The wonders of new technology in Sudan

Img_4014 Posted by David Gough on Fri, 12 Feb 2010 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Earlier today, John Spens phoned me from his satellite phone to my UK mobile, I hesitated whether I should accept the call or not, simply because of the huge cost of the call. I’m now glad I did, it was an urgent emergency.

“Hi David, it’s John Spens here, sorry for bothering you but I’ve broken down 2 hours out of Yei on the Maridi road and I cannot contact Poppy”, he declared. John had been driving to visit Mukpara Primary School, one of the schools being built in Yei Diocese with support BSF and which he is project managing. Mukpara is in Embe Archdeaconry to the extreme north of Yei Diocese and a days drive away.

“Can you please contact Poppy and ask her to send Menna the mechanic, out to help fix the vehicle. I think it’s the fuel problem we had on the long journey from Arua recently,” he explained.

I tried to phone Poppy without success, she has several mobiles, as it’s cheaper to have one for each operator rather than make cross-network calls, so it takes a while. Then I text her on the various mobiles and finally I emailed her. John then phoned ne back for an update, I explained what I had done so far. “Try emailing Wendy, she may pick it up quicker than Poppy,” John suggested. Wendy is the Assistant Project Manager for the BSF project, working with the Spens. He then asked me to let him know if I got through. Unfortunately, I had not been successful despite phoning, texting and emailing several people and numbers.

I then tried phoning Poppy again using Skype from my computer and got through on the second number I called. “I got your message and Menna is on his way now,” she declared. I asked Poppy to phone John from Yei rather than me phone from home. Within a few minutes she phoned me back to say she could not get through to the Sat phone from a Sudan mobile. I immediately tried texting the following message to John on the Sat phone – “Let me know if u get this. I’m @ home & can’t phone from here. Poppy had got message Menna already on his way. DG” Within minutes I received this reply from John, YES GOT MESSAGE THANKS and a few minutes later HELP IS ON THE WAY THANKS FOR CONTACTING POPPY

The emergency was averted, help was on the way and hopefully John can complete his journey today at least to Mukpara. It’s all in a days work for a CMS Ireland RMP, but I was certainly relieved when the emergency was over. The wonder of modern technology – this is one time I praised God for mobile phones, texting, satellite phones, Skype, computers and email and of course a little bit of common sense saved the day.