24 | MAR | 2019
Huichol brings internet to Nayarit mountain range
Wearing only a t-shirt, jeans, and a small rucksack, Octavio Salas stated that there are entrepreneurial programs that help to improve the situation of Nayarit laborers - Photo: Sasin Paraksa/EL UNIVERSAL

Huichol brings internet to Nayarit mountain range

Miguel Pallares
Mexico City
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Octavio Salas used to labor at a tobacco plantation. Now, he is an accomplished entrepreneur

Octavio Salas was born in the Nayarit mountain range. As he grew older, he started working as a laborer at coffee plantations. All around him seemed to indicate that he would live a life of poverty, but his search for new development alternatives led him to finish his high school and university studies. Now he has a company of his own.

“I left my community since I was a little boy, I went to high school in Monterrey, I finished my bachelor’s degree at the Autonomous University of Nayarit, and I’m currently offering telecommunications services through high-speed internet in the mountain range,” he commented. Salas is currently 29 years old, he has two sons and a wife. Octavio lived with the Santa Mónica community in the El Nayar municipality, west of Nayarit. With his Huichol origin and polite demeanor, the young man used to work threading tobacco at a local plantation.

“I used to sleep in the open country, between the tobacco plants. Accidents happened from time to time. I managed to get a scholarship with the help of a Franciscan education center with which I was able to dedicate myself to my high school studies full-time. I then had to come to Nayarit for family reasons.

“Then I decided to go to college because I wanted to prepare myself to be an example to others in my family and my community, who struggle every day with hard labor,” he explained.

Octavio believes that laborers in the field only want to generate an income for their families so that they can buy food and clothes, but when someone wants to go to college, one of the main setbacks is that they have to pay for food, transport, rent, and tuition fees.

Octavio posing at the Nayarit mountain range - Photo: Taken from Octavio Salas' Facebook profile

Wearing only a t-shirt, jeans, and a small rucksack, Octavio Salas stated that there are entrepreneurial programs that help to improve the situation of Nayarit laborers and they have had a possible impact in labor conditions and the families’ quality of life; however, there are also cases of enterprises that exploit their workers.

There have been a few programs that help increase salaries and improve some companies’ treatment towards employees in regard to health, education, environmental issues, etc. This makes it possible for the worker to be able to return next year for the harvest.”

His search for continuous growth led Octavio to feel limited working as a company employee. The fact that there was not much time available for him to engage in other activities discouraged him, as well as the employers’ lack of trust towards employees, and low wages.

“I wouldn’t call it ambition. It’s more of a compromise to achieve your goals. That’s why I made this company in 2017, with two partners who shared the same ideals and whom I met in the mountain range,” he said.

Octavio’s company offers internet services through wifi. He also offers broadband services for local homes.

“Our suppliers are from the United States, and the enterprise that provides our equipment has a presence in Monterrey, Guanajuato, and Guadalajara. We have installed unidirectional wifi antennae that can be controlled remotely without needing to connect to the PC,” he added.

His goal is to expand his service to three more states this year, reaching more customers, but especially, he wants to achieve more things and there appears to be no obstacle big enough to stop him.

“We’re currently present in six populations, but within two to three years, we need to expand to the states of Durango, Zacatecas, Nayarit, and Jalisco, especially in regions that are far away from the big cities: indigenous populations that have schools, clinics, production centers, but that, due to their lack of internet services, don’t have access to certain information. Nowadays, internet access is made easier through the use of smartphones, tablets, and now mostly anyone can go online,” he said.


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