So I thought I would share this little snippet with you while I lie here currently feeling very sorry for myself under a mountain of tissues. Yep, the obligatory cold, or as it is classified here ‘ The Flu,’ has followed me back to Beira from my recent visit back to Blighty; a wonderful leaving present from my beautiful nephew!
While I was back in my UK home visiting friends and family, I started to notice I was having a lot of ‘mind blown’ moments or ‘shut the front door’ explosions of utter astonishment at the many technological advancements that I had obviously totally missed the boat on. I was getting the increasing feeling that I had been living in Africa for too long (6 and a bit years in total; 3 years in Zimbabwe and 3 and bit in Mozambique).
The first of these came when I discovered the wonders of Smart TVs. Yes, I have heard of these awesome things before, I am not a complete technophobe, but I hadn’t taken a second thought about them. What with our painfully slow and unreliable internet connections that decide to cut in and out whenever they fancy, and surging electricity that enjoys frying all of our appliances, they were categorized in my brain as ‘Not for Africa.’ So when I was confronted with one in the flesh, I have to admit, I was in awe! The ability to find all of my toddler’s favorite TV programs, and have them downloaded at lightning speed at the touch of a button, saved me from many a ” Peppppppa Piiiiig” melt down often brought on by the dreaded YouTube buffering hell of slow internet speed.
The next came when I was out having dinner with my old work colleagues. I was standing at the bar waiting to be served when the man in front of me, wait for it, paid for his pint with his phone!!! Can you believe it!! I just stood there mouth open in utter astonishment! Here in Beira, we breathe a sigh of relief when the card machine gets a signal, and the payment goes through! So to think you can just tap the card machine with your phone or card, and poof payment made! Unreal!! My friends I think were at the same level of astonishment as me but, with the fact that we did not have such witchcraft back in Africa.
The last jaw dropping experience jumped out at me while I was driving behind a regular town service bus in Chelmsford. It casually had written on the back “Free wi-fi and USB charging on board.” I was staring at this in amazement thinking…….but why? Are people so attached to their electronic devices that they can’t even enjoy a quick 20-minute bus ride without getting their Instagram or Facebook kick?
So all of these little instances of wonder got me thinking about why I hadn’t known about these things until now? I believe the answer stems from what I often tell people when they ask me, why do I like living in a place like Beira? Simplicity. The simple life, life stripped down to the raw fundamentals of actually living, experiencing the world around you with all of your senses and not through an electronic device of some sort. I don’t need this technology in my life, so I don’t see it, I have learned to live life without ‘stuff.’ Don’t get me wrong, it is very nice to indulge in a yearly online shop back in the UK and abuse my Amazon Prime account, but generally, I can live without it.
Africa makes me feel alive and grateful for life every day. That is why I love it.