One of the biggest Bolivian diaspora communities is located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. There is no concrete data to adequately count the number of Bolivian immigrants in this region. However, the presence of Bolivian newspapers like Los Tiempos USA, a version of the Cochabamba daily, numerous restaurants like Luzmila’s, bakeries that make the famous Salteñas, and folkloric dance troupes, proves that there is an active and vibrant diaspora.
Despite these large numbers of immigrants, and their families, many of whom are born in the U.S., there is not much information about the realities of life as an immigrant, struggles of identity for those living in a bi-cultural world, or simply about the day-to-day activities of Bolivians living far from home.
In keeping with the mission of Voces Bolivianas, which is to work with underrepresented communities, we have decided to begin the first series of workshops outside of the Bolivian borders. On July 12, six participants took part in the first workshop to learn about blogs and each created his or her own blog. Subsequent classes will focus on content creation, including the posting of photos and videos and how to incorporate themselves into the greater Voces Bolivianas community.
Through a partnership with the Santa Maria Episcopal Church in Falls Church, Virginia, we were able to promote these workshops to take place in their computer classroom with highspeed internet, which they graciously provided for the classes. After the 9 a.m. mass, those interested were invited to register for the courses, and there is hope that the rest of the participants who signed up will be able to attend the 2nd workshops scheduled for July 26.
It was decided that Sundays would be the best day for the classes since many already were attending mass that day. However, life in the U.S. is often busy for all with other commitments, football matches, and other family functions.