Celebrating Hacking, Making, Learning and Sharing, HillHacks was the culmination of one great culture, that saw the coming together of many individual cultures, and it attracted many a like-minded people and the most exciting of ideas and action, to the beautiful hills near Dharamshala, in the lap of the Himalayas.
It was the beauty of that creative culture at HH1 which made Cherry think deep about the need for setting up a hackbase in Trivandrum,
which could also act as a peer to peer learning space, where local people, technology and culture could meet the goodness of the HillHacks culture that he had experienced.
And with that dream soaring high, Cherry and Santhosh, came back to Kerala, tugging along a few great goodies that Akiba and Todd donated/lent to the cause.
With the two ThinkPad X61s and the Quick Soldering Station that Akiba lent, the four TP-Link routers that he donated, the Soekris Router and the 24-port Unmanaged Switch that Todd gave, and a bunch of Rubik cubes, Cherry and Santhosh reached Thiruvananthapuram, a place blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in Kerala.
And thus, inspired, by the culture of HillHacks and the co-working space and hackbase at Rakkar, Dharamshala (Infinity Hackbase), Cherry founded Kovalam Ezhuthu Kalari (KEK) at a village called Poonkulam, on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram, near the beautiful beaches of Kovalam.
And it has been around 7 months since.
With an active residency model (wherein people could stay on the KEK premises, help run the space and some of its technology/community projects, and enjoy the beaches nearby, while working on their personal projects), KEK saw some great residents - Cherry, Sva and Kondi, who made their mark and moved on to become Resident Alumni, once they completed their residency periods. And as Cherry moved out last month, completing the max-residency term of 6 months, I took over as the current resident.
And over this period, we set up the space, planned and executed HackBeach (HB0), found quite a lot of good friends all around the world, have a strong stream of visitors, started quite a few good projects, and hacked everything, from doorlocks and routers, to the whole of the local community, for the good of all.
And as part of our local interactions, we took regular classes for the local kids, teaching basic English and computer literacy stuff, and taught basic electronics and circuit troubleshooting to interested youngsters, all in the hope of bringing them up to a level where they can become independent community members.
All of the computers, tools and equipments that came in, were put to good use. And we are ever-thankful for those.
Moreover, we saw quite many good people sharing the belief in the culture, and bringing over their friends and books and tools and equipments and whatever else they saw useful for the space.
All along, we played, learned, shared, and had great fun. And it is time we gave back what we borrowed from HH1.
And here we are, headed back to HH2, to share, with the hackers in the hills, the joy and experiences we gained along.
As I am writing this, I'm on the train to Delhi with Santhosh and Vinayan. KP and Ganesh are a bit ahead of us, and we will be joining them from Delhi by 21st noon. And Praveen (@psbots) and Nisha will reach Rakkar over the next few days.
@HillHacks, here we come! :)
P.S.: KEK will be closed from May 19th to June 10th, while we celebrate all of this and more, with the hackers at the hills!