17 June 2010 Difficulty of communicating Email in developing countries

17 June

Almost missed the 8:00 am bus to Bolga today. Nathaniel Driller and I were going to Waller Internet Cafe so I could help him signup for an account on Facebook. Almost missing the bus was my fault. Out of self preservation I have adopted an African attitude towards time. We were supposed to leave at 7:30 to walk to the cross to meet the bus but I hadn’t yet bathed at 7:10. This put us about 10 minutes late to start our mile walk to meet the bus. I was not worried at all. Since when did the 8:00 bus pass the junction at 8:00! When we were in sight of the junction we saw the bus come. At first we thought it was too far to try to run for it but then we saw that there were many people loading things so maybe we could make it. I looked at Nat and started running. He took off and was soon way ahead of me. He reached the bus and managed to convince the driver and conductor to wait for the White lady who was running to the cross. I was beat but very happy becasue missing the bus meant at least a 90 minute wait for the next one.

I entered the bus, winded and sore of leg. It was packed so I stood near a pole and leaned against it. I joked with a couple of passengers near me about running for the bus. One lovely man stood and gave me his seat.  The rest of the trip to Bolga passsed uneventfully but slowly. It was Bolga market day so many people were waiting at each bus stop along the way and they had man things to load on the bus. We arrived in Bolga around 10 am. (In a private car the trip would take little over an hour.)

We arrived and went straight to the Waller Cafe. The net was mind numbingly slow equally frustrting for me an experienced user and for Nat the newbie.  It took 3-5 minutes to open an email. Nat was loading some photos to his new Facebook account and that was just too slow – one photo was taking 6 or more minutes. Yes I timed it. What else did I have to do?

 I managed to read three emails in one hour and then came a shocker. The next email I that finally opened indicated that I may not be able to see my granddaughter when I went to the states. The whys and wherefores are not important just that the slowness of the connection added to my dispair. So immediately well slowly but the next thing I did on internet was to answer that email. It was understandably my first priority. This took another 30 minutes with rereaading and correcting and taking out excess emotion and then the slow pace at which it was sent. Five minutes later, before the next email in my inbox opened the net went down.

 Nat and I had enough. That was it for the day. We headed to one of my favorite chop bars in Bolga,

 3 July

 Today I went to Bolga with Tennie, my landlord’s daughter.  After breakfast I decided to got to the internet Cafe. I could check my Email and give Tennie a brief introduction to it as well. The connection was again slow. I tried to delete the spam. After 5 minutes it was not deleting. So I stopped the deletion, which took another 5 mniutes and decided to read an email from my friend. It took another 5 minutes to open. Now 15 of my 30 mniutes was used up and I hadn’t read even one email. But the email from my friend  was great news – SHE WAS ENGAGED! I hit reply another 5 minutes before the reply screen came and I sent enthuiastic congratulations and clicked send. I was down to 7 minutes left of my 30 and the message was still grinding away not yet sent and the network crashed.

 That was it. I was finished.

  -vc

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