[translation] One more day

Xady brings us a story straight from La Loma's violent history. Where paramilitary groups are just as likely to stop what they are doing for a quick game of soccer, than to shoot over your head at their targets:

Son, wake up, it´s 5:20 a.m. if you don't you'll be late today….

-Mom, five more minutes…

No, get up now!

Ouch.. the water is really cold, but what gives, the cold will be gone in a bit now that I have to receive physical education classes.

Move it! God Bless you, take care and if things get rough you call me from school and keep me updated….. Yes Ma'am, love you, bye.

It was a cool and fresh morning, the sounds of nature could be heard everywhere, it was beautiful to hear the birds sing, the sound of the crickets, the air that was breathed in was so, so, so… strange.

Good morning, please take out your Natural Science notebooks and could someone please do me the favor and read the last topic we talked about the last class.

We have natural sciences the first 2 hours of the day, then a break so that later on we received Physical education and sports, that one was the one I liked the most, because I like to know about all sports.

When the teacher came into the room he called the roll and following he gave us the best possible news for us… You have free sport today! That meant that we could play any sport we liked.

We stood in line to walk to the sports field in which we played sports and played mini-soccer. In a few minutes we already had players for each team. After a bit of playing, one of the guys looked to the left of the field (where a little road connected the fields with the houses surrounding the school) and with him all of us turned our heads to see what he was looking at… we hadn't looked for 3 seconds when down that path 7 paramilitary members (paracos) armed to the teeth appeared. I remember that the one in front carried a shotgun, grenades and a gun on his back…

Hey kids! How you doing?

-fine thanks, and you- we all answered with out of breath voices.

-well for the meantime, thanks to God – they answered.

Can we play with you? At that moment we all looked at each other and didn't know what to say, when one of our classmates said yes.

Four of them dropped their weapons and started playing with us, we couldn't even concentrate on what we were doing, we didn't know what could happen if their enemies surrounded us, quite possibly we would die.

After approximately 15 minutes of game, one of those who weren't playing whistled, they looked and immediately picked up their weapons, put on their shirts and thanked us;

-You, yes you, tell the principal to send you guys home because in half an hour this will heat up… move it!

I arrived at the Principal's office with my heart in one hand and commented what had happened. He didn't wait and told everyone over the P.A to leave immediately, in a calm and orderly fashion.

I always hung out with my best friends, Shory and Kid, we had been studying together since pre-kinder in the same classroom, one next to the other for everything.

When more or less 3 or 4 blocks were left to get to our homes, we heard something that sounded like firecrackers (they did this to scare the enemy) we reassured ourselves and continued walking. Five steps later a burst of bullets were let loose and immediately we ran as fast as our legs would let us, the bullets wheezed over us, we felt the shrapnel hit our backpacks as we ran, leaves fell from the sky with round holes in their centers… Tired of running we stopped a block away, suddenly a neighbor looked out the window and yelled at us “Do you want to get yourselves killed or what! Run to your homes! It took longer for her to finish saying that before the shooting started once again, each one of us ran into our homes…

Mom, I love you- was the first thing I said – Lets hide because they are just in front of our house…

One more day alive! Thank you God for this day…

[translation] As long as we are on TV

Yesterday, HiperBarrio project appeared on a national Television show called “Camino al Barrio”, or road to the Barrio. That same morning, a landslide swept away homes and lives in a neighboring community.

Akenaton was incensed at the attitudes of the people in his community in the face of recent events. Community leaders included, when they had to choose between assisting victims of that morning's deadly landslides in the El Socorro neighborhood or appearing on Television, guess what was their choice. He writes:

I'm not taking to the task of telling you what happened yesterday May 31st in the area of San Pedro here in La Loma; that will be done by others, some more sensationalist, other more objective, alas.

The thing is that death and tragedy, in the form of mud, went on a little tour around La Loma, and in their travels they stumbled on the neighboring barrio of “El Socorro”.

The event coincided with the coming to our hamlet of the show “Road to the Barrios” of Telemedellín, which was precisely coming up here to talk about disasters in this winter season. [Ed. note: winter in the tropics means rainy season]

That event seemed to eclipse all the attention of the La Loma community.

“What gives if several people in San Pedro drowned in yellow mudslides. Telemedellín is coming, lets head over there and see if we appear in TV.”

The community leaders, who should've been at the catastrophe's site, planning on what will be done with the homeless, the dead, and with the terrified community; preferred to go to the church area to spread the fetid smells from their lying mouths over the black foam covered microphones of the “Camino al Barrio” program, talking about projects, dreams, past and future. What about the present!

