BAGS OF MEAT.

Ever since that dreadful day,
A day won’t pass before the thought crossed my head,
I probably think more of it than I think of sex,
We all are nothing but just bags of meat,
That’s why the mind may want but the body is weak,
Bite yourself to feel it you’ll see,
I don’t un
derstand,

He was perfectly fine- just that he couldn’t breathe,
Tiny holes on his back and his head led him to sleep,
It’s not us in this form,
We could have been anything but we are who we are,
It never used to bother me, it’s weird now it does,
I just pray for that day when evil should reside not with us,
They crept up on my friend,
Trailed him in the dark,
Set up an attack,
Pierced through his heart,
Took nothing he got,

Sometimes I wonder how it feels,
To take a life that God Himself gave,
That God Himself made,
That God Himself saved,
That God so loved,
That His only son died for,
We’re just bags of meat,
We’re just pieces of flesh,
In this form as we know it,
In this form we are nothing!
In the soul we are something.

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HOW SAFARICOM ALMOST CONNED ME.

Safaricom is currently running an offer where you can receive unlimited internet access for 24 hours at Ksh 200. You top up your card with the amount and send a blank text to 555. After a moment you will receive a confirmation text message that goes; “You unlimited daily internet access request has been received. Ensure you disconnect and reconnect to start enjoying the service in 10 minutes.” I did send a blank text, this is the message I had received, I followed the instructions in it.

I was skeptical about this offer and more so now. To begin with, the offer was and is not good enough to me because I believe it can be cheaper but that’s another story. And the fact that the offer lasts for less than a month is just pathetic, I’m not sure when it began but I know it ends on the 5th of November. As to why I ended up taking the offer I don’t know but I most regret it. I think I was driven by euphoria seeing everyone activating their accounts for the service.

Usually I use my phone as a modem, not as fast as the Safaricom modem but it works just fine for me. I called Safaricom customer care to ask if I could still use my phone as a modem and still take advantage of their offer, the man on the other end said Safaricom does not mind what device I use, all they look at is my account. That made sense to me. There is no single day have I heard Safaricom or any other cell phone company restrict any of their products to, say, customers with Nokia handsets only. So I thought, I have plenty of downloading to do, maybe Ksh 200 shillings is worth it after all. That is when I did what I had to do, topped up and sent the text.

10 minutes later, I was on the internet with my phone modem. Ha-ha. I was down to do some major downloading! But they must have known or something. Safaricom hates me, I realized I was still being charged. I called Safaricom customer care (I called there so many times last night, they don’t even ask me my name anymore when I call. Sometimes they hang up on me while they kept me on hold!). I was instructed to switch off my phone and back on, then I would be good to go. I did that. Nothing happened. Okay something happened, I couldn’t log on to the internet even through my mobile phone browser, instead I got a message: Authorization failed. It stayed this way for 5 hours during which I could not get through to customer care, you know, number busy. And when I tried to sambaza the little credit I had in my account, it jammed! Like they really wanted the 41 bob I had remaining.

After the 5 hours, it goes through, customer care. They tell me- switch off your phone then switch it back on. I did that again, reluctantly. Walaa, internet was back… but they were still charging me. Customer care again, they say- we are looking to see what’s wrong and we will get back to you in 48 hours (Yes, they said they would get back to me. I asked again to make sure I heard right, will you actually call me? She began her sentence with “ If we don’t then just…”). 48 hours?! I had less than 20 hours to enjoy the unlimited internet access! I should have been mad with these people, I was but I tried as much as I could to keep my cool. They didn’t even know what was wrong themselves, they are just employees who pick up calls. They should be trained better, because when I called again later, I was told I could not get unlimited internet access because I was using my phone as a modem and I that I should use the Safaricom modem. Nice. I asked her if the first guy had lied to me and she said- we are sorry but that was a miscommunication. “What about my money?”
She blubbered something but she didn’t know the answer to that neither. These people don’t even understand the products of the company they are working for!

