Future Aymara Teacher: Juana and Her Siblings are Going to School Thanks to Your Gift

Juana Ruperta Carani

Juana Ruperta Carani will graduate from high school this December with an excellent academic record.

She came to the BQEF Student Residence (aka Internado) in Sorata in 2009 as a timid 7th grader. The school in her home community of Chuchulaya only goes through 6th grade, and Juana wanted to be the first in her family to go to high school. Her stepfather, Luis, had applied for Juana to join the Student Residence so she could start 7th grade.

Benito Jallurana, center, with Luis and his friend, both of who ran and walked the steep Andean trails for six hours to see if their daughters were admitted.On the day we were to post the list of those accepted, he was anxious to confirm that Juana was included, so he and another parent from Chuchulaya left home at 2:00 am to walk and run in the rain to arrive by 8:00 am. Happily, both their daughters were on the list.

At first Juana spoke only in whispers when adults were present. She was too shy even to talk to the houseparents and asked other girls to speak for her when she needed something.

Now, however, Juana is a self-confident and capable young woman with many talents. She is also a skilled knitter and seamstress, having learned to make the elaborate tightly-gathered traditional skirts that use 6 or 7 yards of fabric. Juana has served as the leader in the girls' dormitory this years and encourages others to do their best.

Education - A Family Affair

Juana’s younger brother Fidel also came to the Student Residence as a timid 7th grader and is now a responsible, high-achieving 10th grader. Their sister Ricarda, a shy, earnest new 7th grader, has joined them. Like her siblings, Ricarda is developing more self-assurance and communication skills.

Breaking Bread With Juana and Her Family
When Quaker Service and Study Tour members visited Chuchulaya one Sunday morning, we met the extended family, but were puzzled at Juana’s absence. We had a tour of the cornfield, the chickens, and the clay oven where they bake their bread. We were introduced to two Quaker pastors who had walked seven hours in order to offer meeting for worship with Chuchulaya Quakers in the small room that Juana’s family maintains as a church.

Eventually, we were asked to sit down on the benches along the wall of the courtyard and the mystery was revealed - Juana emerged from the kitchen with plates heaping with lovely food she had prepared for us. We were humbled and deeply moved as we shared this generous repast.

Juana and her family are grateful for the opportunities the Student Residence provides. Juana has decided on a career as a teacher. In January she will be taking the highly competitive entrance exam for the five-year university program in education.

We wish her well!