Who cares about the Paniagua band in comparison with this colossal tragedy?

Who cares about the “sainete”, the music and the theatre… WHO ON EARTH!

I am an artist, but I would never put talking about art in front of taking care of lives and lamenting deaths.

In the program, they only made a glancing mention to the tragedy. Only Beatriz Paniagua (great woman) tried in her interventions to make the event recurrent, but the incompetent program presenters (since my dog would be a better presenter than them) immediately veered off the subject.

There were some, who with all enthusiasm, saw in the tragedy an opportunity to become populars, and they went immediately with their photographic cameras to register the tragedy, to later show it like some animal in a circus.

Damn those pictures!

Although some of those who went off to take pictures are esteemed friends, I will not cease to reproach them their coldness. A tragedy is not an opportunity to be recognized.

Who cares who publishes the tragedy! Tragedy is tragedy, instead of showing and exposing it we should start thinking how to help!

Although this post will not provide options to help, neither will the pictures. Next time you want to invite me to something, let it be to help, not photograph death to later show it to inspire false pity.

If our neighboring brothers die, if they stay without a home, if La Loma falls to pieces, if we worry more about a stupid show hardly anyone watches or to take pictures of the dead in the most miserable way, we don't deserve the title of civic people, of well meaning citizens, of human beings.

And if this post turns out to be insulting or aggressive, So be it! That's the intention. To see if people wake up from this sharp lethargy that has them thinking only of the possibility of being famous or popular, exposing tragedies or appearing on television.

I can't help but feel invaded by deep indignation faced with these people and what they do. Faced with inefficient leaders and useless commiseration.

[translation] An excuse to get together

Gabriel Jaime Venegas, Argos, has been the glue to hold HiperBarrio in La Loma together. He is mentor, teacher, support and promoter of the project and each and every one of the individuals that calls themselves ConVerGentes in the community. This past week they got together, and I´m translating his tale:

Since the middle of last year, when we started on the road to this thing called Blogs along with Álvaro Ramírez and since the story of Suso made us start working as construction workers building his house, we hadn't had a break.


HiperBarrio La Loma together

Since “every saint has his day” and thanks to the Asociation of Community Mothers Loma Hermosa, we managed to make saturday night the night to get together, watch a movie and share a barbecue.

At fibe people arrived to help prep everything and install equipment, then we saw the movie Freedom Writers and finally we ate, we saw the pictures we've been taking and we listened to a bit of music.

We missed all of those who couldn't be with us because of their obligations or because they are outside the country: Yesenia Corrales, Milton Araque, Isabel Guarin, Alejandra Medina, Alfedo Marulanda, David Sasaki, Álvaro Ramírez, among others who slip my mind.

Thanks to everyone for being there!

[Translation] Air or Cancer?

Xady, a HiperBarrio participant with the ConVerGentes group in La Loma, wrote and posted his family's experience with medical service in Colombia: a far too common situation where doctors give you check-ups without touching you and then recommend over-the-counter analgesics for what are later discovered to be very serious maladies. The following is an English translation. You can read the original in Spanish.

On any normal given day, Margarita wakes up early (4:45 a.m.) to send out her husband to work and soon after her soon to school. On Thursday, she was doing her regular housework in the same way she does it every single day: the difference is that on that day she wasn't feeling well enough to do all her tasks.

Margarita (my mother) is a housewife like many other mothers in Medellín. She works very hard every day so that we can live in a clean and welcoming place, besides, she makes the family relationships run smoothly and never break down or have problems. She could just be simply a housewife – I do my basic chores and then sit and watch soaps the rest of the day- nevertheless, my mother is convinced that her role should be of a moderator, a process facilitator. Learning isn´t acquired just by going to a class in any educational facility, but out of self love, attitude and the hope to have a better future.

While I was doing my regular routine of waking up, my mother was telling my father that her arm hurt, and I was attentively listening. She told us that her arm had a light tingling and she felt pain when she moved it suddently and besides, she had a sharp pain in her back. Later, she would try to make an appointment with a doctor our family knows.

My mother is well-known practically everywhere because she has become a teacher for children and teens who regularly go to the school, since many of them lack some skills and my mother tries to help them improve on them and develop their strengths for better personal and group development in the institution.

Whenever I come home from school I always find between 4 and 6 kids in my house, doing homework with her: she stands up, asks me how my day was and invites me to sit down for lunch.

This normal protocol is repeated daily.

Two days after she told us about her arm and back, she commented that her arm was back to normal, but that her back ached a lot, as if she had wind in her back.

