Sunday, May 02, 2010

Unplugged

We received news this week from our Mozambican mission base saying that the local cell phone service was down. It was down because a fibre optic cable in the Indian Ocean "broke-down". How a fibre optic cable can "breakdown", in the middle of the ocean, under 30 meters of water, is beyond me. But apparently it happened. And as a result, communications in our part of the country were down. Off the grid, so to speak. Unplugged.

No one could conduct business transactions or make calls on their cell phones. Internet broadband functions came to a halt too, and fibre optic-dependent radio and TV stations simply went off the air. (Click for story)

You can imagine the implications for the mission. Banks off-line = $0.00, meaning 0 purchases and 0 fuel for work and electricity. Not good news when you are running schools, feeding programs, clinics, head office business, etc. Even cell phones didn't work. Thankfully, we use satellite internet service so the team at home was not entirely cut off from the rest of the world. Just nearly entirely so :S

They say it'll be 4 weeks til repairs can take place. So until then, we trust some backup approaches will kick in.

The thought of being unplugged makes me think about South African plugs. They have always been anathema (that's probably a bit strong) to me. You see, South Africa characteristically uses a huge 3 prong plug. It's so big that if it falls on your toe, it's sore. And finding a plug-in in many places where we stay, is like looking for a needle in a haystack. They're there, but not plentiful. And then, there are the appliances that come with the 2 small round plugs. If you have an appliance like that, you need an adapter that goes from 2 small round to 3 big round. And sometimes the fittings don't fit together at all, or sometimes they go together but then flop out of place when you let go of them. Or, if you have a north american standard plug: 2 flat. You need to adapt 2 flat to 3 large round, if possible. But often, it's easier to adapt 2 flat to 2 small round, then adapt that to 3 large round. And with that many adapters in a row, the potential for floppy fittings increases dramatically. And as the floppy factor rises, so rises the unplug factor. But there are solutions for that, like duct tape, or furniture that prop things just so, and the new fang dangled plugs they keep coming out with all the time that are supposed to solve all the mismatched plug woes. Oh, what fun :)

The plug in the photo above, I believe, represents the system in the UK? It's not south African 'cause it has 1 flat and 2 round rather than 3 rounds in the big plug. But anyway, you get the idea.




Yes, these sights are all common and part of the fabric of life in Africa.

Moving on, Just a few other news flashes:
Mount Horeb, the Brazil mission, has updated their website with news items, so you can pay a visit there if you'd like. Just click the American flag in the top right hand corner for a computer generated English version.

In Mozambique, despite the quiet type chaos brought about by the fibre optic cable incident, a short termer couple have arrived. First, Mike and Marie Eve and their little one were held up in Europe waiting for the volcanic ash to settle so they could continue on their trip. I'd say it's been an adventure so far!

There's been a bit of fun here on the home front as well. We're staying with my parents in BC right now, and since the house is bursting at the seams with the size of the family, Dwight and Russ are sleeping out in the motorhome which is parked in the garage.

They went to bed, the first night, but left the door unlocked by mistake. Now, this is little Salmon Arm. There is theft everywhere, granted, but...this doesn't even feature compared to most places. Anyway, in the middle of the night, some brave soul actually opened the garage door, then opened the motorhome door, and stole Dwight's backpack from inside. From there, the thief took his loot outside where he could have a good look at it. He then proceded to sort through it and placed everything that was non-cash into a plastic shopping bag which he then left laying on the curb by the road. (sorry, no picture of the actual bag). What he took was Dwight's laptop bag (not the laptop) plus the cash, most of which was in Mozambican Meticais. There is no possibility for exchanging the Met's for Canadian cash here, so....yeah. Considerate thief, but not such a smart one, as it turns out. We were very thankful though that he left the passport and plane tickets, etc. so nicely packed in a plastic bag for us to find later :)

Otherwise, it's been busy connecting with people and family and getting stuff done including finishing up the health manual so it can finally go to the printers. I have now entirely gone through both the English and Portuguese copies to make sure they are as much alike as possible and to ensure that the points and illustrations all line up as they should. There was some formatting work needed too, so our daughter, Amanda, took that on for me. Phew! My plan is to have it out of my hands and on its way to the printers, this week.

I'll close off with a few family shots here.

Me and Amanda

The whole family at church

And, that's it for this time. Almost didn't get a post done this week. Not that it would be a train smash if I didn't, of course. But I have my personal goals, you know. Things I need to do, and if I don't do them, then things just don't feel...plugged in. :)


2 comments:

ruth said...

Thanks for playing Telephone Pictionary with me ;)

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