Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Three Weeks In

Where do I stand after three weeks in Colombia. Well, this past Saturday I had my first workshop here. Among other things, I got to learn that most people don’t use tools as quickly as I do. I had a blast making a miniature lending library for a prototype and display purposes. We’re going to put it outside as soon as we can buy a means of attaching it to the wall. Things have a way of running away here if they’re not bolted down. Another intern showed up and we have decided that we have the solemn responsibility of placing C-innova on firmer footing than we found it. To this end, we’re recording lot’s of propaganda videos and are going to launch a GoFundMe.
My Little Lending Library
There are certainly a few interesting aspects to crowdfunding that I had never considered before. For instance, GoFundMe requires that you be an American citizen with an American bank account. I can only surmise this is for insurance purposes and to stop embargoed countries from getting money throw these sorts of sites. As thankfully both the other intern and I are American citizens with American bank accounts we can do this a crowdfunding, although this does raise a point about opportunity distribution. C-innova had actually considered doing crowdfunding before but found they couldn’t do it due to these considerations.
One of the things C-innova would really like to have is a station to learn about electrical engineering because right now they really only have the ability to take on design and mechanical engineering projects. My fellow intern and I also noticed a discrepancy in the number of diy videos that are filmed in Spanish versus the number that are in English. We’d like to leave some amount of equipment here that they can continue to use. Finally, C-innova would really like to be able to take its message out of Bogota. Right now the workshop is stuck in a room in Bogota and they’d like to be able to drive around to schools and towns that are not nearby. Towards these goals, we’re working on a hilarious video for our crowdfund campaign. Let’s just say, I have an incredible Hillary Clinton impersonation.
In any event, life here is beginning to take on a familiar form. My favorite place to grab lunch now knows my order by heart and I have finally gotten the hang of the cheek to cheek kissy thing (this is after I made a rather hilarious mistake by missing and accidentally kissing this lady’s shoulder,...she was very confused). I find now also that my thoughts seem to be in a variety of Spanish and English which is fun, but not totally coherent. It works because most of the people around me speak both so our conversations tend to go in and out of both languages. I was even complimented on my accent this week. Apparently, it now takes me messing up a particularly simple verb for people to realize that spanish isn’t my first language, which I do on a regular basis (I wouldn’t want to be too predictable…).
The last thing I’d like to say here is that I’ve learned a new definition of the word waste. While using tons of packaging doesn’t draw attention, if you leave a single morsel of edible food on your plate you will get a talking to, either by people with you wondering what’s wrong with you, or the waiter wanting to know what was wrong with the food. I also haven’t been warm since I got here. I work in two shirts or a shirt and coat because they don’t seem to heat buildings. I suppose since there are no seasons here they just figure that people can manage on particularly cold days. I now understand completely about why people here drink so much hot chocolate and coffee besides the fact that it’s very cheap. They also don’t seem to believe in heating water past lukewarm, which at first was very frustrating and then I realized just how much energy they’re saving. According to Energy.gov water heating accounts for 18% of a homes energy usage in the U.S. leaving me to wonder how much energy we’d save if everyone was okay with lukewarm water, not that I think we’ll ever convice people to do that. Hasta Luego, muchachos.

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