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Grants:TPS/Thelmadatter/2013 Congreso de La Asociación Centroamericana de Lingüística (ACALING)/Report

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2013 Congreso de La Asociación Centroamericana de Lingüística (ACALING):

Description of your participation:

In total, I spent a week in Honduras, with two main events, the Asociación Centroamericana de Lingüística (ACALing) conference from 28 to 30 August in Tegucigalpa and a meeting of regional historians in Siguatepeque on 25 August. My original proposal was only for the conference, but later the invite for the historian meeting came with the Honduran Ministry of Culture paying for the two extra hotel nights. The historian meeting had about 20 attendees, generally those who especialize in the history of the municipalities and departments of the country. This was a two-hour presentation, mostly and overview of what Wikipedia and Wikimedia is and isn´t and the need to represent the communiites of Honduras. The main presentation was with ACALing, at Honduras' main university the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras in Tegucigalpa. They were gracious enough to grant me a plenary speaking slot of an hour in length with an attendance of about 60 people. My presentation was similar to that with the historians, but with more details about how to start editing. I was interviewed twice while in the country, once in Siguatepeque and once by the university media in Tegucigalpa. These resulted in two published articles at [1] and [2]. I met various students from the university (many of whom wanted photos with me, which was flattering) a few professors and a number of representatives from Honduran minority ethnic groups at the conference as well as the historians.

What lessons were learned that could help others in similar events?

The main problem outside of the university is lack of Internet access. The historian event was supposed to be up to four hours, a hands-on workshop. However, there were communication difficulties and not only did the historians not bring laptops, there was no access to the Internet or a projector, seriously limiting my effectiveness. Talking to various people, access to computers and the Internet will be the first major challenge in creating a Wikipedian community in the country. The presentation at the university went much better technologically, but even there, some last-minute arrangements were needed to get Internet access in the auditorium. The major impact of the presentation was people understanding basically how Wikipedia works and that they can participate. Based on a couple of questions I got from the audience, the prior impression was that Wikipedia was a U.S. thing, a more traditional media organization or even a program of the U.S. government.

I cannot stress enough the importance of Wendy Griffin (User:Colmi02), who invited us and who made almost all of the arrangements. She is American who has lived and written about Honduras for over 25 years. She is highly respected in many circles in the country, especially among its minority ethnic groups. Time was spent teaching her more about editing and connecting with the Wikimedia community. From what I saw, working in Honduras and probably the rest of Central America, will require more basic support than in other parts of the world, as many outside of the upper classes have little idea of how even computers work, much less the Internet or Wikipedia. Follow up working with her will determine the initial sucess in making inroads. This work has already begun.

While the lack of equipment was a problem... it was a foreseeable one and on Wendy's advice, I had flyers printed up with the basic information.

What impact did your participation have on the Wikimedia Mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?

The main impact was to plant the idea that Hondurans can and should participate in Wikipedia. Although those with computer literacy knew of it, no one had any idea how the encyclopedia was created. One comment was that she was glad to know why the Spanish Wikipedia had so few articles in comparison to English. The newspaper articles are very favorable, but the surprise that Hondurans are able and welcome to participate is definitely there. I received contact information from about twenty people, from a very small English-speaking minority group to various professors in Central America and even a Japanese doctoral student working in Guatemala. Since returning, Ive received several emails, including from people who have read the newspaper articles. Follow up in on-going. Wendy has used my presentation already to begin setting up editing workshops in her region of Honduras.

Detail of expenditures:

Airfare: 533.66 - Original estimate was $800USD. However, I changed the flight to arrival to San Pedro Sula, the country's main airport from Tegucigalpa because of the historian meeting and being accompanied by Wendy Griffin

Bus fares between San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa $27 USD (552 lempira)

Hotel: Four nights in Tegucigalpa $85 USD (1600 lempira) and one night in San Pedro Sula $60USD (1237.80 lempira) (Wendy knows of a very economical hotel in Tegucigalpa but I stayed in a more secure one alone my last night in-country)

Airport departure fee $39.24USD (Yes, you pay for the priviledge of leaving the country through the airport)

Total expenditures 744.90 USD While there were a few unanticipated costs, the change of flight and the super cheap hotel in Tegucigalpa brought the total cost way down.

If you wire the money to my (U.S.) account, please add $15USD as this is what my bank charges for received such deposits (the thieves!)

Amount underspent/left-over (please specify currency): 355.10 USD