Bolivian Guest Enriches Students


Written by Leah Onderdonk and Andrea Zabkowski

Mrs. Spicer’s Survey of Latin American History class was entertained by a guest from Bolivia, Armando Zarate. Zarate was born in Bolivia, but he and his parents came to the United States when he was a teenager, “seeking a better life.”

The students were also treated to the national dish of Bolivia, called Salteñas, courteous of Betty’s Grill in Sterling. Similar to empanadas, salteñas are pastries filled with meat and various vegetables.

Zarate answered students’ questions about the South American country and even showed them a traditional dance, called the Caporales. The students and Mrs. Spicer joined in as Zarate taught the class how to dance the Caporales, which he learned from his parents.

While performing the dance, Zarate wore a traditional garb, adorned with bells and bright colors, and had a mask typically used in the dance. He explained that the colors and symbols of that covered the costume were representative of native culture and religions.

“We had learned about Quechua and Aymara culture, and I think it was great that he brought them to life,” said Spicer.

The students stood in a circle around Armando while he taught them the dance step by step, costume and all. The dance, which incorporated lots of stomping, jumping, and turning, was a hit in the class and quickly got everyone moving along with the traditional music.

“We left that day with a greater appreciation of the culture,” said Spicer.