Mwanza is actually quite connected. There is a relable if slower connection to the outside world here.
Yes it takes a few hours to download an episode of Dr Who and a movie might need to be downloaded overnight but it can be done. It’s even possible at times to stream live TV here with a little buffering and we can make FaceTime calls with little disruption (Skype has been a little more problematic but not impossibly so!).
Here in Mwanza we tend to communicate on our 3G connection rather than a fixed line rental which is much more expensive – our phone signal is more reliable and faster than the other options.
Catching up on news or sport (formally via News /Sports apps) or friends /family ( informally via Social Media / What’s App /Text) is a doddle most of the time. Writing and posting the blog has been straight forward.
All of the above is true until you leave Mwanza. As we have traveled in recent months we have realised that outside of the big towns connectivity drops fast. Our recent trip to Kigoma is an example. Once out into rural Tanzania ythere is no connectivity for hundreds of kilometers – once in town the connection is good but over a very limited area.
This was certainly true of Kigoma last week. Our base at Jakobsen’s Beach was internet free throughout. My blog posts and general connectivity were limited to the trips to town and actually it was quite refreshing.
I tmrealise how much time I spend connecting (formally and informally) – out here in the ‘wilds of Africa’ it has been good to remain connected to the UK to keep a small part of the UK here in Tanzania, but for a week we were disconnected for much of the time and able to enjoy unencumbered the beauty of our surroundings, the wildlife, the tranquility. We played card games, talked more and relaxed on the beach. Digital devices were strictly stand alone.
Reading a book (ibook)
As a connected person I found it strange not to know what was going on elsewhere at first but actually quite liberating too.
Perhaps we all need to be more disconnected for a time.
T Minus 82
I am fairly attached to my mobile phone. I am using it now to write this post. I use it a lot when not at work. At work I am surrounded by computers and as an ICT Teacher it is very much a part of my working day. At home we have a fast broadband connection – so the only challenge in terms of connectivity is when I’m out and about. Much of the time I’m driving do it’s not an issue.
This week in Cornwall we have been travelling a lot exploring the area. It has been much harder to find a reliable signal as we have travelled – making navigation difficult (if the phone can’t get a signal it does not know where you are and so how to get you to where you are going).
The UK has patchy connectivity, 3G is very transient and often you need to rely on Edge (I am using that now) or GPRS (both of which are inferior technologies). Then suddenly everything is gone – no signal.
The other use of the phone is Social Media. Facebook, Twitter and of course WordPress :-). I like to keep in touch with the world through Social Media and this, I think, will be really important when we travel to Mwanza in Tanzania. It has been much harder to do this in the week – relying on the infrequent connections and the occasional WiFi hotspot. We were staying in a Travel Inn with WiFi which helped though speeds were lower than usual.
In spite of all this it has still been possible to connect, even if patchily.
Going to Africa is going to be a challenge on the connectivity front. Network speeds are going to be much slower. I will still have a computer at work and we hope to get a home network – but will have to get used to slower speeds. It is probably the mobile phone network that will be the challenge. Not only the speed but the ability to walk around holding an iPhone in my hand will obviously restrict usage. I doubt that I will be able to blog daily as I am at the moment. It will be a change of habit, a different way of doing things. It will be good for me too! Perhaps mobile technology has been too easy, too addictive. If a few days in Cornwall have taught me anything, it is that you can be disconnected and fine!
Posted in Africa, Getting out, Getting Prepared, Mwanza, Tanzania, Tanzanian living, UK Living
Tagged 3G, connectivity, Cornwall, GPRS, iPhone, Mwanza, network, Tanzania