A Discussion with High School Students Attending the Yatiqañ Uta, Trinidad Pampa, Bolivia

July 25, 2012

Background: As part of the Education and Global Social Justice Project, in July 2012 undergraduate student Lisa Frank interviewed 10 high school students attending the Yatiqañ Uta. José Paucara was also present. Fe y Alegría Bolivia's Yatiqañ Uta (in Aymara, Yachay Wasi in Quechua) is a residential education program that aims to give children in rural areas the opportunity to continue their education through secondary school. While living in the Yachay Wasi, the students engage in cleaning, agriculture, and formation. In the Yachay Wasi in Trinidad Pampa, there are 56 students and three educators. In this interview the students discuss what they like about the Yachay Wasi, their daily routine and housekeeping responsibilities, areas for improvement, and their plans for the future. 


  • Adrian Santos Arce Quispe, fifth A, Los Angúlas​; 
  • Alison Phambi Aliaga, second A, Nogalani Coripata;
  • Deysi Colquehuanca Rodriguez, sixth, Sanfélix;
  • Doris Apaza Nina, fourth B, Marquirivi;
  • Edwin Vladimir Colque, third B, Dorado Grande;
  • Elián Álvaro Chura Saire, fourth B, San Agustín;
  • José Luis Quispe Olorio, fourth B, Dorado Grande;
  • Judi Jové Espinoza, fourth B, Ciénagas;
  • Lider Inti Ruiz Machaca, first B, Nogalani Coripata;
  • Nymfa Quispe Mamani, fifth A, Dorado Grande.

To start, what do you like best about this home and school?

  • We share with everyone.
  • The best thing here is that we learn a lot of values, and there is a lot of learning. There is always support from teachers.
  • The teachers require us to meet our obligations.
  • The good thing about being here is that we are taught agriculture, planting vegetables, things that some people do not have the opportunity to do.
  • We share with our colleagues—they support us in good times and bad—and also learn to divide our time. We can’t do things at just any time. There’s also a lot of support from the educators, here and at the school.
  • What I like most about this house is that we learn values: respect, honesty, all values.
  • We come here to learn and grow so we can have better lives.
  • We share, we open up more, and they challenge us so we do well in the future.
  • What I like about this is that everything the educators teach us is challenging; the courses will always help us in life. I like to share with everyone.
  • Also on Saturdays, we have cultural evenings. We learn not to be afraid to talk and share.
  • We have dances, comedies, and social events every week.

What are your favorite subjects?

  • Everything!
  • Everyone has their favorite subjects. Mine are physical education, music, and English.
  • I like chemistry and music.

Or, do you not like any of them...?

  • I like mathematics, physical education, English, natural sciences, social sciences, everything.

So this guy likes everything, and the rest of you, nothing? Are the courses here very demanding, or interesting, or not?

  • Interesting and challenging.
  • You have to be responsible in everything.

What sort of relationship do you have with your teachers?

  • It’s very good. Friendly.
  • Yes, like she said.

Do you like going to school?

  • [All] Yes!

What is your routine here?

  • First, we get up at 6:00 a.m. Then, we clean our rooms and go down to have our breakfast at 7:00 a.m. At half past seven we go to school, and or we walk at 8:00 a.m. in winter. Then at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon we return here. At 2:00 p.m., or half past two, we eat. Then we return to our spaces and at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon we do our work in agriculture.
  • Some of us also have afternoon classes. Most of us do.
  • Then, we have classes. At 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. we have our tea. Then, we get ready and do our homework starting at 7:00 p.m. At 8:00 p.m. we eat dinner. There is a pause, and then we go back to our homework. Some wash dishes and tureens, those working in service that week. At 10:00 p.m. in the evening we go to bed.

Is there enough time for homework?

  • Yes.
  • No.
  • Some work later, those who are older.

So all the hours of the day are very scheduled... Do you like this?

  • [All] Yes.

I know you work in brigades. Can you tell me how brigades work, and if some of you are leaders of the brigades?

  • There are two brigades, for cleanliness and management. We’re split into these two brigades. One brigade is responsible for cleaning everything: wash dishes, the bedrooms, sweeping. The brigade for management does all the planning.

And in a year, you rotate through all the tasks?

  • Yes, we change every week, every Sunday.

How do you decide who are the leaders of the brigades?

  • Each has a leader. They are the ones that organize everyone.
  • The teacher decides who is responsible.

