From the Field


Elections in Bolivia NEW

  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 NEW

  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 NEW

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 […]


Alan’s Annual Trip To Bolivia NEW

  This year I only went to Bolivia as we now have 13 community projects there and because they are so remote it takes 10 very full days to visit all of them and that is with sleeping in the communities to save driving time. Also, this year a family of Alma supporters from Nelson […]


Food Security In The Jungle NEW

  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 NEW

  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 NEW

  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 […]


Getting To Know The Parents In Huathua

  We have started meeting with the parents in different communities where Alma has been implementing our programming. Recently we went to the community of Huathua Laguna, district of Quiquijana, province of Quispicanchi.   The road to this community is already rough and because of the continuous rain, the road was incredibly slippery. We almost got […]


Training Vs. Effective Training

  Ian recently came to Bolivia to help us with training. He tells us that there are two different types of training: training and effective training. The question the Alma team has to answer is: What is the difference between these two types of training? The more we train and learn from each other the […]


2019 School Year With Alma

  We started the year recruiting teachers for the new school year 2019.  Teachers who are enthusiastic to learn something different and willing to face new education challenges. The ALMA team got training and we prepare to continue disseminating the ALMA curriculum along with our teaches.  This curriculum promotes CRITICAL THINKING, ANALYTICAL THINKING, AND CREATIVITY […]


Alejandro

  Alejandro is 10 years old and lives in the Manguita community. Until recently he was a shy boy and not very sociable and did not have good grades in school. As a student in the Alma program, Alejandro is beginning to show encouraging signs in school performance and his teachers said recently he is […]