She had been trying to ask for an appointment but first she needed a document that my father´s company gives him so that she can go to the appointment.

We spend several days pressing the company to send the document, so that we could then ask for the checkup for my mother. It was practically useless, since about 15 days later the paper still hadn't appeared and my mother felt even more intense pain in her back. 23 days later the paper was sent to my house, and the check-up appointment was inmediately scheduled, and we requested for some medication to be sent to the house to at least control her pain. We were unable to get the appointment with the doctor who regularly sees her.

On the days prior to the appointment, the pain increased in her affected area (the arm and back) and household chores became a nightmare when she had to do them. The pain made the most basic tasks become impossible to perform, and it made her lose concentration during the activities with the kids and teens that came to see her for help in their homework.

On the day of the appointment, she woke up early, she sent us off and she got herself together to arrive at the 8am appointment. The doctor arrived at 8:40 am and only mentioned there had been bad traffic and his cellphone had been left at home and he had been unable to warn them he'd be late.

He sent my mother into the examination room and proceeded to examine. After 30 minutes inside the office, both left and said farewell, my mother thanked him and went to purchase the medications the doctor had prescribed (acetaminophen, tylenol. He said it was just a crick in the back, something normal). After my mother left, three more patients were left, – “I'll be right back, I'll go grab breakfast, I'll return in a moment” – the doctor returned an hour later.

My mother still had the same pain, what he had prescribed was useless. Every day the pain increased and we had no ways to even calm it. A new appointment was requested at the “Leon XIII” clinic for her to be examined once again and to receive medications of some use. Five days later she went to the doctor's appointment, and the doctor this time was even worse than the previous one. After less than 10 minutes examining her, he told her it was a normal pain, didn't prescribe her anything and told her to make teas with tangerine and apple peels, that it would make her better, and if she didn´t notice any improvement she should take some Tylenol and ask for another appointment.

My mother immediately scheduled another appointment with a different doctor, and she wrote two notes before leaving, one she handed to the doctor's secretary and the other she left in the suggestion box. She wrote about incompetence and the lack of the doctor's humane skills.

The pain followed the same direction and got even more intense. My mother couldn't sleep and neither could we, impotent and unable to do anything about this pain that had us worried due to the situation that we were living at the time. Each day it got stronger until she lost movility, stability, couldn´t feel her legs and we were incredibly worried. My father and an aunt were doing complex paperwork and stood in endless lines to ask for an urgent doctor's appointment. (Years back, they had established a court order for a back operation, she's already had two.) AS far as paperwork was concerned, things went a lot smoother since she had won that previous court order.

After lots of hard work, waking up very early, endless lines, fights and hunger, we managed to get our objective: to have my mother seen by a specialist.

-It isn´t air in your back, or any type of injury-
-So what is this pain then, doctor?
-You have a tumor in your spinal cord-

Faced with this answer, our whole world collapsed and it was very hard to get over the terrible news, at that moment my mother was hospitalized for the following 51 days in various clinics and hospitals in the city, and by her side, my father who sat with her throughouth the whole process. The thought that our mother would be absent from our lives, not for one day or two, but a lifetime. It made my grades in school drop and my morale was in shambles. We all thought that it was just a tumor in her spinal cord. After a rigorous check, they found the real problem behind my mother's leg paralysis and the pain in her back: bone marrow cancer. This information was kept between the doctor and my mother, even though the doctors told her she wouldn't walk again, there was a 70% chance that the risky surgery wouldn´t be successful. She was always hopeful she would walk again and would lead a normal and independent life like any other person.

The doctor who checked her said the same thing every eight days, he would also say that her condition was incurable.

-we will operate in 8 days-

Due to this problem, my father complained in administration and the following days he was substituted. The new doctor checked her out and immediately said that he would program the surgery for the next day.

Date: September 26, 2005

Time: 2:00 pm

At that time the surgery began, and it ended at 7:00 pm.

“Recovery would take more or less two years, two months after the surgery she would barely be moving her toes,” said the doctor. That was completely false, because one month and fifteen days later, on my birthday, she gave her first steps and from that moment on she hasn´t given in against this harsh trial.

At this moment, April 5th 2008 she is in rigorous control which began every two months and is now every six months due to her great and satisfactory recovery.

“Miracles exist” and “Stepping back not even to make a running start” are common quotes said by my mother, Margarita.

(Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma)

HiperBarrio Poet-Bloggers Celebrate International Women's Day

In celebration of International Women's Day, Rising Voices grantee and Nari Jibon founder, Kathryn Ward, came up with the idea of a friendly poetry competition among Rising Voices bloggers. Participants of the ten citizen media outreach projects were given a week to write and submit their poems related to the theme “women hold up half the sky.”

Two HiperBarrio participants, Carolina Vélez López and Yesenia Corrales, submitted the following entries:


¿Moriré en vida?
Ya el frío me congela
Ya la razón se anestesia en la ilusión.
La oscuridad enceguece mi vida y la cara de todos aquellos seres queridos que me esperan.
Quien creyera, unas simples rejas me resguardan,
Quien lo viera, la dignidad se fuga al ver que le han impuesto cadenas,
Quien pensaría, que reconocer el error es enmendar y de nuevo comenzar.

De brazos cruzados suspiro mi silencio, nuestro silencio y el silencio de aquellas mujeres que anhelan dia a dia ser marcadas con resaltador, por la sociedad que las limitó a no ser nadie,
A ser polvo de hoguera
A darnos vida cuando nos recuerdan.

Talvez doy asco, porque me repugnan estas 4 paredes
Aquí si, aquí donde se extingue a la escoria hay un mundo,
Un planeta donde se hace lo posible por sobrevivir.

No todas tienen ideales, porque tiempo atrás en la clase de la vida,
Aprendieron a desvincular sus sentimientos, sus hijos, sus remordimientos.

¿Qué puedo decir? ¿Qué les puedo decir?

A este lado la monotonía es un himno, pero tiempo después recupero mi libertad,
Recupero mis lágrimas que resbalan una a una en aquella piel que envejece
Y agradece haber “SALIDO DE LA CARCÈL”

Todos tenemos una cárcel,
Todos tenemos un dia a dia
Y no todas pensamos y decidimos estar en una cárcel…

Will I die alive?
Freezing cold
With reason anesthetized by illusion.
Darkness shadows my life and the faces of the loved ones that await me.
Who would believe, some simple bars guard me
Who would see, dignity fleeing at the site of chains,
Who would think, that to recognize a mistake is to amend and start over.

With crossed arms I sigh my silence, our silence, and the silence of all women who yearn every day to stand out, by a society that limits them to be a no one,
To be ash of a fire
To give us life when we are remembered.

Perhaps I'm nauseating, because these four walls disgust me
Right here, here where they sweep up all the scum there is a world,
A planet where you do all that is possible to survive.

Not everyone has ideals, because some time ago in the classroom of life,
They learned to separate their feelings, their children, their remorse.

What can I say? What can I tell them?

On this side the monotony is a hymn, but some time later I will recuperate my freedom,
Recovering my tears which slip down this aging skin one by one
And feel grateful for having beeen “LET OUT OF PRISON”

We all have a prison
We all have a day to day
And we didn't all think and decide to be in a prison …

Yesenia Corrales

Convergentes – HiperBarrio


EL SER MUJER (original)

En un principio, aún incierto, apareció la mujer, un ser creado fibra a fibra de azúcar, adornado con tanto hilos dorados como sentimientos, un ser que se derrite con cada palabra que infunde fuego en ella, y que se enfría, levantando la pared más fuerte, con aquellas que llegan como témpano ante ella. Luego, aparece aquella cubierta que es más que piel, una cubierta conductora de emociones, de latidos, de vibraciones. Y apareció la mujer, y con ella la dulzura de las cosas hechas con la delicadeza que nada más se encuentra en ese ser.

BEING A WOMAN (literally)

In a beginning, uncertain yet, the woman appeared, a being created of sugar fibre by fibre, adorned with so many golden threads like feelings, a being that melts with every word that infuses fire in her, and that cools, raising the strongest wall, with those [words] that arrive like icebergs before her. Then, it appears that cover that is more than skin, a cover conductor of emotions, [heart] beats, vibrations. And it appeared the woman, and with her the sweetness of the things done with the delicacy that can only be found in that being.

THE WOMAN BEING (non-literally)

In a beginning, uncertain yet, appeared the woman, a being created fibre by fibre of sugar, adorned with so many golden threads as emotions, a being that melts down with every word that infuses fire in her, and that freezes, raising the strongest wall, with those that arrive like icebergs upon her. Then, that cover appears, it's more than just skin, it's a conductor of emotions, of beatings, of vibrations. And the woman appeared, and with her the sweetness of the things made with the delicacy that can only be found in that being.

