I’ve been back in Bolivia a short while now, after a lovely visit with many of you. Thank you for all your kindnesses during my visit, and your continued support of the mission. I didn’t speak of this while I was home, because I wanted to see it actually happen before I said anything. Juan Ramiro Mallqui Patana, one of the graduates of our youth formation/university program, who graduated in 2012 with a degree in Educational Psychology and Curriculum Development, has returned to join the team in Mocomoco for one year. Last year, he worked in a special education setting in La Paz and then in Brazil(!), and decided to pause to “give back” to his own people.
Ramiro is a strong teacher and leader, and will work with catechesis, language and alphabetization with lectors and catechists, and human formation with those preparing to enter university. This year he guides Jhonny Ari Pampa and Rene Chagua Ari, our students preparing for higher studies; and Franklin Villca Mamani, Adriana Jimenez Mancilla, Laura Jimenez Mancilla, and Pilar Vera Loza, who are preparing for Confirmation within a catechumenal model. He will receive a small stipend for his personal needs. After this year, he hopes to move into the government education department to bring Catholic and Vincentian influence in a lagging educational system.
Today is a special day. This morning, Flora loaded the car with a few last things to go down to Ingas and officially open the formation center/lunch program in Ingas! She was, as is her character, confident and happy to be serving the poor. We opened and outfitted the center with your donations, as well as support form people like you in Spain and here in Bolivia. The Bolivians will continue to support the lunch program in coming years, but we’ll need to find additional support and donors for this program for 2015 and beyond. I’ll be posting a full budget so we can think about who we might reach out to for support.
Our students supported by people in the USA continue to thrive. Lic. Oscar Choconapi has graduated, and Dr. Felix Yujra has started his internship! Claudia Jimenez (supported by Eileen DiFranco’s Church community of St. Mary Magdalene) will complete her law degree this year. Jhonny Ticona (supported by St. Vincent’s Church) is in his last year of Computer Systems Analysis. Ivan Yujra (supported by an individual) is in his last year of Chemical Engineering. We’ll be looking for supporters of Jhonny Ari Pampa and Rene Chagua Ari, our volunteers in their pre-university year here in Mocomoco, when their time comes. Aida Flores has decided to delay her studies in nursing, and is working with the Sisters in a home for the aged. Maybe a vocation?
That’s all for now. The heavy rains have stopped and it’s a sunny day. Diego and Cyrille are in good spirits and working hard. Cyrille and Violeta are having great success with Sayt’asim — the development and systemic change project in Italaque. See the VSO bulletin article on page 2. I’m headed to La Paz to shop for some of our needs, visit with the Bishop, and then back on Wednesday!