Since the beginning of the Voces Bolivianas projects, it can be roughly estimated that 20% of the trained participants continue to write in their blogs after the classes end. Some might argue that this number is way too low for the resources invested into the project, while most would probably agree that the number is higher than the average for the general public, for those who open blogs and continue to write. It is, however, something that we are continuing to address.
Without a doubt, one of the main reasons for the decline in activity is connectivity issues. Based on demographic polling, only 1-2% of participants have internet at home. For regular bloggers, they can attest that this steady access really encourages regular posting. Recently, we have seen how this has helped with the production of content with the blog of Ruben Hilari.
Ruben, originally form El Alto, is a languages study at the public university, and he also ran a language school for students wanting to learn English and Aymara. Recently, Ruben received the opportunity to study and teach at a school in upstate New York, where he has been for the past few months. We have also seen the frequency of his updates increased as a direct result of having internet access at school and in his room.
For example, he has written about the holiday of Halloween [es], other special days at the school and about his first two weeks in the United States (translation):
-Of course, before starting the trip I was nervous and stressed.
-I was excited for my first flight and I could see the “Illimani” (mountain overlooking La Paz) up close.
-For the first time, I saw a giant airport where the planes were side by side like taxis
-Another things that impressed me was in Miami, the majority of people spoke English or Spanish.
-The first thing that Anne (host) told me was to put on my seatbelt or she would be fined. It appears that there is no cars without seatbelts.
-That night I rested in an American house, where I felt that everything was automated.
-Another thing that impressed me was that I didn't understand many of the things that they said to me in English, even though I had studied and I had taught English. It is nice for one's head to hurt trying to understand the English that they speak after having studied and taught English in Bolivia.
-It is very common to see supermarkets and nothing in streets like in La Paz.
-Peter, the school's principal, told me that they don't want to the school to be homogeneous, rather heterogenous.
The blog has helped him communicate to his friends and family back in El Alto about his new experiences in the new land.