Easier to Call Home From Kenya

(June 22, 2016)

Travelling to the developing world always reminds me what Canadians take for granted is a luxury elsewhere.

Three weeks in Kenya reminded me clean water and the infrastructure to deliver it are a primary responsibility of government. Flickering lights and frequent blackouts make ensuring reliable electricity just as important.

I even found myself thinking fondly of stop signs, traffic lights and people directing traffic. In Nairobi, traffic is an organic flow of intuitive manoeuvring by instinct rather than by rule, slowed to a manageable pace only by volume, potholes and speed bumps. Traffic lights and traffic cops wreak havoc instead of imposing order, and I was happy to let someone else drive.

It is no surprise the developing world is developing. What we need to remember is the things — in our stop-lighted, well-watered and electrified world — we can learn from people who live in places such as Kenya.

Take cellphones. Here we fuss that MTS is being bought out by Ma Bell and so our rates will go up, though the network will not improve. I would be first in line to buy shares if only MTS (and Bell) could be taken over by Safaricom, Kenya’s main mobile telephone company.

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