Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

Una plaza en Río Senguer

Girl on the City Hall sidewalk [Photo: Fabricio Casarosa]

En Febrero empezaba a formar parte de esta campaña y por esos días un amigo me llamó desde la Patagonia, desde Chubut, la tierra en la que nací.

“Vine a la plaza donde tengo señal y además wi-fi para ver mis mails”, escuché que me decía. Él estaba en su pueblo natal: Alto Río Senguer, una pequeña localidad ubicada en el sudoeste de la provincia del Chubut. Ahí viven 1.693 personas y 792 de ellas son mujeres.

Pasaron varios días y la campaña digital WWW siguió su curso. Me involucré como Listener y comencé a recorrer las historias que contaban desde otras tierras en otros idiomas. En todas se podía reconocer el “hambre” –como lo llamo- por buscar dar un paso más: más conocimiento, mejores oportunidades, más herramientas… estar en contacto compartiendo la lucha.

Una noche le escribí a mi amigo pidiéndole fotos de quiénes se conectaban en la plaza de su pueblo. Quería contarles su historia porque habla de esas ganas, de ese “hambre”.

Cuando recibí las fotos pude ver que eran chicos jóvenes, también familias.
Mi amigo me contó que ya era tradición en la comunidad rumbear para la plaza a la tardecita: el único lugar del pueblo con wifi, ubicado frente a la Municipalidad.
La próxima etapa será llegar con fibra óptica a todo el pueblo, dentro del programa “Argentina Conectada” que ha ido corriendo fronteras tecnológicas en varios lugares del país.
En las fotos también pude ver cómo se conectan. Algunos con sus celulares, otros con las netbooks del programa gubernamental Conectar Igualdad, que ya lleva más de 3.800.000 equipos entregados de forma gratuita en todo el país.

Sin publicidad ni estridencias, de forma cotidiana y segura, desde esa plaza cada tarde esos chicos y chicas son parte de un mundo mucho más amplio del que los rodea.
Son libres de acceder al conocimiento que buscan, al entretenimiento que les gusta, a las comunidades virtuales que los contienen. Tejen su red y la retroalimentan con su realidad, una que sería mucho menos conocida sin ese puente. Sus límites se expanden y con ellos las posibilidades de sus futuros y el de su comunidad.

A más de 2.000 kilómetros de Río Senguer, hoy termino este post y juego con mi memoria de chica patagónica.
En 1990, a mis 17 años, habría tipeado varias veces esta historia en una máquina de escribir prestada y solo la hubiera leído mi círculo social más cercano.
Hace 20 años habría escrito esto desde mi vieja PC de escritorio con DOS, pero hubiera tenido que ir hasta los puestos públicos de conexión en mi universidad en Buenos Aires para poder publicarlo.
Si hubiera querido contar esto en el 2000, ya de regreso en Chubut, hubiera escrito desde una PC de escritorio más nueva, pero luchado durante largos minutos para conectarme con mi conexión dial-up, lenta y poco estable.
Cinco años atrás, aún allí, ya podría haberla escrito en esta notebook y publicado casi sin problemas, con un wi-fi aliado de a ratos.

Aún hoy el desafío de la conectividad es una deuda en muchos lugares de la Patagonia y en los pueblos más chicos todavía es una utopía contar con una conexión confiable en la propia casa.
Será un deber de los próximos años superar con éxito ese desafío, marcando nuevos perfiles de futuro para ese lugar del mundo.

Avanzamos. Estamos en camino. En un camino de desarrollo e inclusión que no se detiene ante barreras geográficas cuando existen políticas públicas que piensan una agenda en la que superar la brecha digital es prioridad.

Miro la foto de esa chica sentada en la vereda de la municipalidad de Senguer y sé que ella encontró su camino. Tal vez aún no sea tan perfecto como lo desea, pero tiene la certeza de estar cada día más cerca de lo que busca.
Estar cerca es estar en camino. Significa que, sin importar cómo ni cuándo, llegaremos.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

A family connecting together [Photo: Fabricio Casarosa]
Group of guys at City Hall [Photo: Fabricio Casarosa]

Comments

In February I joined this campaign and around those days one of my friends called me from Patagonia, the place I was born.

“I came to the town square where I have signal, and also Wi-fi connection to check my emails”, I heard him telling me. He was at his home town: Alto Río Senguer, a little village located on the southwest of Chubut province. 1,693 people live there, 792 of them women.

Days went by and WWW Digital Campaign went on. I involved as a Listener and started to read the stories told from different places in other languages. I could see an invisible thread along them – a ‘hunger’, as I call it. Hunger for giving one more step: more knowledge, better opportunities, more tools... A hunger for being in touch and share the fight.

One night I wrote to my friend asking him for pictures of the people who got connected in that town square. I wanted to tell you their story because it is about that willing, about that ‘hunger’.

