Be thankful (for internet!)

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Where I’m at: apparently the blackhole of technology

What I’m doing: wondering why I came to work in on the day in between the Thanksgiving holiday and Monday’s Congolese holiday

Why I’m posting: wow, because I finally can


Now this may ring somewhat hollow to those that have noticed that my wife has somehow managed to get two posts up in recent weeks, but I wonder more and more whether the technology wave didn’t also miss Congo. Anthropologists and political scientists often talk about how the Industrial Revolution and Green Wave (ag technology) missed most of Africa, but Africa has largely been more a part of the Tech Wave. Certain instances have pointed to that being true: Twitter-led revolutions in North Africa, the first-ever African-designed tablet PC coming out of Brazzaville, Kigali being the Southern Hemisphere’s Silicon Valley (nb: unfair because they had a head start being physically in a valley and in a part of the world where silicon is found!).

But as I’ve been unable to use home internet (and thus blog) for a month, despite being a client of the supposedly most reliable/largest internet provider in town, I start to question whether the Tech Wave just missed us entirely. The link-up to the broadband internet cable being run down the coast of Africa from Portugal supposedly is happening right now, but the lines running from that cable to Brazzaville could well be months or a year (or more) away. In the meantime, most government buildings don’t have internet or computers yet (that’s okay, they often also don’t have clean toilets, working elevators, or non-crumbling walls), my blackberry (and lifeline to your US phones via text!) can’t connect to the never-functioning network – thus no new pictures, and the electric company went on strike because it was being broken into 3 companies for being a monopoly (umm, aren’t monopolies broken up often because they can price control goods and services? Don’t you have to have either of those first before really being a monopoly?!).

Yikes, TIA (This Is Africa), right?! Okay, admittedly, I just watched Blood Diamond again, and it meant more when that guy who played The Mummy said it after Leo DiCaprio shot him as they duked it out over a huge diamond and the life of some child soldiers (talk about my comments ringing hollow!). But it’s these sorts of everyday things that just drive us up the walls. And that’s a dangerous place because our walls are filled with giant cockroaches and apparently deadly snakes now, too!

En revanche (which is French for “on the other hand,” but which is way cooler because “revanche” means “revenge”), this kind of TIA stuff is also what makes this place charming and unforgettable (nb: the recurring malaria also makes it unforgettable). Sure, I had salmonella poisoning again last week after stupidly eating a chicken meal that we sent back once for being raw (“Why would we use a new plate?” Man, I’m stupid sometimes). But still, charming.

Anyway, it’s the time of year to be thankful, and I’m thankful for this opportunity to serve the U.S. abroad in such an interesting place (and thankful for the taxpayers for paying for a valuable service which apparently they don’t understand – or at least Rick Perry doesn’t). I’m thankful for my friends and family, who mean so much to me. I’m thankful for my dog not being bigger such that when he eats through the couch, at least it’s just a small hole. I’m thankful for parenthetical statements (or am I?!) that allow me to spice up my blog (with multiple personality schizophrenia). And I’m thankful to you all for reading! Happy Thanksgiving!!


Who said it: Freddie Mitchell, former wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, self-proclaimed “People’s Champion,” and always a great quote. This one after a 2-TD performance in a playoff game.

Why it’s relevant: we’re all thankful for something

The quote: “I just want to thank my hands for being so great.”


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