Recently, we interviewed Camille, a Tenderloin resident whose life has been changed by technology. We first met her in December 2016, when Noviaris helped her discover the nuances of her tablet at a tech-training event.
Camille’s two greatest passions are her church and music. Visibly excited when we asked, she tells us how, “I’m in a music ministry, I’ve been on the stage twice. I’ve been in one of those shows, and we came in third place. I sing. That’s my passion.” Tapping on the table with her fingertips, she seems to sway to an invisible music.
Through modern technology such as her phone and tablet, Camille now has easier access to these passions. She pulls out her phone and begins: “I play my gospel music on it. I wake up, I have one of those bluetooth [devices] and I hook it up to the tablet, it sounds just like a stereo. That starts my morning.” When asked about gospel music at church, she smiles and says the church choir “texts me music, and what I do is go into my texts and I pull up the YouTube link.” She turns her phone towards us as a video begins playing. “That’s the song.” In a few weeks, she will join the other choir members on stage to perform it.
Like many today, Camille recently replaced the landline with her smartphone, explaining, “I took my regular phone out of my house, cause I didn’t want to have two bills. I call on this phone,” she says, gesturing to the LG phone in her hands. “I call friends, I call just about anybody I can get in touch with.”
When it comes to her smartphone, Camille is a quick learner, and she loves discovering all the capabilities that her devices have: “It does a lot, it really does. It has all those shortcuts.” Camille turns her eyes away from us and glances at the screen. “I took some pictures, they’re still in my tablet, in my church. They had a little wedding… and I took the pictures, their photos. I thought I had somehow erased them, but I still have them. It was so cute, it was a play wedding.” She adds, “And I just got another niece. She’s like three or four months now. She’s a little girl. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to see her. I heard she’s cute. Somebody took a picture of her, I saw the picture on that person’s phone. She’s got features like me!” Through the preservation of memory that technology provides, Camille is able to stay close to her family despite not having much time with them in person.
Camille is fortunate to have access to technology, her home, and her friends, yet she needs to look no further than down her church’s street to see that things are not as pleasant for others. She is incredibly distressed by the conditions of the homeless people, and wishes that the government and mayor could do more to help them. She says, “That down there is a disgrace. I almost have tears coming out of my eyes. I have to burn my candle. That has to be cleaned up down there, that’s just totally not acceptable. It’s unsanitary, you can get sick… That’s out of hand down there. What is the mayor doing? He’s got to do something. I’m so embarrassed to have my church members have to take me down there in that area like that. You know, it’s sad. What’s going on?”
To cope with the negativity that Camille sees around her, she insists on maintaining a positive attitude: “I’ll be around people who’s positive… I like to be positive.” Camille’s embrace of all the wonders of modern technology has certainly helped her keep her bright disposition and connect with her loved ones.