Getting Internet in Rural Kenya

Wednesday, October 26, 2011  at 6:58 AM
Getting internet in rural Kenya is practically a full day event here on Rusinga island (in Kenya on Lake Victoria.  Today, I needed internet for two and a half hours for my tutoring job, so right after lunch Chris and I set off.  It was about a 90 minute walk to Mbita, the closest town with internet.  Since we had left after lunch, the sun was high and the road was very hot.  Due to deforestation, the island is very dry and the rainfall is much lower than what it used to be.  

walking to mbita kenya
The road to Mbita, Kenya
On the walk, children were constantly popping up; “Mzungu!  How are you?”  Our reply scarcely mattered for most kids, they just wanted a chance to gawk at the Mzungus.  

Once we arrived at the internet café (after the requisite stop to grab a thirty cent fresh mango juice), I pulled out our netbook, plugged everything in and away we went….for thirty minutes, at which point the entire town lost electricity.

woman carrying dishes on head Mbita kenya by Danalynn C
A woman walking near Mbita, carrying her cooking dishes on her head--almost all items are carried atop the head here, whether a sky-high pile of dishes, a bag of maize, or even jugs of water!

Chris and I hung out at the power-less internet café for the next hour—no one had any idea when the electricity would come back on.  We decided to concede defeat for the day and started on the walk back to our host’s house.  On our way out of town, we stopped for an avocado juice—yum!  As we were finishing, the shop lights flickered to life—guess the electricity decided to return!  Back to the internet café to finish my scheduled tutoring work.

Between the electricity being out and the excruciatingly slow internet connection (watching my work being uploaded bit by bit, only to time out again and again, was a painful process), it wasn’t until 7:30 that evening that Chris and I finished everything for the day.  The sun had already gone down (since we were practically on the equator, the sun set around 6:00 every day all year round), so we grabbed a boda boda motorcycle to head back to our mud hut.  A rather successful internet day!

donkey kenya by Danalynn C
One of the many donkeys used as work animals in Kenya--this one was enjoying a much-deserved break.
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