Ciber Hermanas Solidaridas

The ciber cafe in Guajoyo, named “Ciber Hermanas Solidaridas” is officially up and running, kind of.

Darwin, vice-president of the youth committee, works at the now functioning (albeit without internet) ciber cafe in Guajoyo

Darwin, vice-president of the youth committee, works at the now functioning (albeit without internet) ciber cafe in Guajoyo

The Austin committee collected four donated laptops to send to Guajoyo last year, and what started as a simple concept turned into a full blown youth project to start a cyber cafe in the community.  We’ve spent the past several months figuring out logistics, picking paint colors, cleaning the location, and finally installing the four laptops in the new community space.  The idea was, with 4 computers they could either pick 4 lucky people to get to use them, or they could make them available to whoever in the community (and the other surrounding communities) wanted to use them.

With the computers each on their individual desk, the fans blowing, and the freshly painted windows letting in sunshine and a slight breeze, everything was ready to go — except for internet.  There are no internet lines to connect at the cyber cafe, and the modem we purchased that uses cell phone signal to connect to the internet was unable to get good enough signal to connect.

But still people came.

I was amazed the first week it was open to see dozens and dozens of people from the community come in each day to pay 50 cents an hour to use these laptops to look at pictures, listen to music, and print.  The second week, it continued to be full almost every day.  The third week, things started to dwindle, and we quickly realized we needed to reduce the schedule and not be open every day.

But despite the complications, the cyber cafe is still completely worth it in my eyes, and that’s because it has become a public space that young people can claim as their own.  The walls of the school, the meeting room, and other public spaces are covered in everything from “Jose wuz here” to gang symbols, but amazingly enough the walls of the cyber cafe, freshly painted purple, have no marks whatsoever on them.  This is a space that is respected, because the kids know it is for them.

June 22nd is Teachers’ Day, and some of the kids are secretly practicing dance routines and other numbers to present for their teachers.  The cyber cafe is a meeting place to put on music and practice their routines.  Although now with the reduced schedule we’re only open 3 days a week, each of those 3 days there are people meeting there, sitting on the porch laughing, listening to music and dancing inside.

I’m excited to see how this space is further utilized in the future, we’ve talked about everything from putting in a small concession stand to offering tables and board games.  And maybe, just maybe, one day our cyber cafe will have internet access too.


5 thoughts on “Ciber Hermanas Solidaridas

  1. This information was great Catharine. What would it take to get internet to the caf? Thinking of you always. Take care of Catharine! Love, nana

  2. If it would take monetary donations or specific equipment please let us know. I can put the work out to the programming community here to see if they would want to crowd source an internet tower 🙂

    • Thanks for the offer! I might just take you up on it… I’m not tech-savvy enough to even know what we could do to get internet reception — what does crowd sourcing mean? At the moment ideas/advice are the most valuable donations we need, then depending on what comes out of that we may or may not look for funds too.

  3. That’s exciting news about the “internet” cafe. I was wondering if it is ever discussed in Guajoyo about making the area where the older school building is into the central square of the community. That way Guajoyo could have it’s own market and keep money in Guajoyo instead of people going somewhere else to buy things. I understand that the government is unwilling to spend money on that school building anyway because they don’t own the land under it.

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