Student Engagement in Climate Justice

Apthapis for Climate Justice in Bolivia

Apr 12, 2024

People sitting on ground by colorful blankets. Potatoes and other food is on the blankets.

Jazmin Soto Mayta is a university student in La Paz Bolivia and a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bolivia. Jazmin’s final project for her Certificate in Climate Justice and Faith was to start bridging the urban/rural divide among Lutherans in Bolivia.

Working with a group of peers from her university, Jazmin organized three apthapis, a traditional indigenous meal, to bring members of the rural and urban churches together in conversation about the environment. Together, they unrolled colorful blankets called aguayos where everyone placed the food they brought to share. Potatoes are traditionally the center of this shared meal, but the focus of the meal isn’t the food. Apthapi is a time to share sorrows, celebrate joys, and strengthen the community.

Over these colorful blankets and piles of food, church members discussed the dangerous impacts of mining on their water quality and on their children’s health, how rural communities are economically dependent on that same mining, and concerns about the fertilizers rural families are exposed to when the landowners spray their crops. These conversations are the beginning of a larger movement within the church to address the environmental degradation that threatens the well-being of the people and their lands and waters.