From the Field


New Year New Challenges

    Over the course of 2018, the Alma Foundation implemented five new projects – and we’re ready to keep growing. The new year brings an even greater challenge. This year we are implementing a total of 28 new projects. It won’t be easy but we are preparing for it, by training. We focused in […]


Chicha Morada

  Corn was domesticated from the wild grass, Teosinte, in Mesoamerica around 9,000 years ago. However, the word “domesticated” doesn’t seem to tell enough of the story. Teosinte looks nothing like corn, and the process of selective splicing to turn it into maize must have taken generations. Eventually, around 6,500 years ago, that maize made […]


Education in Vietnam Vs. Peru

  I am currently participating in a trip through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos and ended up visiting a number of schools in remote indigenous communities here. I couldn’t help but notice that almost every community that I visited has a primary school and most have secondary and “high schools”. Also, I noticed that the schools […]


Chinchero!

  Here in Cusco, Peru we are in the midst of our intensive teacher training program before we send our teachers out to their respective communities. This week, we are doing the final tweaks and edits to the many lesson plans that make up our different dynamic and indigenous culture-based project activities: create a fun […]


Karina!

I was walking quickly, trying to get my destination and avoid the traffic and crowds as much as possible. Since moving to the small mountain village called Urubamba, I’ve come to avoid going to the city of Cusco. As I was walking I heard a voice that sounded somewhat familiar, and when I looked up, […]


The Value of Story

Storytelling has always been a primary mode of learning in indigenous communities. Before colonization and “settler” education systems were placed upon indigenous peoples, storytelling was the way in which wisdom, often carried through generations, was conveyed to children. Today it is as relevant as ever and an integral part of how Alma delivers indigenous education. […]


Bumps in the Road…

  I was planning my trip to visit the Monte Cristo and Manguita’s projects. We were traveling with Dayana, Kathy’s teacher, her 2 kids Mateo who is 3 years old, and Sofia who was only 25 days old. In a normal trip without any setbacks, it takes around 11-13 hours but this trip was not […]


Keep Trying

  My grandfather used to bring cold lemonade and a homemade sandwich to the plains outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico where he grew up. The small lunch was the offering to his teacher, an old Mexican rancher who once rode with Pancho Villa, for lessons on everything cowboy. The old man would tell him the […]


The Road to Chumpe and Lacco!

    Chumpe and Lacco are far away. So far, in fact, that to drive there from Cusco is to drive over the spine of the Andes and begin down the other side – halfway to the Amazon! The good news is that they are within an hour of each other. So when we go to […]


Marathon

I usually drive on my own out to visit the projects, but rarely am I alone for the entire ride. There is always someone hitching a ride on the isolated mountain roads. Sometimes they are walking down from the community to take their animals to pasture, or often are heading back up after visiting the […]


Yissel and Damaris

Yissel and Damaris are sisters in first and second grade respectively, in our Biblioteca-style project in Manguita. Every time I visit Manguita, I am both impressed and thrilled with parental involvement in the project. The parents of Manguita inspired us to take home teaching strategies, where we develop individualized strategies for parents to use in […]


Things are changing

I walked by an old woman, in traditional dress sitting outside of her home, and noticed that she was sending a message to someone on Whatsapp. My two year old daughter can open my phone’s photo album and scan through the pictures. Google is launching weather balloons that can provide Wi-Fi and the Bolivian government […]


¡Don Chinese!

Lo llamo así de cariño, es el “personaje” del Municipio de San Andrés. Llevo viajando con él por más de un año. Tiene 75 años, pero nadie se lo cree; nos parece que todavía es un hombre fuerte para la edad que dice tener. Es gracioso porque cada vez que viene Ian a visitarnos a […]


Birdsong

I awake to the sounds of the birds. There are so many different birds: the loudest and most obvious are the roosters, self-consciously crowing since before sunrise. Next are the nearby songbirds and their familiar chirps and whistles that can be heard seemingly everywhere in the world. But then, from further off, deeper into the […]


Jungle Travel

There are few certainties. A hard to accept fact of life, but one that is clearly highlighted in the context of traveling in the jungle. The municipality is loaning us their 40hp outboard motor, which we mount on the long wooden boat of Don Wilfredo, a community leader and parent from Monte Cristo, in order […]


Coqui, our new project manager in Bolivia, gets “his feet wet” on first trip out to San Martin. Appears they have had more rain than us!

MI PRIMER VISITA A SAN MARTIN DE PORRES (BENI-BOLIVIA) Un día antes recogimos el material y lo cargamos a la camioneta para salir temprano según lo programado, como hay pronóstico de lluvias cubrimos todo con una carpa para proteger las cosas, apenas amaneció partimos con las profesoras Cristina y Dayana hacia nuestro destino. Después de […]


Boulder

The only guarantee when I head out to visit communities is that something interesting will happen along the way. In fact, it’s become so commonplace that I often don’t notice it as something notable. It’s sometimes nice to take people along on community visits to get a sense of those interesting things again. I went […]