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A Few Months Ago

A Few Months Ago

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Published by binyavangaw

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Published by: binyavangaw on Sep 04, 2012
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9/3/2012 11:48:00 PM
A few months ago, I burnt my Safaricom modem. It was a Friday. Ihad stayed up late on Thursday with a big deadline that needed me tobe online. For months, my unlimited data bundle had been stopping,starting, vanishing, lying, pretending and generally behaving like aSub-Chief during the late Moi years. When they stopped unlimitedinternet, I bought enough data under the promise made by BobCollymore (the parallel president of Kenya, and the Vice President of the Twitterverse of Kenya) that the system would no longer beoverwhelmed. I like to know I am connected, and have been a hugebuyer of bandwidth, first from CELTEL, and later from Safaricom. Zukuand AccessKenya are not available in my area. Orange has no networkthat works near Bomas of Kenya.At 1 am Thursday, I gave up. It felt like I was using a 1980s dialup. Idecided to sleep, wake up at 4 am, and hope that there was lowerusage at the time. 5 am, hiccup, hiccup, disconnect, hiccup, connect,hiccup, disconnect, hiccup, hiccup, hiccup, you are connected! No
itseems as if you are connected. You are actually not surfing. 6 am. Ihave not had five minutes of continuous connection. Call customercare. No, the network is working fine. Fine. The problem suggested, itmust be you. Can I help you to use our modem better? Do you want tobuy the faster one. What is your location No, sir we have had noconnection pr
oblems over the past few months? No sir, I can’t lie, I
work for safaricom. Lying is for humans. How can the air lie? Our 4gnetwork is utterly Ultramodern, it is Megawatti, Mwenyenchi, It ismassed choir on the mountain. It is, sir, standing with you and all of Kenya, on top of the mountain with a flag and the Great Rift Valley,and the wildebeest migration. It is, at present, touring a slum with BobCollymore, it is Hip Hip Huwei. No sir, the hiccups are probably yourbad vibes affecting the system, if you submit, assume YOUR error indoubting us, and stop shouting, the rivers of data will flow. Please sir,I am not Customer Service! Nooo. That would assume the customerhas an issue to service. That the customer has some idea what he is
doing, what he needs, and needs assistance to get value for hismoney. That I, Binyavanga, am fully equal to safaricom because Ibought something that promised something and the promises haverepeatedly been broken. That not once, ever, has a text come to myphone saying (we are unable for the next few hours, to SUPPLY WHATYOU BOUGHT). WE WERE UNABLE to provide the bandwidth youbought from us for three months. No Sir. No, no sir, that is NOTstealing. We know, sir, you see, that we govern a territory very verylarge. It is around you like air. Every time you turn, you breathe us in,and we take a little of you. We sir, are inevitable. We are situatedthere near where all the water you all drink, the milk you buy, thearoma of the children you love, the half loaf you chew absent-mindedly. Our product actually manages to move through your body,into your nostrils, through your walls and it is fully operational in thatlittle pool of water underneath your bum while you poo. We are not amere product you can talk to. So, sir, I work for Customer Care, notCustomer Service
nothing of ours needs servicing. I just am. BecauseI just am, like God, and cannot be shaken by your irregular andpeculiar needs we hire people for Customer Care who sometimes fixproblems, but mostly soothe the flawed human beings who need ritualclicks of empathy to cool down and submit to our power. So, MrBinyavanga, somebody, someday, one of ours will call you back,maybe even later today, if you are lucky. I hope you are not in thetoilet when they call, if you miss the call you will have to wait untilMonday, or even forget it). We suspect that u know, and we mostcertainly know, you have nowhere else to go, and we have nothing buttime and truckloads of money, and a choir of two. If you scream, veryloudly on twitter, and will not be soothed, we will just rush and build athousand toilets in the slum, or a sponsor a sweating tusker beer withnice hips and dreadlocks that will stand nervously and realityteeveeleyon stage and sms all Kenyans silly tender nothings
as he sings, I’m
every Human
, Niko na saaaafcom…
.At six PM, I burnt my modem.
I decided to at least enjoy my Friday, tweeting savagely. Safaricomwas mostly unmoved. Ha. Then, in the afternoon at 3, when the stuff started spreading,
somebody called George called wanting to ‘solve myproblem’. I told
him I had no problem, what I had was a cheap lighterand a video camera. George purred and rubbed my legs like a cat overthe phone, and clicked my toes and smoothed my brow, and said, tellme your pain, how can I take it away. I wanted to hang up, he purred.
Then he said, ‘please don’t burn the modem, we can talk, we can dosomething…’ 
. That threw me off. I had been hypnotized for a minute,and in truth was really really tired and stressed, deadline missed,money lost. I was about to capitulate, take a nap, buy a beer. But thatnew tone sounded familiar, it
was the ‘sponsorship voice’.
The r u open
for a ‘muhongo’ tone I
know so well. `What do you mean? I askedsharply. We are good people, he purred, and we are flexible. We
are….heeeem….open…… to….heeeem…. talking….
 NGAI. Yaani, yaani, maybe, I imagine..they will say, we will give youtwo days in Nanyuki where you will attend the renaming of MountKenya to Mount Safcom, and you will stand with the choir and brand-build yourself as you sing Niko Na Safaricom, and then we will giveyou a per diem and 30k. Maybe they will say. In fact, we have it ongood authority that Bob Collymore himselluf will follow u on twitter andcommit to retweeting you fourteen times over twenty-five days. Theywill invite you to the Sfaricom Young leadership Initiative Challenge.They will open a platinum sms service for you, where you with receivefour free songs, and 3,000 bongapoints. I am sure he will say
something like…Just don’t speak the truth. Lets network and
brandbuild together. For Kenya. I am sure he will shed a tear as he
says this, Keeenya. But. I think to myself. But…I can’t even fuck
ingnetwork you fuckers.I hang up.I burnt my modem.

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