Gabriela García Calderón, Making Global Voices Part of Her Daily Life for 7 Years

Gabriela Kenya

Gabriela in Kenya in 2010, with the Great Rift Valley at the background. Courtesy Gabriela García Calderón Orbe

Gabriela García Calderón is a committed and ever-friendly Global Voices member who has tirelessly contributed great content and built up this vibrant, decade-old community since joining in 2007. She is one of the most regular and prolific contributors and was acting editor for Latin America. 

Global Voices (GV): When Juan Arellano interviewed you back in July 2009, you had been a translator for GV Spanish for almost two years. Today, you have over 7,160 contributions on GV in Spanish — a top number at GV if I'm not mistaken — and over 415 on GV in English. Above all, you spent some time as acting GV editor for Latin America. Please tell us about the stages of your involvement within Global Voices.

Gabriela García Calderón (GGC): It was all a gradual process. I started in late 2007 as volunteer translator for GV in Spanish and two years later, Eddie Avila, then regional editor, invited me to be an author. I became then a volunteer translator and an author. When our former editor Silvia Viñas had her maternity leave, she asked me to fill in for her during the two months of her leave. And when she decided to change jobs, I was asked to fill in for her provisionally.

In the meantime, I've also written some posts for Rising Voices, and I am currently helping Eddie Avila with his Rising Voices Amazonia Project.

GV: Did your experience of translating, authoring and editing change your vision of the world during this time?

GGC: Yes, it made me think a lot more about the people affected by any news or event we report. The news aren't just about a crash or a rally anymore, it's about some girl that tweets how she felt sick when tear gas was thrown next to her, or an aid woker who shares his thoughts after seeing directly the effects of a typhoon. This makes me consider the human side of news, and realize it's not just statistics and numbers, but individuals.

GV: Does your work with GV impact your practice as a lawyer?

GGC: Being part of GV has made me more sensitive to what happens in the world. Likewise, when I read about a legal case, I tend to focus on how it is affecting someone and try to enforce law. We read about so many place where people don't get justice, that I feel lucky from my place in the world to be able to help someone to feel their rights are respected.

GV: Did the social media scene change a lot in Latin America since, say, 2009? 

GGC: Back in 2009, Twitter wasn't as used as it is right now. Now, politicians express their thoughts via Twitter and sometimes they create quite a buzz with just 140 characters. Even common citizens use Twitter to denounce incidents where they feel their rights are being violated. Or to report earthquakes, very common in this country. For instance, some days ago, Lima was shaken, and it took a little while for the media to react. But immediately after that, Twitter started to be flooded with messages about the earthquake.

GV: You are also an active blogger. What place does your blogging hold in your daily life? 

GGC: My blog has brought me many happy moments, many good friends in very diverse countries and the idea that sharing every day events and incidents is worth while, no matter how insignificant we feel they are. It's amazing how similar ideas and thoughts we may find when we face any given simple situation, no matter if it happens in Peru, in Spain or in Qatar.

GV: Could you also elaborate somewhat on how you manage your own time for all these tasks, including your work as a lawyer? Any tips? 

GGC: Each day brings its own troubles. What I do every day is divide my activities and see which ones have priority. If a post on GV has to be published right away, everything else will have to wait. The same goes with all other activities. That works for the weekdays. On the weekends, I tend to be away from the computer, which is no easy task! I end up checking my e-mail at some point and carrying out some tasks to reduce my week work load.

GV: Anything else you'd like to add?

GGC: I wish GV a happy tenth anniversary, and I wish many more anniversaries to come. I am so glad to belong to this incredible community, where everybody counts as one and where everybody has their own share to say.


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