From a Distance

During my frequent stops and layovers at the El Alto International airport [ES], my good friend Mario [ES] would always drop whatever he was doing and come out to keep me company. Over some coca tea, we would talk about the state of the Bolivian blogosphere [ES] and lament that in a city of the size of El Alto, we could name all of the active bloggers on one hand. We should do something, sometime.

When the request for proposals from Rising Voices was released, that sometime couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. So on my most recent trip in May, we invited Hugo [ES], a very active and knowledgeable blogger from Oruro to come up on my bus to finalize our proposal. The rest is history, but the hardest, most challenging and most exciting part is yet to come.

Mario lives in El Alto and has been very busy with his citizen journalism experiment covering the recent mass rally throughout La Paz in support for the capital to remain in that city. Hugo lives in Oruro and has been finishing up his current classwork, and I am still in the United States and will move down to Bolivia in late August. Yet, we still manage to reach consensus and cooperation in spite of the distances that separate us.

We coordinate much of our work through instant messaging, the wiki, text messages and frequent emailing. One concrete display of progress is our web presence Voces Bolivianas (Bolivian Voices) is now up, but without much development. This blog will allow us to document our progress and the challenges that will surely present itself throughout the next four months.

The program is set to begin on September 15th in the city of El Alto.

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