Learn about previous projects we've participated in.
Map of Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia
Source: Juan Carlos Merco Vilca (2008). The forms of ownership and their registration: indigenous lands and natural resources. AECID / Bolivia. Link: http://territorioindigenaygobernanza.com/web/bov_10/
Community Projects - 2019 Bolivia Study Abroad Trip
Guarayo indigenous territory, close to 2 million square hectares, some of the most important timber reserves in the country.
Community Clean Up
Students helped pick up trash in the community for a day.
Salvatierra - A remote village in the forest the students visited. During their visit, the students were greeted and given a tour of the church in the village. A recorded video of an alligator was shown to the students. It measured about 7 meters long and was a source of food for the community. Students visited a home where women were weaving in addition to learning about about uncontacted indigenous peoples (Sirionó) living in voluntary isolation that migrate along the river, using bow and arrow.
Filmed and took pictures of logging and young Guarayos playing violin in the forest which they/we believe is important in conserving the forest and supporting alternatives like the music school and handicrafts (clothing, purses, violins) instead of logging activities.
Yaguaru Community (also in Guarayos)
Musical performance by elder and other musicians at Modesto Ponez’s house (Fermin Ponez etc). Elder women performed Guarayo dances with students and GEO staff. Donation of laptop from Next Step Recycling. Donation of 600 Bolivianos to women performers, musicians and music school (the music school professor bought 2 music stands with the funds and sent us pictures of them).
Urubichá Music Institute and Mission
Upon request we filmed and took photos of music/chorus performances and production of musical instruments and clothing/purses etc. at the Urubichá Music Institute and Mission, renowned internationally for its mastery of indigenous/Baroque music playing and violin manufacturing. Students interviewed teachers and staff about needs, challenges and successes. We have amazing videos of them playing at the school and mission church baroque music, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, Yesterday etc.
The children at The Urubichá Institute of Art, Choir and Orchestra are practicing for their performance in the video above. They played the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean in their concert. For background on The Urubichá Institute of Art, Choir and Orchestra please see the following news articles: Jesuit Legacy in the Bolivian Jungle: A Love of Baroque Music - New York Times Jungle Baroque- The Guardian
In the past Guarayo students and professors from the music school traveled to Europe, the US and elsewhere in Latin America to play and hope to do so again when conditions permit. They are open to online performances as well, and in general are open to collaborating. Please contact the Institute, SIREJ Bolivia or University of Oregon Professor Derrick Hindery, if you are interested in supporting these efforts. Please also contact them if you would like to volunteer remotely or in person to support the school, or other projects that SIREJ is working on with Guarayo and other indigenous peoples from Bolivia.
A Chiquitano/Monkox indigenous territory, where the fires reached, in the Chiquitano Dry Forest.
"Minga" - Community Work Collective
Invasive species removal (tarope plant) with the community (a “minga” work collective) in the lagoon to reduce mosquitos, alligators/snakes & facilitate fishing. Students also picked up trash and raked/picked up plant debris (fallen leaves etc.) in the plaza.
Teaching - Environmental Education & Community
Study abroad participants taught for a couple hours on 2 separate days to elementary children about a) environmental education (what they considered important in their forest, rivers etc., how they conserve it, what they/the world could do better) and b) the importance of community. Children drew group pictures and we had discussions in small groups and as a large group.