My Email, My Camera, My Everything in Africa

Another post for the weekend.

A follow-up to my post last month on the use of cell phones in the Masai Mara …

I sent Timothy an N-series phone. I believe that it is the first of it's kind in the Masai Mara - or at least Timothy thinks so. He says that the phone is very "posch." You hear a lot of people talk about how the cell phone may be the only computing platform that folks in developing countries have to connect to the Internet.

With all of the talk of sub-$100 computers, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical.

Timothy has a computer with dial-up speed access via satellite.

Within a few days of getting his new phone (ok, he does have a CS degree), he was using it to send and receive emails. It's completely changing his life.

He's really converting me over to believing that this really may be "it" in countries like Kenya. The phone has so many advantages over the PC - can carry it with him (there aren't many safe places to leave valuables), doesn't need to be plugged in - can go for days without a charge, etc. It's the first time in his life that he has been able to generate his own digital media. It's very cool. Now we just need the sub-$100 multimedia, N-series phone. ;)

From Timothy"

"Thanks so much for the gifts you send me and the phone which is the first of its kind around. Thanks Tim"

"I must say thank you for the gift of the phone, I access email and send email quite faster and easily with phone even in the Masai Mara and in my house at no charge. I am really proud of it, Celtel the mobile provider has enable this. I wrote an email to you last night with the phone and will send it tonight. The phone is so nice and precious that my class has gone up even. It is so clear with network and has lots of memory. I even watch video on the big tv screen, I have learned how to use it so fast. You do not see such [phones] in the Masai Mara."

"Through my phone I was able to access your blog yesterday and so the updates, oh how thrilling it is to me to be able to access email so easily, so many people admire my phone and ask where they can buy, they are not so much in the market here in Kenya but I have a feeling nokia is going to bring such because the young population here is so interested in technology advancement. I am alright and now want to take a video of my local village at home with my parents and send you a cd of the same so you can see my family."

[An email sent from his phone - doesn't have a QWERTY keyboard]

"Dear julie,am in the hse n writing u an email frm my house with the phone to say thank you uery much 4 being my friend n 4 being kind n mindful 2 me,hav a gud eve n cal wen u get a chance, Best regards,tim"

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