Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cell phones in Africa

Boy, was I mad at 4 am on Friday morning! I mean, you could light a match off of me! As I was taking Dr. Evil’s test, which is a hard thing on its own, my phone started ringing over and over! Why didn’t I turn it off? Well, it was 4 am! Who would expect a phone call at 4 am? After I was done I went to see who was calling. I had 10 missed calls and 3 texts saying, “Please, call such and such a number.” I could not wait for the guy to call me back so I could give him a piece of my mind! So as soon as my phone started ringing again I snatched it up but the guy hung up. Why? Let me tell you something about Malawi, or Africa in general, and cell phones!

You will not believe it, but it seems like everyone in Malawi has a phone! Why? Well, a person can buy a phone for about $10 and, Voila, they are in touch with the world! But are they really? The units, phone minutes, are really expensive here and not everyone can afford them. In fact, I can call the United States and “flap my jaw” with a friend for 10 cents a minute via Global Phone but the cost to call Alex, who is 10 miles away from me, on Zain is 15 cents a minute! So what’s a poor Malawian to do when he wants to make a phone call? Flash! “Flashing” is an African invention that involves calling someone and making their phone ring once. That person then will have your phone number and the idea is that he or she will call you back! This flashing sometimes overloads the network causing it to fail. My husband gets these phone calls every day and he always calls back because those may be work related! But not Era, uh-uh! My philosophy is that once you buy the phone, buy the units! I especially don’t want to be flashed by a wrong number! I have had these people flash me over and over and then realize they have the wrong number. Sometimes when they get a hold of you, they just simply do not believe that you are not the person they want to talk to! There were some funny instances where I got a love letter by mistake :-) Thank goodness my husband is not a jealous type or I would be in trouble! But then he got one too! :-)


  1. Thats ridiculous. I have days like that too, where people just keep calling and calling.

  2. Cell phones, like computers, and guns, and even food, are alike in the fact that they are not bad if used properly, it's people that abuse things and make them "bad".