Stomach upset and virtual newsletters

By: Johnny Baltzersen

First, a bit about corona in Bolivia 

As the globe shows, Bolivia is on the side of the equator where summer takes the place of winter in December-January. That’s why schools in the Potosí Highlands are only now getting started after the summer vacation. However, it is unclear how much is happening and how many students and teachers will or can show up.

Bolivia is currently being hit by two waves of COVID-19, one of which is carrying record levels of infection. Over 220,000 new cases in January this year, compared to just over 820,000 infected since the start of the pandemic almost two years ago. With only 45% of the population vaccinated, Bolivia lags behind most other Latin American countries.

The second wave, which may only end up as a few ripples, is protests against vaccines, against PCR testing and vaccine passports. We hear that the protests, like so many other places around the world, are fed by a mix of very diverse sources. There is health-based skepticism about vaccines as such. There is dissatisfaction with the logistics of vaccine distribution. The government has introduced corona passports and there is dissatisfaction with the cost of the tests needed to update the passport. Some indigenous groups are among the vaccine opponents.

As our partner in Bolivia reminds us, there is a tradition of road blockades and other physical obstructions when groups in the country are unhappy. There have been scattered blockades, but we don’t yet know how the unrest will affect the start of the school year.

And now for the upset stomach and creative youngsters

While we wait for news, we are pleased that the project in Potosí is showing results that are also being recognized by the Bolivian Ministry of Education.

At one of the socio-productive schools in the project, students have been working on the theme ‘clean water’. And since the project is also committed to communicating its activities to local communities and the wider world, the students have written and recorded a video clip that is shared as a virtual newsletter.

Project Manager Pedro Apala explains: “The Ministry of Education has asked the project for permission to use the videos so that children in other schools in Bolivia can also watch them and be inspired to create such videos themselves. In this way, we support the Ministry of Education so that children from other indigenous communities can get started with their work with virtual newsletters, and the project also contributes to putting interculturality into practice. It is the children and young people themselves who produce their “newspaper”, and those who have already had the opportunity to participate in this work are very enthusiastic”

The video speaks for itself, so even if you don’t speak Spanish or Quechua, you can see the students getting thirsty after gym class, running up the hills to quench their thirst in a stream and getting a stomach ache because the water is contaminated. Luckily, a young, energetic school principal calls in the local doctor and nurse, and the upset stomach leads to a good chat about important topics. Watch the video here

Share in your network

Latest blog posts

Sign up for our newsletter