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I gave in. I bought a Crackberry in Nairobi.

It was a good deal. It was old model, and so it was cheap (about half the price that you would find in the States). It was already unlocked, so I can use it when traveling in Africa. People in the shop told me that I would have to pay 2,000 shillings a month to activate the Blackberry browser and use the internet. Too bad they didn’t know that you can download a third party browser and use the really cheap pay-as-you-go internet instead. What a snag.

So now I have email on my phone 24/7. I didn’t want it at first, because it’s a bit of a leash. But, when it comes down to it, consistent internet access is rather important in my life. Being connected on my phone saves me the trouble of carrying my computer everywhere, and it lets me answer emails when stuck in ridiculous traffic jams in the morning and evening. In short, it makes my life infinitely more efficient, and efficiency can be hard to come by in eastern Africa.

The best thing about my Crackberry is that its reliable. While electricity and water may come and go, the cell phone networks in Kenya are stable. People skipped the landline phase of technology development; they rely on their mobile phones for communication. Competition between mobile networks is stiff. The big companies keep their service consistent to keep their customer count high. My phone could get a couple Safaricom bars in even the most remote villages. I don’t trust internet cafés to always have access, but I do trust the mobile networks and my shiny new Crackberry to keep me connected to the outside world.

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