UAC-CP Grad and Business Owner Feels the Squeeze of Quarantine Restrictions

UAC graduate Erick Duran at his desk in La Paz.

Like many UAC-CP alumni, Erick Duran is proud to have built a successful small business to support his family. But now, as the COVID-19 pandemic upends life in Bolivia, Erick worries about the future.

A 2009 graduate of the UAC-CP’s Veterinary Science Department, Erick has many fond memories of his time in Carmen Pampa. He is proud to have helped build the church and some of the academic buildings on Campus Manning. He also recalls all the skills he gained through the College’s hands-on approach to education, and the many friends he made through classes, dorm life, and on-campus activities. 

“I am grateful to the College and Carmen Pampa Fund (CPF) for shaping my path in life,” Erick recently wrote in an e-mail to CPF. “I am thankful for all that I was able to learn and all the experiences I was able to have during my professional education at the UAC-CP.”

Since graduating from the College, Erick has tried his hand at different things. He worked for a  poultry association in Coroico, before moving to La Paz to open two businesses simultaneously: a veterinary clinic and a flooring store. Although he eventually closed the veterinary clinic, Erick’s flooring business, which just celebrated its 10-year anniversary, now has two locations in La Paz and El Alto. 

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has thrown the future of his small business into flux. After the Bolivian government announced a nation-wide quarantine in March, Erick shut down all business activities.

“Like all business owners right now, I’m worried about Bolivia’s economy and the future of my company once we’re able to resume activities,” Erick explained. Not only does he think about his own family, but he is also concerned for his 10 employees and their families that his business supports. 

Thanks to creativity and modifications, Erick has been able to open one of his stores to provide customer service by phone and has started accepting online orders and delivery services. 

Erick understands and respects the reason for the stay-at-home orders; the most  important thing is that his family and employees are safe, he says.  So while business remains limited, he says the best thing to do now is “stay home, stay safe, and wait.”

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