The speed of Africa

Three members of Mark's African family standing by new roofing with lush greenery behind them.

Some things still amaze me. Two days ago, my friend Peter, from the village I lived in during the Peace Corps, had a teacher in the village contact me through WhatsApp. I couldn’t quite make out the gist of the messages, so I sent them to Andrew here, and he caught most of it. The tin roofing on Peter’s house had blown off and he needed to replace it.

I told him to find Allieu in Koidu, the provincial capital about 20 miles from the village. I thought Peter WAS in Koidu, or I never would have asked him to do this. I was a bit wary of the person contacting me, so I asked Allieu if he knew who he was. Turns out, he was a teacher in the village school – so Peter was calling me from my village, which was not possible in earlier days. Wow.

I wired money to Allieu the next day. He bought the roofing, got a vehicle, and took the roofing himself up the village. Then he sent me photos of him and Peter. So from Peter calling me to the roofing showing up in the village was just 2 days. I’m not sure it could have happened quicker than that here. This boggles my mind. I wonder what the technology advances are like to Paul, who is 91, and who has seen the invention of color TV and everything since.

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