Poem by: Camila Urrea Morales (Colombia)

Translated by: Carolina Vélez López

Tasks and Inspiration: Pictures and posts

Jorge wasn´t able to make it today (he had rehearsal for election day vote counting) and Peter had to work, so Galo and I ran the workshop. Like in previous days, participants arrived and checked the wiki. Today we were a bit scared about how few participants showed up. When we arrived at 9am, only Caro was there. Nevertheless, a new participant joined the group. In a way, it was easier for us to get her up to date in a crash course in blogging with almost no other participants: Luz Mabely was able to open her blog, a flickr account, write an introductory article and also explore a bit, all we needed was for her to open her google reader, but I believe that in a future lesson she´ll be able to do that as well. When we had finished, Ángelo and Yennifer had arrived, so Caro and Ángelo went to take pictures of the neighborhood and then Yenni went out with Luz Mabely.

Caro was inspired, as she said herself: she wrote 4 articles in that hour before heading out to take pictures. Crónicas de la lejanía, a critique on Good Charlotte in English, she wrote A story of MY barrio , and also did the task of the day: inReality she uploaded the picture she took and wrote about it:

Foto de Caro para La RealidadEstaciones hermosas, vagones impecables, limpieza por doquier. Derroche, luces, clase, estilo; pero más allá, se ven los techos de lata, las calles dañadas, el río sucio. Pobreza.

Beautiful stations, impeccable cars, everything is clean. Abundance, lights, class, style; yet, beyond, you can see the tin roofs, the damaged streets the dirty river. Poverty.

Ángelo was also inspired, so he decided to skip lunch just to be able to finish his article about the historical icon of the 80´s: the Renault Master 4 :

Foto de Ángelo para Renault 4Lastimosamente la gente de mi generaciòn estamos acostumbrados y en demaciados casos tocados por diferentes hechos ocurridos en los años 80, època de guerra, lucha,liberales,conservadores, embajadas,palacios,camisas de chaliz, zapatos zodiac, attaris 2600 y porsupuesto el juguete preferido del patròn el MUNRA el casi HIGHLANDER de los autos en Medellin el infamous RENAULT MASTER 4.

Sadly, those of my generation are used to and in many cases influenced by the different events that took place in the 80´s: a time of war, fights, liberals, conservatives, embassies, palaces, silk shirts, zodiac shoes, Atari 2600 and of course the patrón's [Pablo Escobar] favorite toy: the MUNRA, almost the HIGHLANDER of the cars in Medellin, the infamous RENAULT MASTER 4.

When Yenni and Luz Mabely came back, they were accompanied by Andrea, whom they found on the way in. Andrea took pictures, but wasn´t able to upload them to the computer because the cables we have don´t match her camera, however, she did write the article My work in Santo Domingo:

…hoy cuando subí en el Metrocable, mis compañeros de viaje eran unas personas de Bogotá, las cuales estaban sorprendidas y gratamente encantadas con lo bonito que se ve la ciudad desde este medio de transporte (Metrocable), de pronto una de las señoras dijo: esas Terrazas tan bonitas, que plantas, en ese momento mi corazón latió mas fuerte y como si la conociera y con un orgullo que se irradiaba en mis ojos, empecé a contarle a ella y a todos los presentes que yo había participado en ese gran proyecto que se llama Solares Ecológicos y al llegar a la estación Anda Lucia, les dije miren a la izquierda esa terraza es de la señora Felicidad, ella y su familia aprovecharon al máximo el proyecto y ahora tienen ese jardín con aromaticas, hortalizas y plantas, los presentes solo se miraban entre ellos y con un signdo de afirmativo con sus cabezas, decian eso es lo que necesitamos en este país que la gente haga cosas provechosas y así no tengan tiempo de pensar en la guerra.

Today when I got up in the Metrocable, my car companions were some visitors from Bogota, who were pleasantly surprised and enchanted with how pretty the city looks from this means of transportation (Metrocable), suddenly one of the women said: those rooftops are so nice, look at those plants, at that moment my heart beat faster and as if i had known her from before and with pride irradiating from my eyes, I began telling her and all of the others in the car that I had participanted in a great project called “ecological rooftops”. When we got to the Andalucia station I told them to look to their left, and said that rooftop belongs to Felicidad, she and her family took the greatest advantage from the project and now they have that garden with medicinal herbs, vegetables and plants, those present looked at each other and with nods said that this is what we need in this country, for people to do fulfilling things and not have time to think of war.

Many pictures were taken!

Luz and Yenni didn´t have enough time to publish their articles. They tried to, but the system would collapse every time they tried to publish something, they agreed to do it later on this week. Luz Mabely´s blog is called mi blog, and here is her flickr account. Yennifer wrote about a class trip during the week, so take some time to go and visit and learn what comes out of combining cold weather, tents and teens.

