February 2006 Archives

Altitude and Food

I've not blogged because I got sick. Too much activity in the 3+ mile-high Andean regions of Ecuador and Colombia and too much delicious but unaccustomed foods in Peru. Am slowly getting back to normal.
I must say that returning to the US was, again, a bit of a shock as I was reminded that our US TV system is so darned commercial and vaccuous, contrasted with the down-to-earth world. But more about that when I've got the stomach for it.

Radio in Peru

Easing carefully into the passenger seat of the rickety pickup truck, I'm handed a seat belt, "place it across your chest." I do this, even though there is no way to fasten it. I quickly get it: it's for show, so we don't get stopped and get a ticket from the police. After an hour, we arrive at Las Lomas de Carabayllo, the poorest outlying community of Lima, Peru. Some stench. Along the hilly, dessert roads, there are piles and also huge holes of garbage.

They're picking at it, 6, 7, 8-year old boys and girls. Completely dirty, they wave at me as I look. Are children eternally positive? They will die soon, lead poisoning.

Atop the hill we stop and inside a 5'X 7" brick box are 6 teenagers waiting for me and my companion, Nelson Fiegueroa, Director of "Día del Pueblo," a 30-year old media producton group. They are all smiles, the directors and creators of a 25-watt radio station, 89.3 FM. For two hours every day , 7-9 PM, they transmit interviews, local news, in-depth analysis of health issues, and a closing "romance notes." Adrian Milla, 16, learned how to work the audio mixer and the computer and is at the controls-- he continually dances rhythmically with the music ins and outs that he blends into the show. Ivo Mori and Liz Leon interview me in the tiny announce booth. They really put themselves into this with verve and passion. They switch speaking back and forth, both charming and quirky. There is nothing here of the splash artificiality of radio talk. I can see why the community tunes in.

I tell them that I wish I could share their example more widely in the US, because they are setting examples for others who could really benefit by knowing what their radio is doing. They call their radio station, "Radio Lomas, Breaking Boundaries."

I have to stop writing now. These teens, living gracefully, forcefully....are too much revelation of God, and there is not enough damnation of our human political ane economic structures that have condemned them to such a hellish place.


Gracias a mis nuevos amigos y amigas por su fina hospitalidad y las buenísimas conversaciones sobre los temas que son de primera prioridad para creyentes.

Estoy por salir, así que aquí coloco los links a los ensayos y artículos que mencioné durante nuestras conversaciones.

1. Articulo sobre código abierto
2. Articulo sobre la propiedad intelectual desde la perspectiva Cristiana
3. Ensayo de Dr. Mary Hess sobre los fundamentos teológicos de un “sitio abierto y libre”.
4. Ensayo mío sobre las tendencias de los medios y la pastoral de la iglesia (Media Trends and Operating Assumptions).

Para capacitación en producción de TV y de multi medios, visitar el sitio de la Escuela Diakonía, de la conferencia episcopal de Bolivia. El Padre Hugo Ara es una persona con quien, si estudias, tendrás unas orientaciones y una preparación excelentísima. Ha sido director profesional y no podrás encontrar mejor persona con quien estudiar la producción. La dirección es:
Escuela Superior de Comunicación Audiovisual
Universidad Católica Boliviana
Telefax: (591-3) 342-2444
E-Mail: diakesc@entelnet.bo
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
otro e-mail: hugoaras@yahoo.es

Luego incluiré información sobre los contactos para elaborar planes de formación en seminarios, como son el Rector del Seminario Villa Paul en Bogotá, Colombia y también el Padre Juan Carlos Cerquera. El Padre Cerquera ha sido Rector de seminarios mayores, pero ahora se encuentra en Roma como uno de los dirigentes de su congregación, Vicentinos. Sus reflexiones y escritos sobre lo sagrado y el cine son estupendos , y buen material para la teología.

Serafin Ilvay, a journalist at the news agency, ALAI, the Latin American Information Agency, is also a member of WACC. He told me yesterday, "Today the only fidelity I find is in my audio system." I laughed and laughed. Of course he was being facetious but it points out the need to link ethics and media.

