|Matlabe juggling two cell phones|
at the bus station in Maseru
Last year, I bought a cell phone for our project leader, Matlabe Teba, that could be used to access the internet and send and receive emails, using those weak cell phone signals. I used the phone almost daily while I was in the village to check my email.
Unfortunately, I hogged the phone and didn't spend much time working with Matlabe to teach him how to use it. My bad. After I left, he ran into problems with the phone and didn't know how to resolve them.
He sought help from several people, but nobody seemed able to fix it, so we continued to have no email contact directly from the school. To make matters worse, the clinic where he used to go to get on the internet, which is a long hike away, lost its signal. The only way he could email us was to make a 2-day trek to an internet cafe in the district capitol, Mohale's Hoek, or Lesotho's capital, Maseru.
We had about given up hope of ever establishing good email contact when, a few weeks back, we started getting multiple emails from Matlabe that were being sent from the school and his home.
It has been wonderful to carry on real-time back-and-forth conversations with him via email, to get timely answers to questions, and to be able to relay important information back and forth. This is a huge breakthrough and is going to make our work so much easier now.
Better still, Matlabe seems to really enjoy these exchanges. He has been sending multiple emails to me and to several of our volunteers. He has even started teaching Sesotho via email to one of our directors.