The last month has been one of the most frustrating all year – for technology anyway. Technology is great, when it works. When it doesn’t I feel powerless and want to throw my laptop out the window – which of course I don’t do even though I feel like it.
I’ve spent endless hours and Skype calls between Nairobi, Auckland and Sydney trying to sort out our new website and emails. I built this new website but couldn’t get it launched because of name servers, login details and email systems that wouldn’t work. Then of course, there’s the electricity which decides to go off for hours. In fact we had almost 2 days without power. Just to top it off the battery in my laptop decided to crap out so it decided all by itself when and where it would go.
Can you imagine being without power, the internet, your phone or computer – for a whole day? How do you work, talk to people overseas, find out addresses, look for businesses, design material, contact people or prepare school lessons?
I see people on Facebook who say they are going to do a fast for a week or month from it. While that’s nice, I see other people complaining that the power went out for two whole hours and their life was miserable. The thing is, we are so reliant on technology that I don’t think any of us can really do without it. I see Masai men herding their cattle in the middle of nowhere who access apps to see what the price of meat and veges are going for at the market.
One of the things we miss is the convenience of life, including access to technology. Living without it is a pain in the butt however it’s the reality of life for millions of people. So we learn to celebrate when we do have it, and survive when we don’t.
Here’s how we manage our challenging situation in Kenya:
- Keep electronics charged 24/7
- Put on surge protectors
- Make sure you have enough credit on your phone for both airtime and the internet
- Carry a plug in internet flash drive (with credit loaded)
- Put at least 1,000KES (about $10) on your Mpesa system
- Remember the cafes that have free wireless internet
- Have a solar lamp powered up and ready to go
- Have spare lights around the house
- Buy a washing machine that automatically goes on when the power returns
What is your plan of action for living without technology?