[Translation] Reality at the University

Catalina Restrepo was in class when the University of Antioquia was shaken by small explosions when disturbances and riots started last May 9th. Following, she tells her tale.

Well, I was going to post a while back but I hadn’t found anything relevant that deserved to be written…

Today I’m back here again, trying to make words portray the fear that I felt yesterday while I was in the middle of a riot between the police and some university students.

I was in the Theory of Social Sciences class. The teacher had arrived at about 9:00 am and was somewhat angry because no-one was answering his questions, making it evident that very few of us had read the document we had as homework from the previous class.

It was close to 11:20 when several explosions were heard. The class continued and the teacher insisted that we should concentrate.

From one momento to the next, the explosions were closer together and people were leaving their class rooms looking for safer places, since the building where I am usually found is one of the most affected when events of this magnitude take place suddenly.

I had already come down from the third floor, but I remembered I had to deliver an assignment and I had to go back and get to the last floor to find the teacher’s office… Quite scared, obviously.

After handing in the paper, the classmates I was with decided we should seek the University entrance that is closer to the Metro Station; but there were so many people that were coming out like opened flood gates from every single imaginable place, that we decided instead to sit down somewhere we could feel safe.

We hadn’t been sitting even five minutes, when we saw up close some hooded and masked men and we even thought that they might be coming towards us. They moved on and some meters beyond they exploded something that made a very big noise.

Facing the prescence of these people, the people who minutes earlier had been conglomerated around an ATM machine looking at who knows what, left terrified; just like my classmates and myself at that moment, who seeing that those who were facing off with the police were so close, we quickly found a way to get out of the University.

Once I was outside, fear started invading me, the heat was terrible and a pounding headache wouldn’t let me be. The bit of [tear] gas that I had to stand managed to affect me greatly…

Facing events like these I don’t dare to take sides; but I will say that weapons used to make people feel stronger and braver are not the way to solve the problems for which they decide to fight.

After it all ended, the only thing left was anxiety. As far as I saw, nothing changed. The country didn’t stop having internal refugees and the people who are unemployed, hungry and homeless are still the same ones.

I would like for someone to tell me what change took place yesterday among pipe bombs, firecrackers, stones and paint; because to tell you the truth, I didn´t see any.

HiperBarrio in Medelink 2008

Translation of post by Jorge Montoya on hiperbarrio.org [ES]

CatiRestrepo Hablando del proyectoOnMarch 7th and 8th the Digital Culture  Festival in Medellín took place, Medelink 2008 [ES] . We were there representing our project. The main objective we drew for our presence there was to bring more people into our project of sharing knowledge with as many people as possible.

Two whole days standing behind a table, where some participants from previous workshops talked about their experiences and motivated others to join our network. AS a result, we know have a database where we have collected  a good number of people willing to be either facilitators or give workshops, and others who are interested in taking the workshops themselves and help the hiperbarrio family grow.

We also met with people belonging to local innitiatives who expressed the desire to join this project which bit by bit has stopped belonging to us and know belongs to everyone. We already have scheduled appointments with these organizations to see how we can work with their needs and what will be the steps to follow.

After this event, we are left with a positive balance regarding expectations and achievements. We need to look towards the future which will surely also bring great satisfaction to those of us who believe that we are doing useful, worthy and worthwhile work.

To each and everyone who has expressed their support, to those who volunteered, to those who are waiting to be a part of this process, to the Medelink organizers and the HiperBarrio team who were those two days telling their stories in person: Thanks!

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More about the event:

Closing Ceremony for Hiperbarrio 2007

On December 18th 2007, our Hiperbarrio closing ceremony took place. We got together at the auditorium in the Library Park Presbítero José Luis Arroyave in San Javier. Gathered were both teams of coordinators from the two Hiperbarrio proyects in the city of Medellín: the one in La Loma de San Javier and the ones in Santo Domingo.

The Library Network, who arranged for us to have the auditorium and the VideoBeam were present, and Dr. Piedad Aguilar, who directs the Library Network spoke at the beginning of the event to show her admiration for the work that has been done. David Sasaki, one of our biggest fans, who also happens to be Director of Outreach for Rising Voices, the organization that fathered our project and supports us through a micro-grant was also present. Global Voices author Eduardo Ávila, who runs the Voces Bolivianas Rising Voices project in Bolivia was also present.

We had slideshow presentations with pictures that the participants took as well as videos and multimedia presentations of the work that was done during the whole process of new media technology training.

As the evening progressed, both participants and organizers started talking about the project, their experiences, and the steps that should be taken into the future, speaking out about weaknesses in the projects and dreaming about what we would like to see in the future. The main problems mentioned were technical issues like internet connection speed and the lack of a stable connection when we work. Some participants who went to the Santo Domingo workshops from afar mentioned transportation costs as one of the problems.
Milthon from La Loma and Alejandra from Santo Domingo
Milthon, a La Loma participant who writes in his blog Helelbensahar, as Akenaton, presented us with an entertaining clown sketch. In the picture, he can be seen joking around with Alejandra. After that we all had some refreshments and milled around, later moving the casual conversations outside to continue talking after the library closed.

Edit: Please view our Hiperbarrio.org article in Spanish, with different pictures of the event, kindly taken by David Sasaki.

Guest post on The Where Blog

Brendan Crain kindly asked me to write a guest post on his blog Where: a blog about urban places, placemaking and the concept of place while he´s busy with NaNoWriMo.

He writes about urban planning and its impact on people who inhabit these “planned” spaces:

“Where” is, so far, the most technologically sophisticated result of my long-running interest in the urban environment and experience. It’s a small gesture, but hopefully it will get a few more people reading — and talking — about the role that physical places play in shaping our lives, culture, and society.

It was a pleasure to write this article. In the past I´ve felt drawn to any sort of projects which attempt to make cities liveable and pleasurable. Whether in Costa Rica, Medellin or the rest of the world, I believe that the inner city is where someone can observe the distilled essence of the larger metro area, where you will be able to see the characteristics that others desperately try to whitewash in globalized uniformity. Downtown spaces can make or break a city´s image. The past, present and future are all visible when you walk the streets where a city was born.

Medellín: a City Planned for the Other 90% (Guest Post by Juliana Rincon)

Medellín, Colombia, is a city that I’ve fallen in love with, and it loves me back. Whenever I walk its streets, ride the metro, or take a bus, I feel that the city was planned with me, and with all the thousands of others who, like me, don’t own a car and depend on public transportation to move around, in mind.

Continue reading

Carabobo

We decided to switch venues for the workshop this past Saturday, and we took HiperBarrio out to the streets in Medellin. Due to the long weekend, most participants couldn´t show up, so what we did was show Yennifer and Andrea how to use the cameras and frame pictures appropriately.

With the video camera we started recording a seamless walk through the complete length of Carabobo. The small still cameras were used to take pictures of details that caught our attention along the way. An audio recorder was also used to capture the sounds along the way: amateur performers singing in exchange for a few coins, vendors calling out their wares, the beeping traffic lights and the noisy intersections were among the highlights.

Since we reached our limit with our HiperBarrio flickr account, I uploaded these pictures up on a Picasa Album. You can view the Carabobo walkway in Medellin pictures here.

From Hiperbarrio e…