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Celebrating Diversity


Editor’s Note: Missioner Tom Little shares his change of heart during a week of activities at the University where he serves in Carmen Pampa, Bolivia.

I just finished my first inter-carreras experience and it was not what I expected.

Inter-carreras, or inter-major of study, is a week long group of activities to celebrate the founding of the UAC- Carmen Pampa, where I work and live. These activities include sports, art, and even a beauty pageant. All of the activities are scored and the carrera with the most points at the end wins.

Leading up to inter-carreras I was confused and dumbfounded that the entire university would shut down so the students could play sports all day and dance all night. I thought of this as just another way for the students to get out of going to class.

When I asked around, no one could really give me straight answers to describe the week. I got responses like: “imagine all of the extracurricular activities you did as a student jammed into one week” or “we have homecoming and tailgating, they have this.”

The combination of uncertainty and being worn out from the semester so far made it so I was less than thrilled about the start of the week.

As the week went on, I had a change of heart. I was able to see the beauty in the events. I now realize that it is a celebration of the diversity of talents that all of our students have.

The scene is from a skit put on by the students

The scene is from a skit put on by the students

I loved seeing students being able to show off abilities that no one would have known about outside of this week. The team competition created an atmosphere that made everyone else invested in the abilities of their classmates and made them the stars of the show.

Vet students at a cultural night

Vet students at a cultural night

I am constantly amazed by the creativity and resourcefulness that the students show here. This week was a good reminder of how special this place is and how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be here.

Endnote: The featured image shows Tom and his fellow missioners Nate and Mary Mortenson in clothing for the administrator dance. The clothing is traditional for the Altiplano region of La Paz. To see more pictures from the event, visit Tom’s Facebook page.

From Southern California, Tom graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with a degree in crop science. He feels a deep connection to food and plans to work on agricultural development and food security while on mission. Tom served at Carmen Pampa University in Carmen Pampa, Bolivia.