Saturday, September 4, 2010
Most of you know that I spent 6 months teaching at a bilingual school in Honduras earlier this year. I had an incredible time there working with the kids and being around the family I stayed with in the small mountain community of Villa Verde. One thing amazed me about Honduras though—the technology. I remember landing in Honduras and being picked up by Mr. Rodrigo and Mr. Bran and riding in the back of Mr. Rodrigo’s truck from San Pedro to Gracias looking out the window wondering what the next 6 months would be like. As I looked out the window I saw things I’d only seen in the movies and pictures—poor homes made out of everything and anything possible. Trash all over. Stray dogs running around with kids who were wearing clothes two sizes too small, or two sizes too big. Seeing what I considered to be, and is, a developing country. However, the closer I looked the more I began to realize that the technology bubble was in full force even in Honduras. One, it was extremely common to see a “shack” of a houseand sitting on the tin roof there be a satellite dish. Even the family that I lived with in Villa Verde had a satellite (two of them actually). Two, almost everyone who was sitting outside of their homes with their satellite dish strapped to the roof had a cell phone (although I’d later call this the “ownership” of a cell phone because even if you owned one, and most Hondurans did, not everyone could afford to put “saldo” (prepaid minutes) on it and actually use it). The third thing was the fact that the other American girls that lived up in the small community with me had Internet wired into their house and a wireless router. Halfway up a mountain at 4,000 feet in rural Honduras I could check my email on my iTouch.
They're "in" the computer?
Fast forward to this week. I was reading an article in the New York Times about Apple’s new revamped iPod lineup. For those of you who don’t know the iTouch now has a built in camera which can also take HD video, just like the new iPhone 4 (minus the phone part. And for those of you interested the new Nano has a mini-touch screen now too.) With that new and very predictable addition the iTouch now has the ability to video chat through WiFi. This means I could be sitting at a café here in Sevilla with my video iTouch (Christmas present anyone?) and free WiFi, video chatting with Rachel (my lovely girlfriend) back home in the United States for free. How awesome is that?
We are becoming like Star Trek: the first iPad...
Along with the awesomeness of the new iTouch, one of the other teachers that I’ve gotten to know here purchased a flip camera before he came. Last week we walked through El Real Alcázar de Sevilla and he took several short video clips of our tour, which added up to be about 30 minutes total. He then took the flip camera, plugged it into his computer, and within 15 minutes the software he’d installed that came with his camera created a 2-minute video combining parts of all the clips he’d recorded.
As someone who loves technology and continues to drool daily over his housemate’s iPad (yes, Steven has a 64GB iPad) I am constantly amazed at the direction technology is going, not to mention the speed. From widespread use of cell phones, Internet and satellite television in developing countries, to new phones and camera’s that allow you to see others live in a handheld device when you could be halfway around the world from each other, technology is just simply awesome.
So why am I telling you all this? It’s simple—it makes being so far away from the friends and family that you love so much easier. My mom asked me the other day, while I was calling her for free using Google’s new Voice program, if I was homesick at all. I thought about the question for a short second, and responded with a rather confident “No.” Now don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I miss them, along with all my friends. But I have the ability to video chat and call them for free through my computer when I am 6 hours a head of them and an ocean away. Yes, I am in Spain, but in the new world of technology I might as well be right next-door.