Then we went to eat something. Diana and Liseth, who are doing their thesis based on our project in Santo Domingo, arrived to interview the participants. We had a brainstorm for ideas of video projects to do on the next workshops and Caro documented the results::Lluvia de Ideas

For the next workshop, they decided to do idea number 3: record noises, and also the sounds these noises make. The free hug project will wait until we get the costumes.

At the end we weren´t able to get the press passes for Alta Voz, or to meet the Zampues girls during the two weeks. Let´s blame it on Phonetag. However, since Angelo was going to the AltaVoz concerts, we lent him the camera and lets hope he´s able to take pictures of the concerts and share them with the rest of us.

In the meantime, take a look at pictures the participants took in Hiperbarrio´s flickr, pictures are titled with the photographers names. We already reached the 200 limit on the free flickr account: anyone interested in giving us a Pro Account? 😉

Our hopes for the future

Abastecedor Santo DomingoWe are getting in on the groove. Participants arrive between 9 and 10 (the workshop begins at 9, when the library opens.) As they arrive, they open the wiki and get to work on the tasks for the day. This first hour is quite productive for all who arrive early on: the internet connection today was faster then than later on in the day. For when the last ones arrive, internet is already slow, they don´t have time to catch up and we have to start working on other topics, so the lesson is: getting in early is a lot more fun than coming in late! Today Deisy showed up, but Caro couldn´t make it.

Andrea wrote during the week about a community service project she undertook: she bought candy for a man who makes a living selling them, however, after having to pay the purchase of his candy stand he barely has enough to buy some rice and panela (sugar cane sugar) :

ayudar a cumplir un sueño, no es tan difícil como parece, es super fácil regalar una bolsa de confites, bombones o galletas o no??? y quien va a creer que el sueño de alguien es poder tener sus dulces para vender debajo del un puente peatonal.

To help a dream come true is not as difficult as it may seem. It is quite easy to give away a bag of candy, sweets or cookies, isn´t it??? And who would think that someone´s dream is to be able to sell these candies under a pedestrian bridge.

Ángelo didn´t just write, but he also uploaded his band´s song New Idols to his blog:. You can listen to it here. In this post he explains what it means:

Nuevos Idolos refiere al pensamiento de Ernesto Guevara de la Serna cuya ideologia en contra de la injusticia gubernamental no ha podido cristalizarse, pues; no ha nacido otro igual o mejor que èl, que confronte al capitalismo.

… Nuevos Idolos hace enfasis en las falsas cifras que manifiesta el DANE en cuanto al desempleo, entidad maquilladora de una mentira por siempre urgente.

Mientras que en los barrios hay hambre y sufrimiento, unos pocos hombres procuran por ocuparse del “rebusque”; un “empleo utòpico”, que se lleva a cabo, cuando queriendo; no se puede ser esclavo.

New Idols speaks about Ernesto Guevara de la Serna´s ideology against government injustice, an ideal which hasn´t crystallized yet since no one his equal or superior has been born to face capitalism. New Idols showcases the fake numbers the DANE produces regarding unemployment: a whitewashing entity covering up urgent lies. While in the neighborhoods there is hunger and suffering, a few men try and find informal jobs; that or the Utopian employment which is done only when one feels like it; they don´t want to be slaves.

Alejandra tells us about her group Zampues, and how they´ve been growing lately: the full text in Spanish can be found in her blog, Zanpues Art:

Les cuento, para nosotros la intensidad y calidad del grupo ha venido mejorando por los nuevos talentos juveniles que se nos suman inesperadamente; son chicos que van aprovechando sus habilidades inconcientementes que aprendieron en tiempos pasados, en la época del colegio o del ocio con los amigos del barrio.
Es una diversidad gigante de conocimientos, unos saben hacer malabares hasta con 6 (seis) elementos que pueden ser pelotas, frutas…
otros tienen la magia en sus manos porque manejan unos trucos increíbles y muy entretenidos, son chicos geniales y que con el passar la información de la existencia del club zanpues, seguramente harán que prontamente seamos la creatividad multiservicios para la comunidad;

Let me tell you, for us the intensity and quality of the group has been improving thanks to the new talented youth who are unexpectedly joining us; they are kids who take advantage of the skills they unconsciously learned in past times, when they were in school or when hanging out with friends in their neighborhood.
There is a great diversity of knowledge, some can juggle up to six elements, be them balls, fruits… others have magic in their hands because they can handle incredible and entertaining tricks, they are great kids and as the information goes out that Zampues club exists, surely they will soon make us into the multiservice creative entity for our community we want to be.

imago tells us about the work he´s been doing with his students with photography:

Parte de los ejercicios que desarrollo en mi programa de artistica con los alumnos de 11ª grado es este de fotografìa estenopeica o de càmara Pinhole.
Visiten este enlace es de las imàgenes del seguimiento del ùltimo ejercicio el año pasado.
hay algunas càmaras, fotos durante el desarrollo del ejercicio, etc.

