From the Field


Different Perspectives

  If there’s one thing we all agree on, it’s that no one seems to agree about anything! There is no need to go into specific examples of the polarization affecting societies around the world – we all seem to have a list of examples on hand at all times. I was in Bolivia last […]


The Political Crisis in Bolivia

Bolivia has experienced an unprecedented political crisis since October 2019. The conflict began earlier in the year, with the protest from many sectors of the Bolivian society against Evo Morales Ayma fourth consecutive run for president, contradicting what is postulated in the Political Constitution of the State, the country’s magna rule. Following the general elections […]


Dina and Linda

  As the school year comes to a close in Peru and Bolivia, we hold our “Achievement Day” assemblies with parents, teachers, and children in all of the communities we work in. The children present the processes and products of their projects during the year, the parents challenge their children to explain and show what […]


Regime Change in Bolivia

On October 20 Bolivians voted Evo Morales back into power but there were “irregularities” on election day. You may have read about this. The Organization of American States (OAS) and others suggested that the ballot system was manipulated and pressure grew for Evo to resign. Evo supporters, as well as those demanding his resignation, took […]


Elections in Bolivia

  In Canada we take democracy for granted. In Peru and Bolivia they don’t. As I write this blog, the Peruvian government has been shut down as yet again the President has been caught up in scandal and perhaps will join EVERY OTHER LIVING EX: PRESIDENT either in jail or living in exile while wanted […]


Ricardo, Class President

  Ricardo is the class president of our program in Villa Alba Bolivia.  He is in 6th grade; the last grade of primary school. This kid exudes confidence and humour. He was teasing me about my clothing and my bad Spanish (both warrant teasing). I grilled him on his duties as class president and what he […]


The Rainforest in Bolivia

As I write this (I’m in Bolivia) there are fires raging out of control in large parts of the Bolivian and Brazilian Amazon rainforests. Meanwhile, I have been in our communities which are in the jungle area of Bolivia and was struck again, as I am every year, at how much forest gets cut and […]


Food Security In The Jungle

  One of the differences between economically impoverished communities in urban areas of Peru and Bolivia vs in rural areas is that in rural areas, particularly in the jungle area of Bolivia, people are well-fed. The jungle still provides decent sources of meat (wild animals), fish, fruit, and vegetables (mostly cultivated). They also grow rice […]


Meet Yilda

  When we drove to Villa Alba, Coqui told me about a little eight-year-old girl named Yilda who had won a state-wide storytelling competition open to all students UP 16 YEARS OLD! After the classroom visit and after the parent meeting we were eating lunch when this super sweet soft-spoken girl came up to me […]


Azumi

  While I was visiting the different projects in the Cusco region I was excited to visit the Karhuacalla Project because I wanted to meet one of the students there. Azumi is a 10 years old student attending the 5th grade at our Karhuacall Project. She is showing great aptitude in her classrooms. She is […]


A choreographed approach to sustained critical inquiry among Indigenous learners Garfield Gini-Newman and Jean-Paul Restoule

Garfield Gini-Newman, a professor at the University of Toronto and a consultant with the Critical Thinking Consortium has written a chapter titled “A choreographed approach to sustained critical inquiry among Indigenous learners” in the soon to be published book Engaging Indigenous Students: Creating Pathways to Success.   I think that it is powerful and an endorsement of our […]


What Makes A Place Meaningful?

  What makes a place meaningful? The meaning and importance of place is a foundation of many indigenous cultures throughout the world, including the indigenous communities in Peru and Bolivia where we work. Recently, the students in our projects in Beni, Bolivia finished their Informative Cultural Maps for Visitors project activity, and over the last […]


Old Trails

  Broadway, the most famous street in New York City, was once a trail used by the Lenni-Lenape to move through the island of Manhattan. I like to imagine what it must have looked, felt, and smelt like to move north along that old footpath, strolling the rolling hills (now mostly flattened) and naming the […]


Spirituality in Our Curriculum

We state in our mission statement that we teach “harmonious values” (alongside critical and creative thinking) and that we want our students to become “socially responsible and environmentally conscious”. I’ve been thinking lately that what we are talking about is spirituality. I think it’s fair to say that the traditional “saving graces” for our world […]


Partners

  When we first begin a new project, and in every meeting, we have with community members after, our project coordinators and I always repeat one key idea: “This is not only an Alma project, but a partnership between the community, Alma, and local authorities.” Though our projects have changed since Alma began in 2010, […]


Las Palmeras’ Computers

In a recent meeting with parents from Las Palmeras, we were in a long debate about how to move forward with our project now that the school we created together is a registered public pre-school and primary school with two teachers hired and paid by the Ministry of Education. One idea was to include an […]


Antisuyo’s Balanced Diet

  I recently visited one of our new projects in the Cusco region, Antisuyo, to speak with the parents, teachers, and students and sit in on their first session with Alma. The goal of the day was to create a food pyramid with foods relevant to the students’ community, which will eventually be used to […]


Jhon Adriel, Huadhua

    Jhon Adriel is in the 4th grade at our Huadhua program. We asked him about how the program has helped his self-confidence. He said:   “At first, I was afraid to speak in front of my classmates, I just watched what they participated, sometimes I wanted to cry when the teacher asked me […]


Honourable Harvest

  My years as a boxer taught me early on that stepping to the side and looking from a slightly different angle will open up entirely new opportunities and perspectives. This holds true in teaching, as well. Today I reviewed a project outline where the main challenge was to “cultivate a nutritional eco-garden to promote […]