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Uruguayans Will Elect Their President in a Runoff

According to a preliminary exit poll after the election in Uruguay, leftist Broad Front candidate Tabaré Vásquez received between 44 and 46 percent of the votes, while Luis Lacalle Pou from the National Party has between 31 and 34 percent. Uruguay's local media shared very similar data from three pollsters, Factum, Equipos and Cifra.

Twitter users offered updates on the country's elections, with some mentioning the results in Brazil‘s recent presidential election:

Favorable results for Broad Front. There will be runoff and Dilma wins (in Brazil).

Preliminary results show Tabaré and Lacalle in runoff election.

The runoff election will take place on Sunday, November 30, 2014.

Hometown Through the Eyes of Its Children

Imagen en Flickr del usuario  iñaki de luis (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Image on Flickr by user iñaki de luis (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Chapacoco, a Peruvian village located at an altitude of 3,000 meters, part of the district of Chilcaymarca in the Arequipean province of Castilla, has been in the news thanks to its children.

On October 10, 2014, the book “Chapacoco as seen from the children” was launched. The book has been written by fifth and sixth graders from the Elementary School 40351. Under the guide of their teacher Ronny Durand, in charge of the project “Making science as a game”, the students investigated for over a year about customs and riches of the area:

El libro resulta de Proyecto de Innovación Pedagógica “Haciendo Ciencia Como Jugando”, que tiene como objetivo que los niños desarrollen competencias y capacidades utilizando el conocimiento de la realidad, promoviendo la identidad cultural, la conciencia ambiental y la participación comunitaria. Resultado de esta es que la obra contiene: los datos generales (ubicación, población, servicios y geografía); costumbres y tradiciones, como mitos, cuentos y leyendas; la gastronomía, artesanía, paisajes turísticos y restos arqueológicos del lugar; y la riqueza natural de la flora y fauna.

The book results from the Educational Innovation Project “Making science as a game”, that has as an objective that children develop competences and abilities using knowledge from reality, promoting cultural identity, environmental awareness and community participation. As a result, the book has general information (location, population, services and geography); customs and traditions, such as myths, tales and legends; gastronomy, craftwork, tourist landscapes and archeological remains; and the natural riches of flora and fauna.

Peruvian Amazon Faces Cold Temperatures: Consequences of Climate Change

Imagen en flickr del usuario @Christianhold (CC BY 2.0).

Image on flickr by usuario @Christianhold (CC BY 2.0).

Peruvian journalist and writer Paco Bardales, comments with other colleagues the waves of cold weather, or friajes, that recently affected usually hot Iquitos. These weather phenomena have gone from sporadic, as the group remembers from their childhood, to more frequent and longer lasting, so much that the state agency Meteorology and Hydrology Service (Senahmi, according to its name in Spanish) has decided to issue cold weather alerts for the cities located in Peruvian Amazonic regions. On the conversation, the group reflects that these frsots are due to climate change. Is this so? No doubt about it. Man has influenced in this change, and even Andean and Amazon communities are not to blame, they suffer from floodings, diseases, and all other consequence affecting their health and environment.

El impacto de la contaminación y los daños al ambiente sin duda han ido afectando las temperaturas. El Perú es considerado como uno de los países más vulnerables ante los impactos del cambio climático. Según estimaciones del MEF, los posibles daños económicos causados por este aspecto podrían llegar hasta los diez mil millones de dólares de aquí al año 2025.

The impact on contamination and damages to environment have undoubtedly been affecting temperatures. Peru is considered one of the most vulnerables countries to the impact of climate change. According to tne Ministry of Economy estimates, potential economic damages caused due to these changes could reach ten thousand million US dollars from now to year 2025.

National and international entites aim to create awareness and inform. One of the main actions are workshops about Conference of the Parties about about Climate Change (COP-20). And as Paco says:

La preocupación resulta importante, pues, al fin y al cabo, la Amazonía será fundamental en la mitigación del cambio climático. Ojalá no sea tarde para nosotros mismos.

Concern becomes important, as, after all, the Amazon region will be fundamental on mitigating climate change. Hopefully, it's not too late for ourselves.

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.

Massive Participation in Earthquake Drill in Mexico

On September 19, 1985, the center, South and West regions of Mexico, in particular the Federal District, were struck by a powerful earthquake, considered the most lethal in Mexican written history. Conmemorating the event 29 year later, the Secretary for Civil Protection of Federal District organized an earthquake drill, for the population to know how to act in these events. The people participated massively, in the capital and in other cities of the country.