Part of the exercises I´ve been working on with my 11th grade art students is pinhole camera photography. In this link you´ll find images of the work done last year. There are some cameras, pictures of the exercise, etc.

Juan Manuel shares:



Lately I´ve had a good time personalizing my blog and publishing all about the new activities since this blog has been quite useful to communicate with a lot of people, letting them know what is going to happen.
Positive things have also happened thanks to this blog, it will be shown in Telemedellin on wednesday at 7pm and thursday at 3pm as an example of what we´ve learned in this workshop.

At 11am we decided to head out for a snack and bought some goodies at our favorite store in Santo Domingo (the one in the picture) and as we ate we talked about what we hope this workshop will become in the near future. What the participants mentioned went hand in hand with our own ideas: we want to stop working so much in front of the computers when we are in the library (it takes forever to do anything) and it would be better to concentrate on the individual multimedia projects. The Zampues girls Ale and Yennifer, came up with the idea of taping sometime in the middle of the week a puppet show and learn how to record, edit and upload videos. Ángelo and Deisy were excited about the idea of reporting about the AltaVoz concerts (free concerts featuring local and international bands) in 15 days. Jorge will try his best to see if they can be given press passes.

We discussed the Medeatón, the trip to Pop!Tech, the idea of having strong products to show and tell others of what we´ve been working on. I also told them about our invitation to write for LatinaLista.net and tell about the life of women in Medellin.

In conclusion: the greatest part of it all is that we´re having fun while doing these workshops.

Catching Up: RSS feeds and individual work

Since last time some bloggers didn´t have time to update their blogs, or they didn´t come and couldn´t upload pictures or open their flickr account, this time we gave each one some time to update their content and for participants to catch up with their peers, get them used to the different tools. We noticed that some of them seemed a bit overwhelmed with the different accounts they had opened, so we gave them space to test them out and see how they can be used. Andrea joined us today and Natalia sent us a note excusing herself. The odd thing was that today there was a special event at the library, with lots of foreigners.

Today participants did get to open their google reader accounts and we showed them the different websites we have on the sidebars in the wiki and on the hiperbarrio.org website: global voices, medallo bloguero, the wiki and each one added them to their feeds and some added them to their blog roll.

We faced the same problems today with internet connection than last time. Many had to sit with a friend to be able to see the “RSS in Plain English” video. Once again, we can´t notice a pattern. We expected things to be faster in the morning when less people are online, but today it was slow from the start and as the morning goes on it becomes impossible to visit any website.

Today we also noticed that Facebook is blocked at this library and throughout the network, since it is considered a “social networking site”… so much for being a library “network”.

Participants sent in their written contracts through email and some included it in their blogs. They also wrote and posted about their “experience with Hiperbarrio”.

Imago says:

ya he avanzado mucho con este blog en estas ùltimas semanas. por ejemplo, tengo un àlbum que creè desde un mòdulo de flickr que se vè en la parte superior de mi blog -se ven en movimiento porque estàn en flash.
abrì un lista de feeds, con algunos blogs que quisiera visitar y quiero tener como contactos.tambièn he escrito comentarios en algunos blogs, he subido màs fotos y he aprendido a modificar comentarios en mi blog y los que he hecho en otros blogs.

I have gone far with this blog in these past weeks. for example, I have an album I created using flickr, you can see the badge on the upper part of my blog, it moves because it uses flash.
I opened a list of feeds, with some blogs I want to visit and keep as contacts. I´ve also written comments in some blogs, I´ve uploaded more pictures and I´ve learned to modify comments in my blog and edit those I´ve written in other blogs.

Caro wrote:

Hiperbarrio es una comunidad, nos reunimos cada 15 dias y es increíble todo lo que hemos aprendido en el corto tiempo que hemos estado juntos… Desde los principios de cómo crear un blog, hasta cosas mas personales como el respeto, tolerancia y apreciacion por los proyectos de los demás; Aqui todos nos sentimos interesados por el trabajo de los demás, o por lo menos yo me siento así.

