At the start of this week, I got one of those swerncy calls from the army. A private (very low rank believe you me) on the other end of the set asked ‘Is this Raymond?’ I, shrieking from almost all my bones, tried to recall all the bad things I had done to the state before responding to that question.
In my head,I kept thinking what if I lied to him and yet they had tracked my kawaida phone and seen all the messages I had sent my landlord the previous day telling him to fix my sink or I’d slit his throat together with his son. Realising that the call might be an innocent one, I quietly whispered a yes hoping he would not hear it but go on with the conversation.
The Private, unbothered by my 15-20 second silence just went ahead to tell me that he had been ordered to call me by the Army spokesperson and let me know that I was needed to cover an army exercise happening in Bombo the following morning.
Bombo is the village of central Uganda. While there, you need to climb a tree to get access to the strongest network – MTN ofcourse! While up the tree, you will probably get a bar or two of network and instead of replying to the one necessary message, a flood of group whatsapp messages will buzz your phone for over 10 minutes.
But I digress, I let the private know that I would be hitching the ride prepared for me and two other security journalists and also told him to send my regards to the snobbish colonel of a spokesperson that didn’t personally make the call.
I quickly set out to look for a working internet solution for if I was to spend a day in that jungle, I needed to be ready to send atleast an instagram selfie when we get stuck in the middle of cross fire.
Now you need to know, jokes aside, that MTN has some real super cool 4G mifis, they are small, black and swanky like all good gadgets are. They come in only the small size and have some witches dancing inside them because there can be no other explanation for those internet speeds.
When I went to get myself one, I asked the guy at the MTN headquarters ‘Do they work in Luweero?’ He snobbishly pointed to a map at his back and said look at all the brown parts of the map, which were the entire map, “that’s where they work”. 4G, as you can indeed hear, is faster than 3G. 3G internet will download scandal’s episode 4 in 25 minutes, 4G on the other hand with a speed of 77MBs per second will stream that episode. The difference is in the speeds.
So when we journied down to Luweero, I had the confidence of a nerd as the van scaled further away from the city centre. A little after Kawempe, one journalist started his rant, the bars on his phone had been cut down to zero. Soon I was the only one in the van with an internet connection. I could even afford to post to instagram photos from the jungles when the soldiers welcomed us. Check them out here
If your boyfriend/girlfriend asks you what you gift you want for your birthday, I bet you an arm and a leg, MTN’s 4G mifi is worth it or atleast a 4G enabled handset and a 4G enabled simcard or else you won’t be able to use this crazily fast internet.
All the time we walked in the jungles as soldiers set off heavy explosives, I was on my phone whatsapping photos to my editor on each development.