Tuesday, August 26, 2014

National Identity in Bolivia

As part of Aldeas Infantiles SOS, we carry out the Ludoteca programme for children aged 2-5 in our respective children's centres. We hope that our lesson plans on geography and the work around us can instil feelings of national identity in the children and pride in the traditions of their families. From respecting the fact that their classmate eats dinner with the family around the table every night at 7, to appreciating the indigenous language of their grandparents. It is this idea of national identity that we hope to provide self esteem to the children so that they can grow up with the feelings of engagement in the endeavours of their country.

Indeed it can be said the diversity of Bolivia, distinctive in South America with dozens of indigenous nationalities and 38 official languages,  mirrors the blending of cultures and identities in the UK.

The official name change of República de Bolivia to Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia is reflective of the many strands of identities and indigenous peoples in the country, proving the distinctive unification of the Bolivians furthermore.

Evidence of the public engagement in the discourse of the country is woven into the very fabric of the city, with street art on the national identity found lighting up most roads. Indeed, for anyone not acquainted with the national discussions, it can be a little confusing seeing 'Tupac Katari' or 'el Camino del Tipnis' everywhere. Indeed the Katarismo identity runs throughout many bolivians, where a political identity is pushed for the underrepresented indigenous. Named after national hero Tupac Katari, an 18th century indigenous leader whose final words resonate with Bolivian identity today: "I die but will return tomorrow as thousands.".

Indeed Bolivian national identity is a very refreshing concept, with the united population in the face of cultural difference and political instability. The connection to their national soil through the indigenous belief of Pachamama or Mother Earth, is representative of the collective mutual respect for the Bolivian land and cultural identities. Therefore it is with pride that SOS is able to provoke such a feeling within the children, who can grow up to demonstrate the distinct pride of being Bolivian.

Written by Keya Khandaker
Edited by Desirée Benson

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