Hiperbarrio is a community, we meet every 15 days and it is amazing we have learned so much in the short time we´ve had together… from the basics creating a blog, to more personal things like repsect, tolerance and appreciation for other´s projects; here we all feel interested in other people´s work, or at least I feel that way.

Alejandra said:


I feel very proud of myself, I had never performed this freely, (of course with a lot of help in basic things, but they´ve had their effect on me); I´m sure that future content will be complete and very good for those who visit our products, and in particular, our trainers will feel happy to have invested their time in such an innovative and engrossing, addictive and surely quite useful cause for our city.

Ángelo also praised the project:

No solo he de agradecer a la ciencia y a la tecnologia con toda su parafernalia, tambien dirigerè mi gratitud a aquella entidad cuyo altruismo proyecta formaciòn humana y didàctica, al limite de poder alcanzar la sastifacciòn moral e intelectual…

Not only should I thank science and technology with all its accoutrements, I´ll also send my regards to this organization whose altruism provides human skills and educates us, to the extent where I can strive to reach moral and intellectual satisfaction…

Yenni tells us a story about her artistic troupe and ends her account with:

Un dìa cualquiera nos llegò una invitaciòn para formar parte de un proyecto en la biblioteca españa para las personas que les gusta todo el rollo del internet y quisieran saber un poco màs de èl, nos parecio muy buena la idea, en este momento llevamos cuatro encuentros donde hemos creado el blog, le hemos cambiado la apariencia , los colores, hemos creado correos electrònicos por todas partes, flikr para subir photos y muchas cosas màs.

One day we received an invitation to be a part of a project in the España Library for any of us who liked the whole idea of internet and would like to know a bit more about it. We thought it was a good idea and so far we´ve met four times and we´ve created our blog, changed its appearance, the colors, we´ve created numerous email accounts, flikr to upload pictures and many other things.

In el Parche, Juan Manuel shares with us an encounter they had with the police for riding their BMXs, with flickr pictures to illustrate their adventure.


Dudes! The coppers caught us this Sunday, this is how it went: We were arriving at the Alto de las Palmas to race it out to the bottom, when what had to happen happened!, a squad car arrived, they asked many questions and after half an hour argueing with them they reached their conclusion. “Get in now, we´re going to the station”. So they called a platform truck and they loaded all our 20 bikes… 10 lucky ones escaped, half of us climbed on the truck and the other half on the squad car, they took us to a small station right before Rionegro, they dumped us there for about 3 hours, roasting in the sun until they started to call each one of our parents or guardians.

We ended the day talking a bit about each particular project our participants would like to begin: Caro and Ángelo are thinking about interviewing musicians and reporitng on the work of several of the city´s rock bands, integrating podcasts and music files. Yenni and Ale would like to showcase the Zampues troupe work, assisted by videos, pictures and articles.

By the way, Ángelo already replicated his knowledge and showed his dad how to opne his own blog: Poesía y Reflexiones Meditabundas.

We´ve been noticing that the number of participants per workshop is stabilizing on 6: sometimes some of them come, other times it´s other participants who show up, but so far they´ve been good at staying updated. Some have stopped coming altogether: we decided not to call them and insist for them to come since with the 6-8 participants we have we´ve been managing to give them far more personalized attention and we are taking the complete back row of computers in the library, which makes it easier for us to oversee their work and help them out. Since they are about 8 which take turns showing up, 5 of them make the core group, so we believe we are a good example of the blogging dynamic worldwide: from thousands of blogs opened each day, very few go beyond the Hello World post.

So we continue working and learning side by side with them about how to handle these workshops, the type of activities we would like to do and it is a learning process where we experiment and test hypotheses, we get to see how we´re reaching out to them, what our weaknesses are, and we´re taking all of that into account to plan future workshops. It is sad that some participants didn´t return and discarded this oportunity to learn and be a part of something greater, but as a pilot project, we see all of this as an experiment
which is giving us important insights on how to handle the teaching of new media technologies to people who up to the moment they arrived to the workshops, didn´t know what they were.

So what was the event at the library I mentioned previously? Medellin's mayor was visiting with some of the CAFTA representatives from the USA. Management at the library had the nerve to come up to us and scold us, telling us we should mind our own business and try to ignore what was going on, overlooking the fact that just by standing up, we had a perfect view of the speakers and we could hear them perfectly through the gallery in front of us. A bit ironic that they told a group of bloggers not to notice what is going on in their faces. So, taking no notice of their warnings, I liveblogged the talk, translating it from English into Spanish in my blog.
Alcalde Fajardo en la biblioteca españa.