Today I’m joining in with the Friday photo over at Delicious Baby to bring you a photo from my travels with a story behind it.
Last October I spent three weeks travelling in Ecuador and we spent a few days in the rainforest community of Sarayaku on the Rio Bobonaza which flows down to join with the Amazon. This is a village which so far has fought off the oil companies and loggers who want to move into their territory and can only be reached by half a day in a canoe from the nearest town, or by light aircraft.
You can imagine my surprise, therefore, when I found out that they had their own internet connection running in the middle of the rainforest. The project was developed by the school and village community, with the help of Amazon watch, an organisation which works to assist the indigenous people to defend their rights and preserve the rainforest. One of their strategies is to use cutting edge technology to even the odds of small communities having a voice against the powerful corporations. By using high frequency radio masts to gain a satellite connection and a bank of solar panels for power, the community not only had internet access but a wireless network around their community office.
So that’s why, when I passed by the offices one evening, I spotted these teenagers sitting on the step with a laptop, making the most of the wireless access to surf the web. It’s an example of how the internet can give remote communities a voice in the wider world and enable them to access education, support and ideas which will enable them to preserve their culture and their environment.
See all the other Friday photos over at Delicious Baby