Hiperbarrio: Community comes together for a local personality

February 14th, 2008 by Juliana Rincon

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;

 AL FINAL

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.

IN THE END

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.

January has been a busy month for Hiperbarrio

January 25th, 2008 by Juliana Rincon

After the wonderful presentation up at la Loma de San Javier, many of the blog posts that the participants wrote were included in Equinoxio magazine, and David Sasaki also wrote about it, giving his firsthand account of what it was like to share the day with the people from La Loma, both participants, family and other community members. You can read that article by following this link.

This community presentation also opened other doors: la Redecom, the alternative media network has approached us and they´re interested in working with us to jumpstart the network and give the members proper citizen media training and a better online presence.

Participantes del taller en la Biblioteca Pública Piloto

Learning how to use flickr during the BPP workshop.

This week, David Sasaki, Director of Outreach for Global Voices, and the person behind Rising Voices, has been giving a couple of workshops in the Pilot Public Library. The first one, yesterday, had to do with opening a flickr account and uploading pictures, as well as joining groups, and David created one specifically for the workshop, adding notes, placing pictures on a map and commenting on other pictures. Today´s workshop will be a continuation of yesterday´s, where participants will learn how to edit pictures with picnik.Next week, we have two important meetings: on one with we will also meet with Medellín Digital, a government effort to improve computer literacy and to check out if we can participate in their annual fair in February, the other one is with Medelink, who organizes a yearly digital culture festival during March, and in which we hope to participate.

Hiperbarrio is growing, and it´s great to see how far we´ve come.

Closing Ceremony for Hiperbarrio 2007

January 11th, 2008 by Juliana Rincon

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.

Our article is making rounds already

November 20th, 2007 by Juliana Rincon

The Guest article I wrote about Hiperbarrio´s last activity was quoted on the tightgrid blog.  It´s short, but sweet. :)

Read Medellín is the new Bogota   at Tightgrid.

Guest post on The Where Blog

November 14th, 2007 by Juliana Rincon

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Carabobo

November 12th, 2007 by Juliana Rincon

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…

On the web: Hiperbarrio: blogging and video from the neighborhood

November 5th, 2007 by Juliana Rincon

Thanks to  Itzpapalotl who wrote an amazing article summing up our activities, it is also posted on her English blog:

Great news at Hiperbarrio this week: the English weblog is back online after sorting out the problems generated by a WordPress update. Now Juliana is dutifully translating all Spanish posts into English. If you’re not very familiar with Hiperbarrio, this is your chance to go back and read some of the project achievements to date:

“According to what we had planned on our Spanish wiki, participants would create a googlereader account to read feeds, they would go out to the neighborhood and take pictures and open a flicker account with which we would work on uploading pictures from the cameras to the computers and then to the web.” First group session.

“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 hyperlinks and upload pictures on each blog.” Second workshop.

The new bloggers have already started posting content despite their limited Internet connection. Andrea, one of the participants who works in social projects and social development, wrote about her experiences with Solar Eco-terraces in the neighborhood:

“There are wonderful individuals with hope, with an idea that persists and shows how important is not what others do, but what I can do; that politicians are not the ones that change a country but its citizens; that the world today is not black or white, that is full of colours and that many things can be accomplished when there are dreams and people who are willing to make them a reality” Mi trabajo en Santo Domingo [Es]

Almar recently re-posted a very complete summary of the project objectives and development. He also pointed us to the first project podcasts, divided in Part 1 and Part 2. We’re looking forward to the next edition, but in the meantime, a little philosophy behind all this:

“We believe in blogs, in Creative commons, in finding simple solutions to common problems, in knowledge sharing, in social and personal growth by appropriating common spaces such as neighbourhoods and public libraries” Hiperrbario [Es]

In one of the latest English language posts, Juliana showcased The Radiocicleta project:

“There´s a special bicycle moving around Belén de los Andaquíes in Caquetá, Colombia. It seats two and carries with it a complete radio broadcasting system, able to send out Wi-max signals and be heard not only through the Andaquí Community Radio, but live through Internet as well.” La Radiocicleta.

Galo tells us how they’re starting to experiment with video at the Cultural week in the Fe y Alegría Santo Domingo School. They have posted a selection of clips showing the participant’s dancing moves. In one of the videos you can see the very colourful ballgowns made out of recycled materials.

The project team is only learning basic video editing but they’re already prolific photographers. They even exceeded their flickr account capacity! Go ahead and take a look at those pictures.

Rising Voices Seeks Micro-Grant Proposals for Blog Outreach

November 2nd, 2007 by Juliana Rincon

HiperBarrio is a grantee of the first round of Rising Voices Micro Grants, you can also be a part of this global effort to get more voices added to this worldwide conversation. Originally posted in Global Voices Online.

Application Deadline: November 30, 2007

Rising Voices, the outreach arm of Global Voices, is now accepting project proposals for the second round of microgrant funding of up to $5,000 for citizen media outreach projects. Ideal applicants will present innovative and detailed proposals to teach citizen media techniques to communities that are poorly positioned to discover and take advantage of tools like blogging, video-blogging, and podcasting on their own.

In July we funded five projects out of the 142 applications we received from over 60 different countries. The first five Rising Voices grantees are based in Bangladesh, Colombia, Bolivia, India, and Sierra Leone. You can view their applications by clicking on the relevant links underneath the sub-heading “Grantees” in the sidebar of the Rising Voices wiki.

