Thursday, December 4, 2014

Out of the Loop

When you think of Peace Corps you think of living out in the bush, no water, electricity or contact with the outside world. We have been very fortunate to have things we did not expect. One of which being communication. Our town has amazing cell and internet coverage to be in the middle of nowhere and this has made staying in contact with friends and family back home very easy. It has come to the point where they expect to hear from us every so often, so when they don't......they being to worry.

This past weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving in Fort Portal and headed back home Sunday morning. We noticed as we moved closer to home that our network was going in and out more than normal. By the time we reached home, one line was completely down. Let's take a moment to explain phone service in Uganda. There are three main service providers: Orange, MTN and Airtel/Warid. Unlike what commonly happens with most providers in the U.S., you do not need to sign a contract. Instead, you simply go to one of the stores or authorized dealers, buy a sim card, register it and have service . Most phones are dual sim phones so you can have two different providers on one phone. Anyways, you buy airtime (they come on little strips of paper with scratch off codes) and you load it onto your phone or have an agent apply it directly to your line. Easy enough. Getting service in Uganda is very simple. Well back to Sunday, when we arrived home our Orange (which is our line for internet and international calls) was not working. This happens occasionally but usually will be up and working within a few hours. Well, come Tuesday it was still not working, so we decided to by a new MTN line for Internet since the line had been somewhat stable to make calls every so often. No joke, as soon as we bought the sim card, MTN went down as well. Wednesday afternoon our co-workers informed us Airtel/Warid was going in and out. 

So, here we are, no contact, this is what everyone expects Peace Corps to be like. No way to get a hold of anyone, and better yet the rains came through and made the roads almost impassable. Hope we don;t need to go anywhere in a hurry. Well, magically as Ashley was joking about being isolated from the rest of the world with her co-workers.....all the services have returned. So a few days with almost no contact, only little bits of calls going through, we have experienced life with no internet and calls. For those volunteers who have/or are spending their entire service this way, props to you. So what happens when people are use to hearing from you and all of a sudden don't?

They send out a search party.....a joke......
We survived, WE ARE OK MOMS! can call in the search parties now.

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