Bolivia’s swimming records will tel...

Urban Music, Identity and Struggle in the Andes / Música urbana, identidad y lucha en los andes

30 Sep, 2020 | Carlos Macusaya, Eber Miranda

Photos: Pablo VargasENGLISH VERSIONWe’re a musical duo that primarily rose from the need to musically express and defend ourselves as “indigenous scum”, as we are commonly, derogatorily called. We wil...

‘Lenguas de Bolivia’

30 Sep, 2020 | César A. Córdova

ENGLISH VERSIÓN The app that allows people to learn and revive the indigenous languages of Bolivia whilst having funThe app 'Lenguas de Bolivia' was launched in April 2019 and is the product of a...