Rising Voices aims to help bring new voices from new communities and speaking new languages to the conversational web, by providing resources and funding to local groups reaching out to underrepresented communities. Examples of potential projects include:

  • Convincing a group of taggers or graffiti artists to transfer their medium of expression from walls of buildings to blogs, podcasts, and online video.
  • Approaching a local NGO with the offer of training their participants to blog and upload video in order to document the NGO’s work and the community where the participants live.
  • Distribute $10 digital cameras to two different groups of the same community and create a Flickr group where they confront each other’s photographic perspectives of their city.
  • Distribute mp3 recorders to participants of a youth group and help them produce monthly audio documentaries featuring elders who describe how their community has changed over the decades.

This second round of funding differs from the first in one important aspect. You have the choice to submit your application via email as before or you can publicly post your proposal on our wiki and receive feedback on how it can be improved. Public applications can be posted on the wiki at any time and can be reworked as often as the applicant sees fit, but all applications must be finalized by the November 30 deadline.

Rising Voices outreach grants will range from $1,000 to $5,000. Please be as thoughtful, specific, and realistic as possible when drafting your budgets. Successful projects will be prominently featured on Global Voices.

To learn how to apply using the wiki you can view the screencast below or visit the instruction page on the wiki. If you would like to submit your proposal privately via email you may do so by downloading the application and emailing it to outreach@globalvoicesonline.org by November 30. No late applications will be accepted.

Download grant application in .DOC format
Download grant application in .RTF format

Rising Voices Screencast

Colombia: The Radiocicleta, the Children’s Audiovisual School and community development

November 1st, 2007 by Juliana Rincon

RadiocicletaThere´s a special bicycle moving around Belén de los Andaquíes in Caquetá, Colombia. It seats two and carries with it a complete radio broadcasting system, able to send out Wi-max signals and be heard not only through the Andaquí Community Radio, but live through Internet as well. This Radiocicleta[ES] (a portmanteau formed by the word radio and bicycle in Spanish) is part of a 10 year long community communication project meant to unite the diverse population of Belén de los Andaquíes which is composed largely by families running away from violence in their hometowns and neighboring regions, who stopped once they reached this safer haven they could call home.

Blanco Alirio González, the mastermind behind the Andaquí Communication Center and the Radiobike is aware that in communities where there are basic needs that still need to be fulfilled, technology has a tough battle to wage:

Es claro que en el proyecto de comunicación, el uso de las TICs deben aportar a la búsqueda de soluciones a esas necesidades básicas, nuestra pelea no es la sostenibilidad del centro de comunicación, o de la emisora, de la biblioteca o del telecentro, nuestra pelea es la sostenibilidad de nuestra cultura, el derecho a vivir en forma digna en un territorio lleno de riquezas que se disputan gentes de afuera y que son la madre de nuestros desarraigos, violencias y miserias.

It is clear that within this communication Project, the use of new information technologies has to bring solutions to these basic needs, our fight isn´t the sustainability of the communication center, or the station, or the library or the telecenter, our fight is for the sustainability of our culture, our right to live with pride in a territory full of wealth which is disputed by outsiders and that are the mother to our rootlessness, violence and misery.

Based on these ideals, the Community Radio of Andaquí was built to communicate the community with itself, to give them voices and an identity. One of the ways to get more people involved was to break down the walls between the studio and the town itself. Thus the Radiocicleta was born. This radiobike is a prime example of how they live up to their ideals: it is sustainable, it is cheap to maintain, it is environmentally sound, it is human instead of fuel powered, it allows for innovation and investigation, it can reach many different places and can be brought inside homes and it brings people together, working as members of a team: bike rider, speaker, audio operator in the cabin and the community at any event they are covering depend on each other for success.

This radiobike was only the beginning: once they were connected to Internet and had the tools to communicate with the rest of the world, they had to solve the issue of educating all Belemites in the use of these new technologies, while concentrating on the basics: they not only have the library and telecenter, but they also have a community vegetable garden and a media school for kids: at the Escuela Audiovisual Infantil, children can learn how to use technology and make a living from it.

La Escuela Audiovisual Infantil, está orientada a dar visibilidad a los niños de Belén de los Andaquíes, con quienes se busca “Contar lo que hacemos para descubrir hacia donde vamos”. Niñas y niños, desde los 8 años de edad, imaginan, escriben, dibujan, actúan, toman fotografías digitales, graban el audio, animan y editan en computador, historias de dos minutos de duración, en las que muestran las entrañas de sus vidas familiares y callejeras.

The Children’s Audiovisual School is oriented to give visibility to the children of Belén de los Andaquíes, through which they seek to “Tell what we do to discover where we´re going”. Boys and girls older than eight imagine, write, draw, act, take digital pictures, record audio, animate and edit using a computer their two minute long stories, where they show the innards of their family and street lives.

You can see the Children´s AudioVisual school´s pictures in flickr and videos on youtube. Currently, the children have started their own micro-business, and they are getting paid to train others and produce videos for clients such as UNESCO and CINEP.

[Other sources: La Nación , esfera pública and SiPaz ]

First encounters with video

November 1st, 2007 by Juliana Rincon

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.

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