When I got the pictures I could see they were young boys and girls, also families. My friend told me it was a community tradition to stroll to the town square at dusk: the only place in town with Wi-fi connection, located in front of the City Hall.
Government says the next stage will be to get to the whole village through optic fiber, under the national policy ‘Argentina Connected’ that has pushed technological frontiers in several places in the country.
In those pictures I could also see the tools they use. Some make it with their cell phones; others use their netbooks of ‘Connect Equility’, another government program that has handed more than 3,800,000 of those for free.

Every afternoon from that square, without publicity or stridencies, day after day and on a safe way, those boys and girls are part of a much wider world than the one around them.
They’re free to access the knowledge they’re looking for, the entertainment they like, the virtual communities that cuddle them. They weave their web and feed it back with their reality, one that would be much less unknown without that bridge. Their limits expand and with them, the possibilities of their future and the tomorrow of their community.

More than 2,000 kilometers north from Río Senguer, I publish this post today and play a little game with my Patagonian girl’s memory.

In 1990 I was 17, and I would’ve typed several times this story on a borrowed typewriter to be read just by my closest social circle.
Twenty years ago, I would’ve written this in my old desktop under DOS, but I would’ve gone to a public spot in my university in Buenos Aires to be able to publish it via email.
If I would’ve wanted to tell this in 2000, back in Chubut, I would’ve written it in a newer desktop but battled for long minutes against a dial-up connection, slow and unstable.
Five years ago, still in Patagonia, I could’ve written it on this same laptop and publish it almost without troubles, enjoying a friendly Wi-fi from time to time.

Even today connectivity challenge is a pendant debt in many places in Patagonia and in smaller or rural towns is a utopia to have a reliable connection at home.
It will be a must for the coming years to successfully overcome that challenge, setting up new profiles of future for that place in the world.

We move on. We’re on our way. On a way of development and inclusion that doesn’t stop for geographical barriers when there are public policies displayed on an agenda where overcoming the digital divide is a priority.

I look at the picture where a girl is sitting on the City Hall sidewalk in Senguer, and I know she found her way. Maybe it’s not as perfect as she wants it to be, but she has the certainty of being every day closer to what she’s looking for.

Being closer is being on the way. It means that, no matter how or when, we will get there.

@SanPatagonia
Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

kellyannaustin's picture

maravilloso

San Patagonia,

Me encanta esa historia sutil y triunfante sobre la vida tuya y la de la comunidad en Patagonia. Gracias por componer una obra bonita and fuerte para nuestra campanna. Ah, eres tan talentosa como escritora que empiezo a entender y hasta sentir una porcion de las dificultades y las superaciones a traves de tus palabras!

Muchisimas gracias,

Kelly

SanPatagonia's picture

Gracias!!!

Kelly: recibo tus palabras con gratitud, las siento cálidas y llenas de sensaciones. Gracias por compartir conmigo tu vivencia al leer este post... Es maravilloso saber que lo que quería contar supo encontrar el camino y llegar al otro lado de la pantalla y del mundo.

Abrazo desde el sur,
San

@SanPatagonia
Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

Leslie Stoupas's picture

A beautiful vision

San Patagonia,

You paint such a beautiful picture of what it means to be able to access the internet successfully, especially when it helps people discover or express even more of who they are. I particularly liked your wrap-up of how different communication over a distance and internet access has changed throughout your life. It's great to hear about the way the government is trying to help its citizens bridge the digital divide as well. Thanks for sharing this vision of your community!

Leslie Stoupas

SanPatagonia's picture

Visions make us strong

Leslie,
Thank you for your feedback on the post and sharing your impressions with me. I agree with you - by accessing the Internet successfully (and in a responsible way), people have the chance of discovering themselves or expressing their views revealing their true-self. It's empowering in a manner not seen in a very long time.
Governments must support this epic, as they did when literacy was the priority of the Education agenda. In Argentina, that was around the 1880s.

San

@SanPatagonia
Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

Kristina M's picture

Thank you for sharing

San,

Thank you for sharing the story and pictures of how one community accesses the internet. It was also nice to read your timeline showing the technological changes through the years that have made it easier to reach more people with your stories. I hope the government continues to try to improve connectivity so all can have access.

Kristina

SanPatagonia's picture

Thanks for your comment!

Kristina,
As I was reading your comment, I thought about the timeline and re-read it. If today I had to write a new chapter it would be one about how a terrible storm has left all Patagonia without cell phone connection and constant fails on Internet access services. Climate change is a huge setback for this new bridges we're building. Suddenly, that initiative about creating a global wireless network doesn't sound crazy at all.
I share your hope about the Government role on this matter. Continuity is not an easy task sometimes.

San

@SanPatagonia
Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

Kristina M's picture

Too bad

San,

I hope Patagonia will have cell phone service soon again. It seems from your post, they are really embracing the technology there and this set back might damper their enthusiasm.

Kristina

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

Myra Musico: My Disability Is Not an Obstacle

Myra Musico: My Disability Is Not an Obstacle

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

EMAGAZINE: Bridging Borders

EMAGAZINE: Bridging Borders

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative