So, what is culture anyways. This is not a dictionary definition, but it is the way you do or go about life. So, one of our experiences since we arrived in Senegal was to get a telephone and internet setup here at the house. I thought I would tell you a bit about our experience to kind of bring you along for the “ride”.
Our gracious host, Jerome, took me down to the Sonatel/Orange office to order internet. I had heard tell that internet could take a month to get setup, but was trying to be more optimistic. 🙂 We went into the office and pulled our number. It was a very nice air conditioned office, so waiting in “line” was a pleasure. We met with one of the clerks to get our order setup so we could go pay and then await installation.
We made our selection of modem, speed, phone contract for the landline etc. Then we found out that the pairs had to be verified before we could pay and have things installed. When the pairs were verified we were to receive a call letting us know to come and pay. A few days later I saw a Sonatel technician outside my house and went out to talk with him. It turns out he was here to fix a problem at the neighbors, but he gave me his number and told me to call him the next day. I tried calling him and even spoke with him several times, but did not end up being able to get the pairs verified by him.
During this waiting period, probably after a week I was talking to a young man who works in the boutique next to our house. He was reading a book about computers when I entered the store. We talked some about that and he said he was interested in learning about computers etc. I told him that I am trained in computers etc. During our conversation I found out that he has internet and WIFI and was willing to allow us to connect. We are so thankful for that connection with the young man at the boutique as well as the connection to the web during that time. We found it was hard to connect from our house, but it was a blessing none the less.
We waited a few more days, then I went back down to the office to see what was up. I saw the same lady and she looked into things for me. The pairs had not been verified yet, but she thought they could be by Tuesday and said she would manage the process to help it happen quickly.
I got a call one or two days later that I could come down and make my payment, wohoo!!!! I will tell more about getting there and back in another post, Getting around Town.
I went down, made my payment and received my modem and telephone handset I had ordered. They were to come within 5 days if I remember right, maybe it was 2 or three. Anyhow, the technicians came out about 2 days later and connected the phone line. The phone was working later that same day and they gave me a number to call to setup internet connectivity.
I called the number and they told me to be patient, that my account had not be activated yet, please wait two days from when the phone line was installed for activation. So, I waited two days, this time I was told that it was still not active and to be patient, they had up to 15 days from my order (which they sited as the day I paid) to activate my account, but they would put in a request to speed it up and that I should check back in two days. I checked back and still nothing, and again about the 15 days. I am not certain how many different times I called, but it was pretty often trying to get my account active.
I called and said I was going to need to cancel my account if I could not get it activated etc etc. They said, no, it’s not the time to do that, we will get it active. They made and “urgent request” for my account to be activated. I also started using the date I first when down to the office during one of my calls and said, it had been 20 days since then. So, in the end our internet is active. In our mind this is not how I wanted things to go, but you know, it really is just different, things work differently here and we are on a journey of discovering what that means for us in everyday life.