Sunday, April 21, 2013


Twenty years ago we had no internet. Today, we can hardly live without it and we wonder, how on earth did we used to communicate anyway?

Even though we have internet now, which out in the bush is nothing short of a miracle, it is quite the effort to get and keep. For years we depended on a satellite dish that was hard-wired to a modem that was plugged into several other machines with a ridiculous number of cords that are wound and twisted around each other. No one really wants to risk unplugging and detangling the mess because it's such a mission to get hooked up and receiving signal properly again. 

Actually, this doesn't look bad. This was awhile ago. Now it's worse. Maybe I can get an updated photo...
One time during a thunderstorm, lightning struck the office and burnt out a few machines. It took us a month to replace the machines and get things reprogrammed and hooked up and in working order again. Like I said, when it's working, no one wants to mess with it.

Capturing signal. This took an entire day. :/
Recently though, we've been using more of Movitel's service. This is a company that uses fibre-optic cable and they've taken internet into regions of Mozambique no one would have dreamed would have internet a year ago.

Our movitel signal is ok from here, but not great which means that we get internet, but it's slow and comes in bursts. It doesn't take anyone out here long to figure out where the signal is best and we've discovered ours is no place less convenient that outside on the edge of the veranda. So when I really need to get something done and signal fades in and out and in again, I lug my computer, modem, and extension wire out onto the veranda. If it still isn't cooperative, I've found that standing on your tippy toes at the very edge gives a distinct advantage and ups transmission speeds. Or maybe I just think it's faster. Either way, it's not a strange sight to find me standing on the veranda at night holding a wired modem above my head.

One solution to this is to get Movitel to bring a line straight here to us rather than the closest tower which is down the river, around the bend, and across the valley from us. So Dwight has been settling contract details with a Mr. T. who sort of runs Movitel in this area. It's been interesting because Mr. T. is fluent in Vietnamese but not so much in English, and Dwight is fluent in English but speaks no Vietnamese. Let's just say there's a lot of repetition in their conversations, kind of like mine with Mr. B. (see previous post). So it's become a bit of a joke around here when we know Dwight is on the phone with Mr. T. and they're trying to understand each other. We hear lots of "Sorry, say again?" and "Sorry, I didn't understand." The other day apparently Dwight spent 2 hours at the Movitel office trying to finalize paperwork for our new system. When we wondered why it had taken so long there, he said, "Well, first, it took Mr. T. and I quite awhile trying to understand each other..." He didn't have to say another word. He couldn't anyway, we were all so busy laughing we couldn't hear him anymore.

Despite the difficulties though, it seems things got settled and signed. The line is cleared and the posts are in and ready for the cable to be strung. Hopefully, soon enough, my days of teetering on the edge of the veranda to get internet will be over.

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