So now I’m sitting here mad as f*@#! Wishing Safaricom headquarters would burn to ashes! But don’t worry Michael Joseph, I’m still holding on to my Safaricom SIM card, but who knows for how long. One thing is for sure though, I’m never buying a Safaricom modem.

Note: He-he, just as I am completing to write this I get a message from Safaricom saying “Your unlimited daily internet access request has been successfully processed. Ensure you disconnect and reconnect to start enjoying the service.” They must really know! I decided to not withdraw from posting this for what they made me go through. But I have conveiniently added the word “almost” in the title of this post. Now, let me test to see if it is true what they are saying.

WHY DO WE NEED SEACOM ANYWAY?


It usually gets very tricky when it comes to technology here in Africa because most of the technology (if not all) that comes our way we but adopt, we do not develop. Therefore most of it was not designed to solve our problems as they are. What we do is try to take a piece of technology and try to make it relevant to us by trying to figure out how the technology that we receive can best suit us instead of analyzing a problem and developing a technology that is best suited to solve our African problems. Lucky enough, some problems we share with the West. And some problems in the West are not problems to us until the West solves it, then do we realize that things can be better. That’s how the internet, let alone fiber-optic is to us. We didn’t and still don’t comprehend to what extent this beautiful technology can be useful to our economic growth. We get to learn of its limits by watching the West use it but funny thing is that the limits keep shifting so rapidly it’s so confusing!

Moses Kemibaro wrote an article on his blog a while ago called ‘Now That SEACOM Is Live, what next?’ Read it here, it’s a nice piece. This question is very legitimate especially to us Africans in this region because this technology is coming to us relatively late. A huge proportion of us who could even get internet access either didn’t understand or didn’t know what to do with the internet as it were before SEACOM went live… that is if social networks and e-mails were removed from the picture. Now that it is live and its objective was to make the internet cheaper and faster and provide more bandwidth, which we might have not needed that much because we’d made ourselves comfortable with every aspect of the earlier connectivity except for the high prices, what next?! Mr. Kemibaro goes ahead to say in his article; The challenge for the [internet] market in Kenya will be to find useful and value adding applications of this overflowing bandwidth and make sense of the high speed cables. Right on point! And this value I presume, is monetary. It is all about economic growth and poverty alleviation when it comes to technology, otherwise what good is it? After all Governments and other organizations put in a lot of money to lay this magical cable under the sea all the way from South Africa, this goes to show that this cable must be of great importance to them. When the big guns put their money on something, they expect returns. So SEACOM must be big business. Question is; where will the money come from? But I digress.

Let’s focus on the benefits of wireless broadband, which is what SEACOM and other cable systems like EASSy are offering us. The most conspicuous or vocalized benefit is that of bandwidth pricing, it was even predicted that the prices would go down by 95%. Now that percentage is huge, I’d probably end up buying something I don’t need for 95% less its original price. Not by any means am I trying to insinuate that SEACOM is a bad thing, it is amazing! What bothers me is the fact that we didn’t even do much with the little we had in the first place. The internet is a powerful tool and I’m starting to doubt if as a country we will be able to handle its effects on our lifestyles and how we do things. In addition to cheaper bandwidth and faster internet consumers will also enjoy media-rich applications such as audio and video. This is quite something. Other benefits would include the opening of doors to global competition, cheaper telecoms costs would have positive effects on the economy and infrastructure and most of all promotion of innovation and stimulation development.

Sometimes I feel like Africa is being forced to walk the economic road at a faster pace than it can handle with these many technological advances. And we have no choice, we have to work hard just to embrace new technology. As much as the arrival of SEACOM created a lot of excitement in Africa (where most of the population still don’t have access to the internet), in the end it is going to be upon us to make it work for us. This is where we need to be creative and beat even the creators of the technology. We Africans do not have an excuse, we are probably the region which needs the internet the most. Whether or not we are going to use for pure entertainment and social networks is upon us.