By Mercedes Palomino
Moya, Peru, Jul 1 (EFE).- Moya, one of Peru’s Andes Mountain districts where the majority of the people are poor or extremely poor, still has many basic needs to fulfill, although starting this week access to the Internet will not be one of them, a situation that offers opportunities for local “development,” education and healthcare.
The technology, which arrived in the region last Thursday via the Internet para Todos (IpT, “Internet for All”) initiative spearheaded by Telefonica del Peru, the local telephone service provider, had been awaited for months by local residents in the Andean Huancavelica region, 3,160 meters (10,365 feet) above sea level.
With a population of less than 2,000, Moya is the village selected as the first of 1,700 hard-to-access communities in the region that will be connected to 4G technology this year.
At the local elementary school there has not been a single day on which the youngsters have not asked how many more days until June 27, the date on which Moya was to awaken with Internet access.
“They’ve been asking us every day when the tablets will arrive, curious to know what they can discover using that equipment,” Haydee Valenzuela, the principal of the Moya elementary school told EFE regarding the equipment that will launch the kids on their road toward digitalization.
Local residents have witnessed the installation of the antennas that will make the wider Internet world available to them but also allow them to show the online community that they are a people proud of their roots and the academic achievements of many of their bright children, a situation that has spurred them to call themselves the “Cradle of Intellectuals,” a moniker inscribed on a plaque in the town square.
One of Moya’s former students, after getting into the country’s top public universities, now works for NASA and others have become key officials in big companies, but now – with Internet access – local students will have a new tool to help them get ahead and to foster development in their district.
Mayor Marcelino Rojas told EFE that the new technology “will bring development” both for the students and for the general public.
“It’s an opportunity for current Moya authorities to let (the world) know of its riches,” since that has not yet been able to be fully publicized, Rojas said.
Huancavelica Gov. Maciste Diaz said that Internet connectivity will help local residents get access to better healthcare thanks to “tele-health,” a tool that will connect the local Moya health center with the Huancavelica Hospital.
He promised that Moya’s school will also have full Internet connectivity in the coming months.
Until then, the principal and teachers at the elementary school have devised a plan so that the enthusiasm for the new technology will not die.
“First, we’re going to (provide) each of the teachers with a data plan on their (mobile) phones and we’ll share the Internet with tablets for the students,” Valenzuela said.
The children of Moya, however, are not wasting any time getting intimately familiar with all the possibilities the tablets can provide to them, examining all the games and applications installed on them and asking questions of their teachers.
Telefonica del Peru CEO Pedro Cortez told EFE that the Internet connectivity program is coming to fruition with the help of BID Invest, CAF (the Development Bank of Latin America) and Facebook.