Gringo Lost

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Mescal no bueno

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I´m going to do some backtracking right now because I meant to get this blog up when I first arrived in Mexico but got distracted with a few things.

But now I have some free time, since it´s about 10:30 on a Friday night and I´m locked out of my house and my roommate just left for San Diego and won´t be back until Wednesday. Regarding me being locked out. I´m not really, just a little lost, or confused. Because for some reason I turn the key but the lock doesn´t release. Even when I bang and push on the door it doesn´t open. The fail-proof yelling at the door didn´t do anything. So, now I´m left on the streets in a city I don´t know, trying to speak Spanish, which I also don´t know. But I´m certain it will all work out for the best.

Other than this latest development, my trip has been great. Yesterday I was greeted by my new co-workers, and to celebrate my arrival (and the culmination of 6 months of hard-work they had been doing to open up several computer centers in disadvantaged neighborhoods) we put down some drinks. Vino tinto and mescal to be exact. To much of it to be more exact.

The mescal and red wine was the glue that helped me bond with my new co-workers. It also caused a poor co-worker to lose his lunch. Too much drinking left me extremely hung-over this morning for my first official day of work. I drank too much in fact that I had to brush my teeth twice this morning to remove the red (vino tinto) tint that had become a part of me.

Despite the hangover, I learned a lot today about the project and what I´ll be doing. I came here only knowing the name (Proacceso ECO) and my duties (to seek additional funding sources for the project). My other additional job duty is to help everyone in the project to practice their english. The project will eventually open 80 computer centers in Mexico housing over 5,000 computers and bring unprecedented technology to about 1.2 million Mexicans who have never had access to the sort before. As of today, there are 3 computer centers open with approximately 150 computers, but they are already registering almost 2,000 users. About 85% of these users have extemely limited experience with computer technology.

I also learned a little about programming and systems administration from a couple of very competant techies. One thing of which is apparently going to change the world and we are the first ones using it in Mexico.

So, this summer looks like its going to be great (despite the fact that I might be homeless on the streets of Mexico until work starts up again on Monday). The expectations are high here that this thing will work. Already, the Mexican government has guaranteed about $4 million USD in funding, we are just short of about $650,000 for our goal. Unfortunately for me, that is going to be my job. I can´t come up with a few thousand to pay down my credit card, but it is expected that in the next three months I can round up some funds to put a dent in this monstrous some. I think I can do it. Hopefully, I better at grantwriting than I am at opening doors.


Written by gringolost

May 23, 2009 at 3:31 am

2 Responses

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  1. While I really respect what you’re trying to do (actually it sounds really cool), I seriously hope you will not be the one helping people learn how to use the computers.

    If it helps, I’ll give your group $20. Than you’ll only need $799,980.


    May 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm

  2. No, there is plenty more capable people here to do that. I’ll just be searching for money, which I’m not really good at either. But, the people in charge of the technological aspects, i.e. setting up the network, the systems administration, and programming are all trained experts.


    May 23, 2009 at 5:52 pm

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