Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2 de agosto: remembering the role of education past and present

Every year on the second day of August, children, adults, and the elderly from about six neighboring communities all gather in the village of Carmen Pampa to celebrate the "día del campesino." It is a day recognized exclusively in Bolivia's rural area that pays tribute to the agrarian reform that occurred nearly 60 years ago as a result of revolutions by indigenous people demanding equal rights and access to things, such as education.

Today, community leader Gregorio Chamiso spoke to a courtyard full of people at the local K-12 high school.  Wearing a royal blue shirt and a sash the colors of the Bolivian flag, Don Gregorio talked about the significance of this day within the context of indigenous heritage.  He also talked about the important role of education in the history of the local communities and reminded people that it is education that promises young people a better future.

Don Gregorio Chamiso, graduate of San Francisco Xavier High School in Carmen Pampa and father of three children, is an advocate of education.

"Today," Don Gregorio said, "isn't just about August 2nd. More than anything, today is about our continued struggle to ensure education for our children, so that they can have a better future.  Because education is what sparks development and prosperity."

After his talk, I thanked him for his inspiring words. He asked that I make sure his sentiments of gratitude and respect reached UAC-CP founder Sr. Damon Nolan, who Greogorio mentioned in his speech and recognized for her role in bringing quality education to rural Bolivia.

Carmen Pampa community members march for the 2 de agosto celebration.

Some of the youngest members of Carmen Pampa share an ice cream cone as they wait their turn to march.

School children and community members from neighboring communities stand at attention as they sing the Bolivian national anthem.

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