Healthy Soul

Getting mobile internet access in Monrovia

An avid reader never misses an opportunity to visit a book store, but today’s trip to the Longman Liberia bookstore on Camp Johnson Road to learn about books by Liberian authors, had to be postponed. Getting to EcoBank and Lone Star took priority. I anticipated long waits at each place.

My per diem was paid today, by cheque. No, I have not misspelled the word. I was surprised to find out that despite close ties to the USA the Liberian banking system borrows its terminology from the British. For example, a checking account is called a current account, and that paper substituting for cash is called a cheque. So, to cash my cheque I went to the bank.

Vendors encourage passersby to take a coconut water break and quench their thirst.

Vendors encourage passersby to take a coconut water break and quench their thirst.

The first of three steps is to go to the “platform” to have the cheque verified. Second, go to the person at the copy machine who will photocopy your cheque and identification, staple them together so you can then complete step three at the teller. The country advertises living green, but I’m thinking the use of a scanner and a computer would definitely result in a massive reduction in paper usage, the cost of ink, and possible delays when the copier malfunctions.

Yellow taxis ply the streets of Monrovia. City buses are extremely rare.

Yellow taxis ply the streets of Monrovia. City buses are extremely rare.

Next stop was Lone Star, the cell phone company. Getting there was easier today because I am now schooled in the Liberian ways of travel. I scanned upcoming taxis for speed. If they are full but slowing down it means someone is getting out. I positioned myself directly by the back door and yes, slid in as soon as the person came out. My task with Lone Star was to get the modifications done so that I could access the internet and email on my now-opened Blackberry from the USA.

The representative who helped me explained they do not offer Blackberry service. Offered is access to the internet and e-mail on the phone. As soon as I tried it out I understood the difference. Every field had to be typed in. The system does not hold onto previously searched sites. Email addresses are not populated from the address book and each field inputted has to be “okayed” in order to move onto the next step.

The Lone Star cell phone company was recommended as the only company in Liberia offering mobile internet and email access.

The Lone Star cell phone company was recommended as the only company in Liberia offering mobile internet and email access.

Benefits? The pan-African fibre optic telecommunications system, begun in the 1990’s, excluded Liberia until last November, because of the civil wars, so internet connections are not always stable and are usually slow. In spite of the few extra key strokes, internet access on the cell phone ensures I’m connected to the world outside of Liberia even when my laptop says “website not available”.

Today was a great day. Missions accomplished.

How about you? What items are now being crossed off your lists?

 

2 Comments

  1. I resolve to paint at least two paintings a month. My secret goal is to paint a painting a week ( would love to do one a day but life does get in the way!). Thanks for your warm and sincere compliments re the pieces you have seen. I am a neophyte Jen and have a lot to learn and need to build up a solid body of work ( AJ Boots Brown suggested at least 20 solid pieces) before attempting to open up to public. Also they are so hard to part with…it’s like you pour your heart and soul into the canvas and when a portrait, or whatever speaks to you in the canvas, comes alive it is a living part of you …well at least for me it is! Anyway I am enjoying your blog so much. Please do let me know about the art you encounter there when you do get a chance. You should seriously think about a book out of this experience as well. Safe travels, great journey!

    • Hey Van – Your works do reflect your heart and soul so I can understand the reluctance to part with them. My friend Freda is 73 and she just opened her first art gallery after painting for years. She only gifted her work to family and close friends from many years and just began selling about 2 or 3 years ago. One sad impact of the war is the total destruction of the arts. I went to the National Museum and was told it just a mere reflection of what it used to be. They do have some paintings there so I’ll go back and let you know what I learn. A book? Now that’s an interesting idea. We’ll see.

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