Hiperbarrio: Community comes together for a local personality

At la Loma, the hiperbarrio team has taken it to help out their community member, Manuel Salvador Pizarro Sierra  better known as Suso.

 First, for a bit of background, we have the feature story written on the Rising Voices blog by David Sasaki:

In San Javier La Loma, a hillside working class community on the outskirts of Medellín, one of the most well-known local celebrities, “Filthy Suso”, had, until recently, also been one of the most enigmatic. Thanks to the work of HiperBarrio, a citizen journalism outreach project of Rising Voices, the story of “Filthy Suso” is now known both locally and internationally. Led by Yuliana Isabel Paniagua Cano, Catalina Restrepo Martínez, and Gabriel Jaime Venegas, the collective of new citizen journalists created both a video and article about “Filthy Suso’, La Loma’s local collector of recyclables. Below are both the video and text, translated from the original Spanish versions. It is worth noting that HiperBarrio’s article on Suso was also published on the front page of the weekly local newspaper, Conexion.

You can read the fully translated article on the Rising Voices blog. The following video was made by the Hiperbarrio participants to document Suso´s history and was subtitled through dot.sub:

Gabriel Jaime writes about a fund raiser which took place last week in their community, trying to gather enough cash to build Suso a deserving home:

Se ha logrado cambiar la imagen empobrecida y miope que se tenia de Manuel Salvador Pizarro por una de reconocimiento, respeto, dignidad y gratitud que merece; al tiempo que se encuentran nuevas significaciones del papel de su familia y el suyo propio en la historia local.

Esta vereda unida por una causa, nos ayuda entender el valor que ha tenido el trabajo comunitario en la construcción del destino de nuestros pueblos.

El día que Suso nos falte, no se ira al olvido, quedara grabado en el imaginario de miles de personas que lo conocen, no solo en su comunidad sino en el mundo entero gracias al Internet, la prensa escrita y al voz a voz que ya convirtió esta historia en el mito de “El Suso”.

Lo más importante de este proceso es que comienza a regenerar el tejido social roto por la violencia que tantos estragos provoca, aun hoy, en la existencia de las personas que habitan esta vereda y que solo sueñan con vivir en paz al lado de su familia y las personas que aman.

We have managed to change the poor and miopic image that people had of Manuel Salvador Pizarro for one of recognition, respect, dignity and well deserved gratitude; at the same time that new meanings are being found of the role his family and himself have played on the local history.

This bourrough which came together for a cause, helped us understand the value that community work has had on the construction of our people's destiny.

The day Suso is no longer with us, he won't be forgotten. He'll be branded on the minds of thousands of people who know of him, not only in his community but throughout the world thanks to Internet, written press and word of mouth which made this story the “Suso” myth.

The most important aspect of this process is that the broken social makeup of our people, damanged by violence which causes so much pain, is being mended. People who'se only desire is to live in peace with their families and the people they love.

Carmen Elena Paniagua, better known for her online nickname of Camela, wrote a beautiful poem in her blog Baúl de Letras in honor of Suso, recording the day his old home was demolished to make room for the new one;


Por última vez el viento silbará entre lal tapias;

los muros centenarios y leales morirán con sus secretos.

La historia, reducida a meras partículas de polvo, solo quedará grabada en la memoria cansada de un viejo.

Con cada golpe de la almádena, su corazón se estremecerá y evocará un recuerdo; una añoranza de pantalones cortos, de pies descalzos, de bigotes de leche y cocechas de café.

Su mirada parcial, se detendrá dulcemente en un éxode de cucarachas; y de las ruinas rescatará las antiguas llaves de la casa y las guardará en su bolsillo, tal vez para abrir la puerta del pasado en una noche de reminiscencias.

Ya no las paredes desatarán su coloquio en las noches, fidedignos relatos que en el espesor del barro se escondían de la luz del día;

ya no los bacanales de extrovertidos fantasmas;

ya no los abrazos íntimos con la soledad;

ya no las anotaciones que a falta de papel, se esculpían en los muros terrosos.

Ahora solo hay escombros; una vida regada por los suelos; los pedazos de una existencia, que se rompe al final de una honda caída.


For the last time, the wind will blow between the walls,

those centenary and loyal walls will die with their secrets.

History, reduced to mere dust particles, will only remain recorded in the tired memory of an old man.

With each strike of the sledgehammer, his heart will shiver and a memory will come up; yearnings for short pants, bare feet, milk moustaches and coffee picking.

His partial sight will sweetly stop on the cockroach exodus; from the ruins he'll rescue the old keys to his house and will put them in his pocket, perhaps to open a door into the past on a night full of memories.

No more shall the walls untie their evening conversations, faithful stories that hide within the thick mud walls during the daytime;

No more shall the extrovert ghostly parties take place;

No more the intimate hugs with solitude;

no more the note taking that due to a lack of paper were sculpted on the dirt walls.

Now there is only rubble; a life scattered on the ground; pieces of someone's existence bronken at the end of a long fall.

A video taken by David Sasaki when he met Suso can be found on his blog as well.

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


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…

First encounters with video

Written by Galo:

Pageant participants wearing dresses made with recycled materials

Saturday we spent the day learning how to edit video using Windows Movie Maker, a program we chose due to its ease of use and because it is preinstalled with the OS, which avoided plenty of headaches. We used images and videos of the Cultural week in the Fe y Alegría Santo Domingo School in Popular 1, where Yennifer studies and is president of the student body. The images and videos were captured on August 25th and 26th by Medea and Yenni. The videos are up on youtube and can be found here and the images are in Medea´s flickr [We surpassed our limit on the free flickr account].

After learning how to use the program and learning some basic techniques to optimize video quality, everyone practiced video editing. Ángelo, who filmed the Jaguares concert in the Altavoz Festival 2007, which took place on October 13-15, edited it and was left with the task to upload it on his blog. The rest practiced using images from hiperbarrio´s flickr. Today we managed to get a bit more done since we didn´t depend exclusively on internet connection speed.

The picture above is of the pageant participants dressed up with their ballgowns made from recycled materials.

The video is of one of the pageant participants doing her artistic number, she is dancing a tropical mix including Porro, a regional dance popular in Medellin.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/Oig0SzdtUBw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Day 2: Getting down with it

It is already August 25th, our second workshop and we started off strong. In this meeting each participant created their own blog with a few simple instructions.

Every participant had to open a gmail-blogger account. During this process they learned to copy and paste hiperlinks and upload pictures on each blog.

We hoped to have a video as a record of the activity, but we had some technical issues with audio quality, so we weren´t able to have this material and publish it. Nevertheless, we do have pictures that you may want to see on our flickr account, the link is farther down this post. For the next workshop we hope to have an audio recorder which will make it easiera to record sessions. So we hope to have a nice video to share with you next time around!

On Saturday September 1st we will meet once again. The time will be used for participants to continue configuring their blogs and walk around and record Santo Domingo with pictures, thus having more visual material to share.

The list of the blogs participants created is here:

We hope to get plenty of visitors, we will be on the lookout for what each participant publishes and we hope to get them started on the dynamics of commenting and answering comments.

You can see some pictures taken on the group´s flickr gallery.

neblina Santo Domingo salón biblioteca Auditorio Biblioteca España Señor Ca?do

Metrocable y niebla biblioteca entre las nubes metrocable en la bruma metrocable en la bruma