Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bongo Series: Cell Phone Effect...(2)

As I had mentioned in one of my previous posts, cell phones have transformed the way people communicated and conduct a myriad of affairs in Tanzania. In addition to ability of folks to arrange with cab drivers on pickup and drop-off times, there are plenty of many other ways.

I landed in Tarime from Nairobi around 6/7am in the morning. Surprisingly, some traders in the local market near the bus stand had already opened up their stalls. As I wanted to take with me some items that I presumed my mom wanted, I simply called Shirati and my sister gave me the shopping list!

As insignificant as that could sound to some, that is a major shift from the old ways. Seriously, I could have gone all the way to Shirati unaware of what my family needed. I found myself appreciating the availability of cell phones in Tanzania. And I am sure the experience is the same for most developing countries.

I later learned that even traders in the outlying areas like Shirati who typically buy wholesale items from Mwanza do not make a trip unless they have called and verified the availability of goods. In some cases, traders don’t even travel. They simply call in, place their order, and arrange for bus services to deliver. Talking about efficiency? I believe that is it.

Despite all the good cell phones have brought along, my mother thinks cell phones are evil. She claims cell phones have increased marital affairs. I kind of smiled at that and negated my mother’s premise.

I can understand where my mom is coming from. But her argument is similar to the argument that folks tend to make about money. For instance, some would argue that money turns folks into liquor heads. Well, my argument is that money elevates your true nature. If one has a charitable spirit, the more money they get, the more they give. Likewise, if a drunkard has no money, they won’t drink. The more money they get, the more money there is for drinking.

I could be flawed somewhere in there, but that’s what I see.

With regards to cell phones, I believe they don’t turn anyone into a player. I heard of underground stories about cheating husbands and wives in Shirati before cell phones hit the airwaves. In a nutshell, a sneak is a sneak, cell phone or no cell phone.

If there is any negative I see in cell phones, is that they have caused in a shift in priorities. I mean, you I saw see folks with a $300 handset, while struggling to buy vouchers. I guess some people find status symbols in strange places.

Did I mention the fact that Celtel, Tigo, Vodacom and Zantel are killing Tanzanians? Try “talking” on a $10 voucher and see….
Credit credit: Food For Thought


Anonymous said...

Metty, mimi ni msomaji wa blog yako wa kila siku. Thank you very much for giving us different veiw points. Leo nimeona hii article kwenye IPPMEDIA and I almost swear you wrote it. Please read it. See the URL below. Regarding Zimbabwe.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 2:01PM
I have read Dr. Temu's articles before and for the most part I think he is one of the few who deserves their doctorate. With regards to this article particular article, I think he was just diplomatically lamenting about his brothers who are blindsided by the whole Pan-Africanism idiologies.

Does echo what I do write on this blog? Absolutely. Kama mabadiliko yatakuja Afrika, naamini ni lazima yaanzie kwenye fikra. Thus far, kuna upupu mtupu (generally speaking) left and right. That's my opinion.