Thursday, December 3, 2009


Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

I met Regina when she opened the door of her home to me at 11:00 at night. I was on a mission: fix the computer of her husband, the writer Rafael Alcides. I was planning to reformat and reinstall Windows, but the system had a defective 5G disk, the CD drive wasn’t working, and the external ports didn’t recognize anything. All this left me no choice but to hang up my gloves and pass the “dead thing” to Ciro. We finished at 5:00 in the morning.

The long hours I spent lying on the floor among cables and pieces of the motherboard gave me a chance to get to know the whole family. I remember it as a marvelous evening and I hope it is repeated without the part about the broken machine.

Alcides and Regina do not have a telephone. Every time I want to talk to them I have to travel back in time and remember the little house in Nueva Vedado still doesn’t have a telecommunications cable. One of these day I will send them a telegram, just to try it.

Regina wanted to open a blog. With the Wordpress offline server she has learned in the academy how to hang a header, publish entries, and insert photos and links. La Mala Letra (Bad Writing), her blog, finally saw the light of cyberspace on November 11. Here is is a small paragraph from the blog of a woman who, without internet, without even a telephone, has found a way to express herself in Web 2.0.

“Some time ago the idea came to me to write, but the perception of being nobody, of having opinions that were irrelevant save to my family and friends, and above all, of having no power to influence events, kept me from doing it, again and again. But I decided to see signs in everything, and in that sense the article-essay “Why I blog” by Andrew Sullivan, has become a kind of enlightenment. As I live in Cuba it makes me smile to read that Sullivan updates his blog several times a day. With a great deal of optimism, I can do it twice a week. I have never visited a blog in person, I was introduced to the Internet live six months ago, and in such a fleeting way, that I run the risk of doing more of the same, but if I understand right, it doesn’t matter: if I help someone and someone helps me, I am making friends, or at least readers.”

Photo: Vallin classes at the academy

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