We carried out successfully the evacuation due to earthquake, remembering what happened in 1985 in Mexico City.

An estimated of 17,000 buildings were evacuated during the drill.

Rolando Zapata's Yucatán government has carried out historic drill in the Palace.

Tlalnepantla joins the megaearthquake driill organized in the State of Mexico.

The drill is not only to honor the victims of the earthquake, it's also about society vs bureaucracy.

Mexico in the Labyrinth of Its Solitude

15,000 people marched in downtown Mexico City against the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa. Photo taken on 8 October 2014 by Enrique Perez Huerta. Copyright: Demotix

Protest in Mexico City for the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa. Image by Enrique Perez Huerta. October 8, 2014. Copyright Demotix.

Since the beginning of his term in late 2012, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has been committed to creating and broadcasting an image of a country moving forward. The government has enacted structural reforms with support from the opposition.

The government's strategy to deal with the country's security crisis, however, and the international community's human rights stance have been called into question following the disappearance of 43 students from the state of Guerrero.

Miguel Guevara, Global Voices contributor, has written a piece for the blog of Harvard Kennedy School Review titled Mexico’s Loneliness: Our drug wars are not over:

Today, high-ranking US officials have not voiced concerns over the deteriorating events in Mexico since September 26th. The US response to human rights violations around the globe – including the recent events in Iguala – should be unambiguous and consistent. Silence is tantamount to complicity.

Paraguayans Share a Delicious Jopará to Shoo Poverty Away

Every year on October 1, Paraguayans prepare a traditional dish named jopará or yopará, stew type broth made out of different kinds of maize with beans and plenty bovine and pork meat, vegetables, sausages, amongo other ingredients.

It's costumary that October is a feared month, the harvesting is over, the sowing has ended and everybiody has to wait until the next harvest. If the individuals haven't been provident enough and haven't saved food, they can have a hard time. That's what author Dionisio González Torres writes in his book, “Folklore of Paraguay.”

According to the tradition, Karai Octubre (Mister October), a short, bearded old man, shows up on that day with his straw hat, a bag and a long rebenque (some kind of whip) to flog all those who haven't a prepared karu guasu (big meal), as González Torres explains.

The old man goes over all the houses and takes a look at every pot with the lunch of the day. If there is little food, he takes out pains and disgraces from his bag for all those who live in that house. If there is plenty of food, the old man just walks by and the family will be safe for the year:

Daily special menu: Yopará so Karai octubre walks by!

All over my homeland you can already feel the scent of delicious Yopará to shoo ‘Caraí Octubre’ away.

So [Mexican communications mogul] Carlos Slim and [American owner of Microsoft] Bill Gates will be poor men for not eating Yopara? Or how does the myth go?

Colombia: No to Sex Tourism in Medellín

NoTurismoSexual

“No to sex tourist”. Screenshot from video posted on YouTube.

By mid July 2014, the Facebook page No to sex tourist was created, with the purpose of create awareness about sex tourism in Colombia. Wikipedia lo define como:

… una forma de turismo con el propósito de mantener relaciones sexuales, normalmente de varones con prostitutas hembras, pero también, aunque menos, hay mujeres turistas sexuales y turismo sexual homosexual masculino.

Sex tourism is travel to engage in sexual activity, particularly with prostitutes. The World Tourism Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, defines sex tourism as “trips organized from within the tourism sector, or from outside this sector but using its structures and networks, with the primary purpose of effecting a commercial sexual relationship by the tourist with residents at the destination”.

Recently, the fan page posted this video, as part of a campaign by Pazamanos Foundation with the intention to reject sex tourists who mainly visit the city of Medellín.

Describing Pain in Hospitals Without Indigenous Language Services

Mexico

Image on flickr by user Buen Rumbo ((CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Without medical professionals fluent in indigenous languages or without proper interpretation services in Mexican hospitals, there is a risk that patients will not be able to adequately describe what ails them, writes Yásnaya Aguilar in her regular blog column for EstePaís. She provides examples how the Mixe language allows her to more accurately describe her pain to a nurse or doctor that can speak the same language, and how a translation into Spanish can still be somewhat limiting. She writes,

En mixe por ejemplo tengo un conjunto de palabras distinto para nombrar el dolor físico: pëjkp, jäjp, pä’mp, we’tsp… Apenas hallo equivalentes para alguna en español. Las diferencias todavía son más grandes y hay momentos en los que sólo puedo describir un dolor en español o sólo alcanzo a nombrarlo en mixe. Hablar ambas lenguas me permite tener a mi servicio un inventario más nutrido de palabras para describir mi dolor, aunque en general, cuando algo me duele mucho, el mixe toma el control de mis pensamientos.

