Jose and Maria from Patabamba


Jose and Maria. 15 and 16 years old respectively.

These two are the outstanding pair in their 5th grade class of 9.
Jose is very serious, and clasps his hands together as he speaks, deliberately and thoughtfully. He wants to be a lawyer, and says he loves justice. This seems very abstract and somehow scary to me, but he is a nice kid, so we chat.
Maria is spritely and keen and her words spill out eagerly. She seems always about to laugh, and has a lot to say about her love for math.

They both love football, of course. They both say that the Alma project – an after school academy devoted to preparing them for university and technical college entrance exams – was very helpful for them. Jose explains that the subject matter coincided with their school work, but would delve deeper and give more perspective on what they were learning. He seems very thoughtful for a 15 year old. I feel a bit nervous, or careless with my words, compared.

Thankfully for me, Maria chimes in – she has Alma to thank, she says, for her understanding of the cartesian plane. We laugh. They want the program to come back, but unfortunately their community hasn’t managed to apply yet this year. Both of these two bright students want to go to university in Lima. Neither of them has ever been to Lima.