Connectivity at Barreirinha village

Luandro shares his diary of the work he’s leading with the Tenetehara people in the Arariboia territory. In this text you can learn about a key tool for the leaders at the Barreirinha indigenous village to boost their work.
This text was previously share via Scuttlebut.

Author: Luandro
Leia em português.
First part of the series.
Here it continues.

Right after the Lago Branco workshop, Jonas, Jó, and I returned to their village, Barreirinha, which wasn’t far away. As we had initially anticipated a larger number of participants for the Mapeo Workshop, it resulted in excess food. However, this turned out to be beneficial as I ended up spending a month in the territory, particularly in Barreirinha village, where Jonas’s family lives, and his father Raimundo is the cacique (chief).

One of the pressing issues we encountered on the first visit was the limited internet access available. Previously, they relied solely on expensive 4G internet, which imposed constraints on their ability to engage in online studies or participate in virtual meetings. Recognizing the significance of reliable internet connectivity, we set out to address this challenge.

During dweb-camp 2022 I bridged a generous donation of equipment from @juul, a supportive ally from sudoroom, in California. With it, we established a network that brought internet access from a house belonging to a Guajajara ally in the city of Arame, located on the other side of the river from Aldeia Barreirinha. This network allowed us to utilize the benefits of unlimited broadband internet, which was not previously accessible to the village.

The donated equipment were: 2x NanoStation M2, 2x NanoStation Loco M2, 2x Ubiquiti LiteBeam 5AC Gen2, 1x TP-Link WDR 3600, good quality Ethernet cables.

network equipment installation

The implementation process involved strategically testing the routers for the 350m cross-river link. Initially, I thought the NanoStation M2s would be enough, but to bring full internet speed, we ended up using the LiteBeams. To effectively spread the internet signal throughout the Barreirinha village, we used the WDR 3600 running #libremesh and one NanoStation Loco as a “dumb” AP connected through a cable to the mesh router. This setup ensured that the captive portal and mesh configurations would still work on this other AP. Configuring this on the Nano Loco OpenWRT was a bit of a hassle because it only has 1 ethernet port. Here are more details on the setup.

network equipment installation

This marked a significant milestone in empowering the community with reliable and affordable internet access. To ensure its sustainable management, we embarked on sessions with a dedicated group of village residents to introduce them to the #pirania internet control system, which employs the use of vouchers to effectively manage and distribute internet payment and usage within the community. A collective decision-making process allowed the villagers to determine a fair and equitable sharing of the internet costs among themselves. The brothers, Jonas and Jó, would be responsible for the cross-river connection, managing through Ubiquiti Unifi for Android.

For the best use of this connection, a shared computer room was organized for the community to use, and a laptop was provided for the project leader, Jonas Guajarara. He said, “The village had difficulty communicating and being aware of everything that happens around them. Now it will be easier for the community to work using the internet and computers for both research and to disseminate our work at Barreirinha indigenous community.”

a woman puts a bracelet into a man's wrist

The community expressed their heartfelt appreciation through numerous farewell gifts to me, underscoring the profound significance of this endeavor ❤️.

I find great value in dedicating an extended period of time, like a month, to immerse myself in communities. It allows the forging of deep and lasting relationships. During this month-long stay, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the youth gathering in the Araribóia Indigenous Territory. It was a joyous occasion where I had the pleasure of reuniting with old friends, making new acquaintances whom I had previously only interacted with online, and engaging in meaningful discussions with various local leaders. Additionally, I was honored to be part of a traditional celebration hosted by the community.

This is a part of a series of reports, you can read the first one here and the next one here.

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