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Telling Puerto Rican Stories on the Web

Esta Vida Boricua [This Boricua Life] is a digital storytelling project which explores the past and present of Puerto Rico through the collection of experiences of people from all walks of life and all ages. At its most basic level, it is “a place to share stories,” as explained in their “About” section. Elaborating on that thought, they write:

Thus, the stories herein are a journey. They offer splashes of color and texture, shades of shadow and light as well as fragments of shape and depth to the existing Puerto Rican mosaic. They unravel the stereotypes and biased images of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican culture presented in the media and beyond. They speak of a generation of young people struggling under the uncertainty of colonialism —and a backlash from the slow cultural genocide that has taken place since US occupation after the Spanish-American War and the advent of modernism.

The content, which can take the form of writing (in either Spanish or English), video or audio recordings, is entirely produced by volunteers, most of whom are students from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, on the western coast of the main island. Poets, musicians and writers are also welcome to contribute original content.

The Curious Case Of Marrying Out Of Caste in India

Protest March in UK demanding to eradicate the centuries-old caste system that exists on the Indian sub continent and amongst expatriate communities. Image by Paul Davey. Copyright Demotix (19/10/2013)

Protest March in UK demanding to eradicate the centuries-old caste system that exists on the Indian sub continent and amongst expatriate communities. Image by Paul Davey. Copyright Demotix (19/10/2013)

Karthik Shashidhar, a freelance management consultant and data scientist, shares interesting statistics from the National Family Health Survey. Shashidhar discusses the percentage of women in India who are married to someone of their own caste. The caste system in India is based on an order of (predominantly) endogamous groups rendering marriage out of caste deplored by the society. Most of the marriage out of caste is out of love and defying the socio-cultural norms.

The survey, which was carried out in all states in India, asked “ever-married” women whether they were married to someone from the same caste, or to someone from a higher caste, or to someone from a lower caste. The result shows that the national average for the percentage of women who are married to someone of their own caste is 89%.

Wanna Learn the Khmer Language? Check Out this Audio Dictionary

Kheng.Info is a useful portal to learn Khmer, the official language of Cambodia. Aside from word translation, the website also offers an audio recording of Khmer words which is helpful to understand the meaning of the Khmer script. Check out how the word ‘love’ translates to Khmer:
khmer

Traveling Duo Visits Macedonia for 3 Months

Traveling duo Jürgen Horn from Germany and Mike Powell from the United States wander around the world by picking a country and staying there for three months, or about 91 days. During their three-month stays, the two globe-trotters attempt to experience life in their new location more thoroughly than a regular tourist and relate their experiences in a blog, saying they plan on eventually authoring e-books on the subject.

Horn and Powell have visited lands on different continents, from Japan to Yucatan, from Idaho to Iceland and Istanbul, with Sri Lanka and many others in between. Currently, they are exploring and writing about Macedonia, providing multimedia notes on the small southeast European country's cities and towns, places related to culture, history and nature. The duo's journey can be followed on social networks and their blog

Blogger Puts a Naturally Formed Face of Buddha in Bhutan on the Map

Blogger Passang Tshering, a high school teacher from Wangdue, Bhutan, wrote in his blog on 31 August, 2014, about an image of Lord Buddha's face formed out of natural rock located on the elephant shaped hill on which the famous Wangdue Dzong is built. He posted photos of the site and wrote:

I don't understand how this place is not recognized as one of the holy Buddhist sites, though some people already knew about it.

Tshering writes in a follow-up post that his post about the face of Buddha has become popular and many are flocking to the site:

It was on Sunday I posted the story and by Monday I started receiving pictures from people who went there to see for themselves. By Wednesday the site was crowded with people, and that evening authorities decided to put fence around it. Today when I went there I could see long queue of people across the river, and many breaking through the fence already. On the other side of the river cars and people are causing traffic jam on the national highway. This is more than the attention one can ever ask for.

