Monday, May 3, 2010

Back to the Future

On the morning of Monday, April 26, I woke up like any other morning. A quick 5-miler, a strained Portuguese conversation with our friendly maid, and a bowl of maize meal porridge before heading to work. When I got to work, I noticed the internet wasn’t coming through. This happens sometimes, and I just have to adjust some settings on my computer or unplug and re-plug the router. Fast forward a week, and I still don’t have internet. I tried calling my colleague upstairs to see if he had it. No cell service either.

Rumors have been circulating, but it sounds like 13 kilometers (I’ve also heard 130 kilometers…the tales grow by the day) of fiber optic cable have been damaged in the Indian ocean, taking out all telecom in north and central Mozambique. The only ways to communicate are land line phones and text messages (God help us if we revert back to letters). Even text messages didn’t initially work, but the two major cell companies got their satellites up and running on Tuesday. There’s little communication to the outside world. I was finally able to get online via satellite internet. Talk about a diamond in the rough. I can’t find any information on how the damage occurred, but I’ve heard that business is experiencing a 70% slowdown and the cell companies mCel and Vodacom could lose (or are losing?) $7 million dollars a day , which is big money in Mozambique.

So what is everyone doing? It seems a lot like when the power goes out. We’re waiting. Who knows if everyone is waiting on someone else to do something, but I have to believe that there’s too much money on the line for even the government to be twiddling its thumbs (the current and former presidents have big stakes in the cell companies). Still, every prediction I’ve heard has been that it will be 4 weeks before internet is back in over two-thirds of the country. Mozambique. Where Amazing Happens.


  1. By not being able to communicate with you, I've come to realize how much harder your trip (lifestyle) is on me. I guess I actually do worry about you. Before I just pretended you were still in Nashville and telling tales of crazy dreams. I hope we can communicate soon.

  2. That slogan has a nice ring to it...