The Importance of Communcation

Problemchildbride has resurfaced to write, her blogging has been compromised of late on account of communication problems.

I have enormous empathy.

When I first began blogging/blabbing I did so from a dialup connection at home on the farm; at best my speeds ran to 9.6 Kbps. It was an arduous process of dedication. Or a self-centred determination to have myself heard? In any event, it took time. Not least because it took half a day to open a page but frequently the phone would cut off mid sentence and I’d lose my thread (aka post to that point). Eventually the phone cut off altogether since farm hadn’t only neglected to pay us, they’d neglected to pay everybody else too, Tanzania Telecommuncations Company Ltd included.

When we made the decision to relocate to Outpost, I stipulated good communication was a must. Or I’d go mad (given what I’ve seen so far there’s a fair chance of that anyway, but I wasn’t to know that at the time). Husband, not wishing to be married to mad woman – or even one who nagged incessantly about bad internet connection – did his utmost to get it all installed ahead of Her Ladyship’s arrival.

Alas, it did not work.

It does now. In the two weeks I have been here I have – instead of nagging Him obsessively – taken up my rant with local internet provider TTCL (as above; they offer a wireless and broadband connection as well as common-or-garden 9Kbps dialup variety). They have been enduringly patient.

First they installed broadband via phone line and a monitor, which winks at me lewedly from shelf above where I write. It worked sporadically. Up and down’s like a Whatsits drawers. I called the friend I was trying to cultivate at TTCL, Mr Stima (loosely translates as ”power” in colloquial Kiswahili) and reported my problem.  He arrived to investigate and informed me dodgy connection was on account of bad power in shack outside the house which I somewhat grandly – and presumptuously as it turned out – was calling my ”office”. He suggested I relocate inside and it might work better there. I did. It didn’t. So he said I ought use laptop instead of preferred desktop, there was clearly a problem with that he said sniffily. Don’t think so; laptop connection just as fickle. Mr Stima departed as confounded as I.

Several days and alot of Husband Nagging later, I reported persistent problem again. Mr Stima returned with reinforcements (doubtless he has already binned me as a nutter and is faintly afraid of woman obsessed with taking up residence in cyberspace); he came with four (FOUR!) colleagues. The five of them stood over me as I demonstrated my difficulty in connecting. The monitor winked and grinned and flashed rudely but the three lights that ought to have remained illuminated in order to establish a link simply refused to do so.

Having dissed both my power and my assorted computers, Mr Stima was running out of excuses. It must be the line, he said. His workmates nodded sagely in agreement. What could be wrong with the line, I asked. ”Perhaps it has been stolen, they do that you know”, they said in tones of hushed reverence. Oh I said in small voice, ”what now?”. We will go and investigate, they said bravely. And off the trailed.

They did indeed investigate line, whether they found fault I don’t know. The connection continues to be sporadic so they have suggested perhaps it’s a problem with their server and offered to connect me to a backup wireless system (for a fee, obviously). Only two technicians came back to do that – perhaps they have grown bored of newly resident nutter – they were charming and helpful and now I am connected via monitor at 100Mbps (when it works) or alternatively wireless (at a less speedy, but far faster than I’m used to, 250 Kbps). My desk is quite crowded now, given all the phones and monitors not to mention laptop but it does mean I’m more or less assured of connection. And communication. And conversation. Not counting all that I’ve had with Mr Stima and his merry band of men over last ten days of course.

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8 Responses to “The Importance of Communcation”

  1. Gillian Says:

    Oh, given your efforts to maintain a lifeline of communication to all of us out here, I think I should send a few dots and dashes down the line to let you know that I enjoy your accounts of daily events.

    I’m big on daily minutiae, and I’m enjoying yours. From this distance your mountains look like molehills. Isn’t that a nice perspective?

    My Bloglines tells me that your blog has 7 subscribers. That’s 7 of us who read your every post. Seven and growing, of course!

  2. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thank you, Gillian. That’s very kind. Do keep reading and I’ll keep detailing the small stuff; the perspective is certainly useful!

  3. Iota Says:

    No communication (or limited communication) with the outside world is NOT a molehill, in any perspective (sorry Gillian).

    I just keep thinking of those Weaver Birds. Sticky out twigs and incipient brownness may not impress Mrs Weaver Bird, but my guess is that you would live with those if you had reliable internet connection in the nest.

    Glad you’re up and running.

  4. Gillian Says:

    Well, only loosely ‘molehill-like’, in the sense that things seem less gripping from a greater distance. In the same way that passing time gives us a different perspective on things. And time heals all wounds.

    Perhaps the act of speaking to sympathetic ears (writing to sympathetic readers) gives us a little of this perspective, too, and helps us let go a little.

    I know how harrowing it is to feel cut off, silenced, muffled. So I’m with you there.

  5. minx Says:

    I often wonder what people did before the age of global communication from your living room. I suffer times of enforced silence – Cornwall works hard to catch the interwebby signals before they drop off the end of the land!

  6. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Iota – do you know, I think you’re right! Sticking out twigs and dry nest made easier to forget when one can make regular sorties into cyberspace.

    Thanks again Gillian; you’re right, time heals. Either that or memory loss serves to smooth over the bad bits?!

    Minx how lovely to hear from you. That’s an interesting thought – especially as we’re part of a generation that remembers pre-web days. We wrote letters I suppose, and anticipated responses to same with excitement. Our children won’t know about that – is that sad?

  7. minx Says:

    Part of my work is running a holiday club for children. Yesterday I took in an old typewriter that belonged to my mum. Strangely enough the kids were fighting over it all day – writing notes to each other and fascinated with the whole mechanical internal workings that required no electrics.

  8. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    That is so cool Minx. Great story. Those old typewriters were great too; you had to belt them to get a single letter out of them but they were great.

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