Yeah, we back!
Not having either blog or email server right over my birthday weekend was good practise in acceptance and patience for me. And even as it was I texted Prof Mungbean and asked him to call the Phreaki Boi in CA who runs my server to see what is wrong. I still dont know what was wrong, but said Phreaki has his email on the same machine so there wasnt even any way to email him. So I have had a few more texts than usual, but otherwise been making do with less contact.
My appologies to those of you who tried to get in touch, I guess my email was bounching because the server that receives it was down, not just the one I read it from (its the same machine in fact). Most of the other volunteers I know — I met up with a bunch of them on my birthday as you’ll hear soon — rush off to the nearest cybercafe as soon as they get near a town, to pay Ksh 2/minute (sometimes 1 but 2 is common too) to access clockwork internet connections. I am **so** lucky that the college has internet. And I’m not paying extra for it. I could: they have public access via the library in the afternoons and they charge Ksh 1 /min for it. I could restrict my personal internet use to visits to the library and pay a fair rate. I won’t, however. But I am having to deal with the implicit double standard. I’m taking advantage of my position. Just in the same way that many in this country alledgedly do. Im screwing the system like them (whoever they are). I like to remind myself of it from time to time. Perhaps my guilty consience will get the better of me and I will start saving a flat rate per month to use with the Swingbunch collection money when the time comes. Meanwhile Im just keeping it in mind: experiencing corruption first hand.
Speaking of the local system: I got a birthday card from Penny who says (by text) she sent it “AGES ago to make sure it arrived on time“. I got it yesterday (monday). So post officially takes “AGES“. There was also a parcel from someone… I have seen it but not collected it yet. The manifest says it contains a game and CDs. I’m excited! But it was opened by customs who have made an estimate of its value and want Ksh 720 (about, what… 5 or 6 quid?) duty. Now I’m supposed to be exempt from duty for the first three months in the country but, as the lady in Tala post office pointed out, the customs officers dont know who I am or how long I’ve been here. So I’m off to Nairobi with my Vounter ID card, probably tomorrow morning, to introduce myself to them and, hopefully, get a chitty exempting me from duty on the package at Tala post office. Apaprently since it was posted as registered post they will not charge me for keeping it at the post office, which they would for normal parcel post if I didn’t collect it within 7 days. So I hope I can get it for free, or for just the Ksh 67 fee for ‘presentation to the customs officer’ after tomorrow. Its great fun figuring this stuff out, and also exciting to know I have a parcel “on the way” with cool stuff in!
I’ll tell you the story of my birhday weekend in a while. First I have to catch up with some email!