For example, in mixe I have a group of distinct words available to me to describe physical pain: pëjkp, jäjp, pä’mp, we’tsp. I'm barely able to find the equivalent words for these words in Spanish. The differences are very large and there are times when I can only describe the pain in Spanish and there are other times when I can only describe the pain in Mixe. Being able to speak both languages allows me to have at my disposal a richer inventory of words to describe my pain, although generally, when something is causing me a lot of pain, the Mixe language takes control of my thoughts.

The universal right to health care cannot be guaranteed when the majority of hospitals have no medical practitioners that speak indigenous languages and because interpretation can only go so far since they do not have the same knowledge of the human body. And she adds that this could potentially cause misdiagnoses and without these language services, “there is no way to build bridges of empathy and to effectively understand that your ‘it hurts’ could also be the same as mine.”

About Homeland, Lanterns, Parades and Independence in Costa Rica

Desfile realizado en Aguas Zarcas, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Imagen en Flickr del usuario  Allan Javier Aguilar Castillo (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Parade organized in Aguas Zarcas, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Image on Flickr by user Allan Javier Aguilar Castillo (CC BY-SA 2.0).

On her blog Anchas Alamedas, Solentiname remembers how she used to spend Costa Rica independence day, September 15, when she was a schoogirl, and the parades with lanterns and flags:

Teníamos estandarte y era un honor reservado para los mejores estudiantes de todo el colegio y solo tres: el que lo llevaba y dos a cada lado, que además quisieran quedarse practicando después de clases en la cancha de basketball el izquier dos tres cuatro.

Teníamos bastoneras. Las más lindas de cada nivel eran las bastoneras. Podían mover el bastón igual que las muchachas que veíamos en la tele y usaban uniformes de enaguas cortas y voladas, hombreras militares y sombreros de circo. Y las botas. Unas botas lindísimas con tiritas y botones dorados.
[...]
El año en que el Ministerio decidió imponer por la fuerza el uniforme único, nos advirtió que al desfile iban todos de celeste y azul o no íbamos. Fuimos, pero con el uniforme de gala que ese año se diseño aun exuberante. [...] Como resultado, nos castigaron por cinco años en los que no pudimos participar en nada, solo como pelotón común y corriente y, por supuesto, vestidos de azul y de celeste.

We had standard and it was an honor reserved for the best students of the whole school, just three: the one who carried it and two by each sides, that would want to stay practicing after school in the basketball field the “left, two three four”.

We had baton twirlers. The prettiest girls of each class were the baton twirlers. They could handle the baton just as the girls we saw on TV and wore uniforms of short skirts, military shoulder pads and circus hats. And the boots. The prettiest boots with golden strips and buttons.
[...]
The year the Ministry decided to impose by force the same uniform for everybody, we were warned that for the parade we must wear the light blue and the blue, or we shouldn't go at all. We went, but in our full uniform, that that year had still a lush design. [...] As a result, we were punished for five years during which we weren't able to participate in anything, just as a regular platoon and, of course, wearing the light blue and the blue.

She ends up with a nostalgic reflection about the idea of homeland:

15 de setiembre no me despierta la noción de patria, ya ni siquiera para reclamar una independencia verdadera. Apenas me vuelve aquella sensación de tostamiento e insolación, la participación forzada y un terrible cansancio y, cada año, dedico un ratito del día feriado a imaginar en detalle el farolito ingenioso que hubiera hecho y lo lindo que se hubiera visto encendido una noche de lluvia, la víspera de la independencia de Centroamérica.

September 15 doesn't make me feel the idea of homeland, not even to claim a true independence. I just feel again that sensation of tan and sunstroke, the forced participation and a terrible fatigue and, every year, I dedicate a little moment of the holiday to imagine in detail the ingenious lantern I'd have made and how beautifully lit it would be during a rainy night, on the eve of the independence of Central America.

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