It's no surprise that the internet and social media are not as widely used in Ecuador as they are in Indonesia. So, you can't talk about netizen communities or internet-based social networks like you can in Indonesia. Here – if I'm not mistaken – that is a long way off. Not at all like Indonesia.
I hope that Ecuador will get more affordable and accessible mobile phone and internet services. So that Cinthya and Reynaldo can see more of the world again from their mobiles.
For a young girl called Cinthya Castro Jama, it's a whole new world.
Although she is the youngest of the 14 participants, this 12-year-old girl looks raring to go. She took part in the whole of the one-day internet training held on Friday last week in Esmeraldas, Ecuador.
And when the training finished at around five in the evening, Cinthya went straight to see Siska Simon Marrecau, a training facilitator from VECO Andino. She asked her to teach her more about writing and sending email.
Cinthya wasn't the only keen one. Her brother Reynaldo Castro Jama was just as enthusiastic. When some of the other participants went home right after the training ended, Reynaldo stayed behind. He learned how to make a Facebook account, including how to upload his profile photo.
When he'd done that, he put his first post on this social networking media account…Que lindo dia que pace ohidia. Which means, what a beautiful day it's been.
"I've really enjoyed being able to learn about the Internet today, including how to make an email and a Facebook account," said Reynaldo. Cinthya echoed his words.
This brother and sister were two of the 14 participants of the internet and social media training that we held in Atacames, in the Esmeraldas province of Ecuador. Along with their father, Olmedo Castro Jama, they set off from their home in Muisne, around 2 hours from Atacames.
Both of them stayed off school that day so they could go to the internet training. Cinthya and Reynaldo also regularly help their farmer, who is cocoa farmer, like most people in Muisne and Atacames.
For about nine hours, the participants – all farmers – learned about the internet and social media. As well as me and Siska, the two other people facilitating this training were VECO Andino staff Claudia van Gool and Audrey Claeys.
This was the first time I had ever delivered internet training overseas. In Indonesia, I have facilitated training like this since 2007, in Bali, Java, Flores, Sulawesi and Sumatera. But never in another country.
The training in Ecuador was a VECO Andino activity. Like VECO Indonesia, it is a part of Vredeseilanden, a donor agency that supports sustainable agriculture and has its head office in Leuven, Belgium.
I went to Ecuador and Peru because the Vredeseilanden head office asked me to share my communication and publication experience. That includes internet and social media.
Our training material is standardised. We begin with an introduction to the internet. The participants learn about the leading search engine, Google. There they search for information, photos, and videos on whatever topic they want to know more about.
From Google, they can find, for example, information about cocoa prices in Ecuador or wherever they want, say Bali and Indonesia. It was great to see them all enthusiastic and hear them laughing when they found photos and videos about their own region on the internet.