Art & Education in Suriname

Referring to English art critic Sir Herbert Read‘s book Education Through Art, Carmen Dragman, via Srananart's Blog, looks at the value of art in education, suggesting that the current Caribbean model is shortchanging students by not recognising the power of art as a creative outlet and learning tool:

Teachers and policy makers often actually know that art education is important for each individual, but don’t actually realize as yet how important the subject is. These lessons are mostly seen as ‘means of relaxation’ but not as means of support. Surely not before tests and examinations…

Dragman believes in learning through doing – movement, games, modeling, play – and gives several examples from her own teaching experience that are testaments to the success of this approach. She explains:

If expressive education is given correctly, the cognitive, socio-emotional, sensitive, motoric, affective and creative development of the child will be stimulated. It is therefore very important that this subject be not only presented as an isolated subject, but be also integrated in the other school subjects.

Non-Japanese Who Stayed in Sendai After 3.11 Earthquake Walk for Recovery

Despite being uncertain of what the future might bring, dozens of non-Japanese people decided to remain in their adopted home of Sendai, a coastal city located in the north of Japan hit by massive tsunami triggered by the earthquake of March 11, 2011.

Sharing the footsteps to recovery, those standing together with the locals will join the parade “Da-te-fes“, a walk  on September 28th with Sendai residents of ten different nationalities dressed in traditional kimono.

Participants will include geisha, a bride and bridegroom, and traditional dancers who succeed the moves from 17th century.

With support from Finnish Wellbeing Center Project in Sendai, the parade looks to boost the welcoming mood for upcoming UN  World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in next March, and let the residents know about the conference. 

Learn more about Sendai on Tourism Sendai's Facebook page.

Image of geisha walk. Photo provided by Yumi Nakano

Image of geisha walk. Photo provided by Yumi Nakano

Digital Library of Traditional Philippine Healing Practices

philippine_health_researchInitiated by several government agencies, the Philippine Traditional Knowledge Digital Library on Health (TKDL-Health) seeks to document and digitize indigenous health practices in the country.

The communities, characteristically living in the mountains or their fringes, have depended mostly on plants and other natural products from the forest to prevent or treat sickness. But environmental degradation and the onslaught of lowland mainstream cultures now threaten their healing traditions.

Celebrating Day of Lunfardo, Port of Buenos Aires Dialect

Carlos Gardel. Imagen en Twitter de la usuaria  Luciana Monte (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Carlos Gardel alley. Image on Twitter by user Luciana Monte (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

As has happened every September 5 since the year 2000, Buenos Aires celebrated the Day of Lunfardo, a dialect that originated and developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the lower classes of the city. From there, it spread to other cities nearby.

Originally, it was slang used by criminals and afterward by other people of the lower and lower-middle classes, but later, many of its words and phrases were introduced in the vernacular and disseminated in the Castilian of Argentina and Uruguay.

The tango “Mi noche triste” (My sad night), written by Pascual Contursi and popularized by Carlos Gardel, was the first song to use Lunfardo on its lyrics.

Twitter users remembered the date:

Today, September 5, we celebrate Day of Lunfardo.

My mom used to speak it with amazing fluency, probably because she learned it at very early age.

Today it's Day of Lunfardo, the language of the port of Buenos Aires.

The National Gallery of Jamaica Celebrates 40 Years of Home-Grown Art

The National Gallery of Jamaica is in the midst of celebrating its 40th anniversary and the gallery's blog has been sharing information about its history and accomplishments:

When the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) opened its doors on November 14, 1974 it was the English-speaking Caribbean’s first national gallery, and forty years later it is the region’s oldest and largest national art museum. [...] Since 1974, the NGJ has held over one hundred and thirty exhibitions and established an encyclopaedic collection of Jamaican art. Through the process of amassing and exhibiting the art of Jamaica it has done more than preserve and display Jamaica’s artistic heritage. What the NGJ has truly excelled at is telling a story (‘the’ story, the NGJ has at times claimed) of Jamaican art, crafting the raw material of artists, artworks and anecdotes into a coherent narrative that resonates with how Jamaicans see and understand themselves in the world.

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