Ash Kosiewicz

Ash Kosiewicz (Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team): Ash graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2002 with a dual degree in government and journalism. After graduation, he worked for two years as a child support officer with the Texas Office of the Attorney General. In 2004, he moved to Ecuador, where he lived for 10 months working with a local foundation in Guayaquil to raise funds for a health center project in the rural canton of Santa Lucia. Upon returning from Ecuador, he worked for two years as communicators director with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which provides legal aid to the poor in the United States. At the time of his fellowship, Ash was studying for a master's degree in Latin American studies from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. After his fellowship, Ash wrote: "The AP experience has given me another incredibly impactful experience in Latin America. It has given me an incredible story to tell, one that truly leaves people interested though unsure how to respond. I feel like I’ve gone through some pretty intense stuff, and I’ve come out of it stronger and more aware. I know I can handle tough environments, and work in a fast paced environment."



Internet Se Fue

07 Jul

For the last hour, I have been staring at the “Wireless Connection Status” window on my laptop. (And yes, this does get better.)

Since having serendipitously discovered wireless internet within a small corner of my room five days after arriving to Lima, I have squeezed most of my days between pockets of connective happiness. I do have internet at work during the week, and yes, internet cafes do exist in Lima. But over the years, I have grown so accustomed to internet at home that being online in the morning and at night has simply become second nature. And that, my friends, is most enjoyably done while half asleep and within inches of a half-made bed.

I vowed my days of internet cafes in Latin America were over when I noticed my often-taken-for-granted wireless network detector one day pop up, informing me with utmost modesty that it had for the 14,256th time successfully connected me to some available source of wireless internet. Given the non-existent connectivity of many residences in Latin America, including my present one, I praised my internet-savvy neighbors. Some stranger’s “linksys” connection was my ticket to instant placation of an insatiable habit in need of a quick fix.

But as of last Thursday, I was cut off. It’s just internet, though, right? During my 10 months abroad in rural Ecuador, my host mother often shouted across the house, “¡Se fue la luz!” (“Electricity’s gone!”) or “¡Se fue el agua!” (“The water’s gone!”) – a far cry from a lost internet connection.

A part of me thought, it could be a lot worse.

But no internet at home means more than a quick fix for a privileged dependence. Since arriving to Lima almost two months ago, I’ve relied on the internet to easily connect with my sister in Colombia, my family in Texas, and my friends in Austin and Washington, D.C. After struggling to navigate a new city and enduring a nasty stomach bug in a stranger’s home within weeks of arriving, I sometimes wonder if I’m built to do this kind of work by myself. As much as I love my work, it never seems to fully satisfy when I realize how far I am from home. The experience of being sick in a foreign country by myself is all the unpleasant information I’ve ever needed to realize the importance of a convenient way to stay in touch with the people who know you the best.

As I watch the “Wireless Connection Status” window and my wireless detector scroll through, and attempt in vain to connect to, a list of stored wireless connections that I’ve connected to over the past few years – Robledo, Spiderhouse, and 1306East28, to name a few – I am reminded of how far I am from a feisty Texan with a penchant for Corpus Christi hip-hop, an Austin coffee shop that reminds me of my formative college days, and a red-haired loved one entirely too far away.

Posted By Ash Kosiewicz

Posted Jul 7th, 2008

6 Comments

  • Holly

    July 7, 2008

     

    It is hard living abroad, especially when you know no one. Such experiences highlight the importance of friends and family. Also, being in a vast land of “unknowns” tests one’s mental strength. Just know that we all support you and wish we could be there to enjoy the little pleasures and annoyances of Lima. Keep chatting and informing us about your daily activities – even though news will reach us during working hours. There is no doubt that you are highly esteemed and many people wouldn’t have the strength, passion or determination to do such great work.

  • Andrés CM

    July 7, 2008

     

    From Colombia. Reminds me of the times[two times at least in the last five years] when a submarine cable has been damaged and we are left with no internet connectivity to sites outside Colombia, however in that case it rarely affects our connection with our friends and family.

    A suggestion abount wireless access points, be wary of what sites you visit in such connection for if you navigate in an unsecured site, your login and password may be intercepted, use safe login options if any is available [like in gmail].

  • Douglas Uzzell

    July 18, 2008

     

    Ash, I remember going to the neighborhood bar to see a TV set, in hopes of seeing the first landing on the moon.

    Wifi connectivity blows my mind.

    Doug

  • Douglas Uzzell

    July 18, 2008

     

    Thanks for this blog, Ash. I intend to refer my Ibero America course to it this fall.

    Doug Uzzell

  • Larissa

    July 21, 2008

     

    Ash-wireless connection or not, you are thought about constantly and admired by all of us who wait for the latest intellectual and humorous tidbit on our computer screen. Keep the faith that the work you are doing is reaching people not just through the invisible internets, but on a higher, deeper human level. Fe y Esperanza, my friend, will get you through the tough times!

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