What are the jobs that you have now in the brigades?

  • Dining. I like it.
  • Bedroom, my bedroom always has to be neat, morning, afternoon, and night.
  • I wash the soup tureens.
  • I’m in cleaning, and I have to wake up and fix the bedroom.
  • I work with the chickens. I have [this job] for a month [and] give them food, eggs, water.
  • I am treasurer, and I have this role for one year. I have to distribute the vegetables, make the weekly menu. For example, if we have api [a popular Bolivian drink] Monday, I have to get the api, how much. I have to get the rolls of bread and do a lot of math. The teacher gave me this job a year, and I like it.
  • I work in dining with José Luis. It's nice. There are 23 of us, and we clear tables, wash glasses, etc.
  • I’m in administration. Sometimes it's boring...

Do you decide how to spend your time on these tasks, or is it planned?

  • All planned.

And in the brigades, do you all work together?

  • Yes, always.
  • Not always, but almost everyone. There are also some solo jobs.

What else do you do or learn here, in addition to school and your tasks? Are there other programs or courses?

  • Last year we had the support of an educator who came from Fe y Alegría. She helped us. We had courses with her. It was nice to spend time with Professor Janet.
  • We worked on the issue of discrimination. Here we can’t see if you're black or wear the best clothes, nor do we see social classes. Here we’re all equal.
  • We talk about problems. We open our minds to problems in the world, what things would be good for the world and the earth, and what things would be bad for the earth.
  • For example, we learned that it’s bad to litter and deforest the land.
  • Responsibility.
  • Trust.
  • To value ourselves, to accept ourselves as we are.

Do you have many friends at school who are not in the Yachay Wasi?

  • [All] Yes, many.

Do you see any differences in their experiences?

  • Our friends down there are not as educated. They’re irresponsible; they get into gangs.
  • They don’t bathe.
  • They get into gangs and cause many problems.
  • Sometimes they don’t come to classes, which we could never do.

Is it difficult for you to live here?

  • [Many] No!
  • It's fun.
  • We share everything.

Was it hard when you came here for the first time?

  • Yes, but with time, we got used to living here.

What are the hardest parts, or the things you don’t like so much? What would you change if you could?

  • Computers.
  • The court needs lights.
  • A shed.

Or, something at the school?

  • Cutting and making clothing.
  • Computer classes.
  • A chemistry lab.
  • Lockers.

Or the Yachay Wasi?

  • The chairs—some have broken legs.
  • The mattresses.

Thinking back, did you receive the Bono Juancito Pinto [a voucher for school-age children] in the past? How did you use the money?

  • School supplies.
  • Yes, things for school.
  • [Many] School supplies.
  • I spent it.
  • Attire.
  • Yes, clothes.

And now, thinking about the future, what you want to do when you graduate?

  • Study mathematics.
  • I'd like to be a football player, and study architecture.
  • I would like to be a computer scientist and study, or to be a doctor.
  • I'd like to be a politician or physical education teacher.
  • I'd like to be a tour guide, so I need to study many languages.
  • I'd like to be a teacher of chemistry and biology.
  • I'd like to be a doctor, and I would like to be a tourist to get to know different countries.
  • I'd like to major in agronomy and auto-mechanics.
  • I would like to study mechanics and auto-mechanics.
  • I would like a scholarship.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

José Paucara: Was it clear about the heart? Community life, technology/production, and development. What, of all these, do you do?

  • In technology we have various media. Television, computers, radios.
  • We do carpentry and welding.
  • We all work at all of these.
  • There is also agriculture, with Professor Bartolo. We work with the bees. Ten of us do beekeeping. I've gone on Saturday to accompany him to see the bees.
  • We go to Waykuni on Wednesday and Saturday.
  • I was helping to fix the carts, and some were planting carrots, and others took care of other plants.
  • I was helping on the slopes, which are eroding.
  • We care for chickens and pigs.

Do you do work like that when you’re with your families?

  • [Many] Yes.
  • We help out with the harvest.
  • We plant and harvest coca.

Paucara: And what will they do with the little pigs? 

  • Those working on it will learn to make sausages. We have everything we need to do this. We have two little pigs: one we’re going to eat, and the other will be for the course. 
  • Twenty students chose to participate in the course. It's a bit difficult: you have to bathe them and give them food. But when you know the purpose, it’s good.
Opens in a new window