Then this morning I met additional friends who lifted my life. Edison Tipanluisa, 20 year old journalist, is about to publish a magazine for his Catholic community peers. He is from the St. Anthony of Padua parish. Along with 6 other teen collaborators, he has investigated the prices for printing, he has learned how to use Adobe photoshop and software for design. In order to make his dream come true, he needs money for printing and for a digital camera. He says ¨This monthly magazine will get us to talk more about the things we think about only inside ourselves.¨ Teens and 20-somethings will work on a volunteer basis to make this happen. Oh, they also need money for a computer....but that is not stopping him.

Eduardo Guerroro is the Director of Radio Latacunga, the community radio station founded in 1981 by the Catholic diocese of Latacunga. He is installing a computer-audio production cabin in the major seminary so that the theologians can make radio programs. BUT......here´s the remarkeable thing: The seminarians are producing radio programs within a community radio station that presupposes community development, processes that lead to community cohesion, confronting social issues, praying within home settings. As Eduardo puts it, "the seminarians can learn that media are not simply the extensions (wider reach)of the pulpit." Rather, they are interactive, relational processes that are essential to the spiritual life of a commmunity.

I´m at the airport on my way to Lima, and sad to be leaving such a wonderfully alive church. Hallelujah!

This charming 3-minute tale produced

This charming 3-minute tale produced by CORAPE, in Quito, lifted my spirits on this Valentine's day. All you romantics: take note and enjoy.

Quito for news

During one of my meetings here in Quito, Ecuador, I learned about this source of news that is followed by some opinion makers here.
It is Voltaire Net, or Red Voltaire in Spanish: http://www.voltairenet.org/es

News is not spun from the usual USA or Corporate European views.


Danish Cartoon

Mary has a really interesting blog post about the controversial cartoon. She quotes a Danish professor about the relationship between Danish government and the Lutheran faith.


dual language

Max sent me this link to the commercial that aired during the superbowl because it reminded him of the documentary that I mentioned here a week ago, Rafael Salaberry's piece about bilingual, two-way education here in Houston.
The angry voices that punished me for speaking Spanish when I was in elementary and in high school are still around, but the "English only" movement in Texas is hopefully waning. Only 10 years ago, a judge here in Texas, Amarillo, accused Martha Laureano of child abuse for speaking Spanish to her five-year-old daughger. Judge Samuel C. Kiser ordered the mother to speak only English to the girl.


Gender Bias in the News

"Who Makes The News" is a site that documents the structural media gender bias that is so often talked about. This information can be useful in raising awareness and shedding more light on gender bias. Full of resources and contacts, the site explains the global effort that involves grassroots communities in watching, reflecting and documenting. This is a real awareness raising project.

On February 15th research results will be released and I can imagine them being used in classrooms, churches, community organizations.

The US contact is Sheila George. Dr. Glory Dharmaraj has been a real strong proponent and activist in the project.


Video from Minneapolis

"We Are Sent: Eucharist And Our Living Amen" is a 17 minute video that features testimonials of a Catholic community in Minneapolis, tellling how important the Mass is for them. These Catholics are articulate. The simply produced video is just the right way to show total honesty and straightforward assessment of why the Mass is important.
I think other Catholic churches could use it to very good advantage. Unfortunately, the DVD is not listed on the Archiocesan website. The DVD cover says you can order a copy by calling (651)291-4521.
Maybe soon the producers will be able to share this resource widely. Why not stream parts of it on the Archiocesan website?


Silence about hate crimes

The mood of our country, Christian hate, fuels this type of atrocity. No outcries from Catholic hierarchy who instead are ferreting out gays from their seminaries. Shame.


Open source and partly open

This link was mentioned during last weekend meeting on the Open Source Religous Resources Site, ChurchMedia.Net is intended to be a forum for exchanging ideas and resources. Although the site map shows the options for "about us" and "mission statement," there are no such pages and I was frustrated by that. For free you can read posts from people who are keen on church media.

This book by Eric Raymond, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" was mentioned by Eric Celeste who said it is seminal to the open source resources thinking.


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