Ariel Gonzales ’21

Fundacion Bolivia Digna

Under the scorching sunlight, I find myself struggling to breath. Although I have not exercised in months, I am running as if I have been training for a marathon. With sweat dripping down my face, I run with a few children, playing a game that they call “la lleva.” Thirty minutes pass by and the children are still full of energy, smiling from ear to ear. Their liveliness combats my now languid body. Nonetheless, at that moment I have never felt so alive.With the same children I was playing with, I began to read a book that detailed the wonders and fertility of spring. Instead of their energy being consumed for physical activities, it was now used to focus on what I was uttering. Their attentiveness and eagerness to quench their intellectual curiosity struck a chord with me. Despite their circumstances, the children were yearning for an education that would have not been available anywhere else. Now the children were staring back at me with eyes filled with amazement. At that moment, I realized that education or non-profit work are areas in which I would like to further delve into.

Fortunately, I was recently accepted to become a volunteer at Fundacion Bolivia Digna, which provides security and informal education to the children of Cochabamba. Furthermore, I will be a science teacher’s assistant, where I will work closely with an educator to formulate lesson plans that will make science fun and accessible to the children. With my strong background in the sciences and mathematics, I also plan to demonstrate various science experiments—to ultimately implement the idea that science can be entertaining. I personally believe that every child has a passion for something, ranging from playing an instrument with such fervor to inquiring about the natural phenomena that surrounds us. However, the task of unveiling a child’s passion is placed into the hands of society. We are responsible for exposing children to different areas of study, piquing their curiosity about the countless possibilities that are ever so present.

I want to instill wonder and awe in the children when I demonstrate the formation of rock candy when a supersaturated solution is present. I want to assist the children in finding their passion, by showing them the plethora of scientific branches that ultimately constitute “science.” Not only will I be a teacher’s assistance, I also hope to become someone the children can confide in, trusting me with the stories of their upbringing and their ambitions that they hope to accomplish. Once I return to the United States, I will make sure the children’s voices will be heard in the Bowdoin Community and beyond.