Tom Fordyce’s hilarious written commentary is interspersed with contributions via text message and email from around the world: so far today we have had (mainly Brits) from Brighton, Dublin, Napa Valley, Charlotte (North Carolina), yachts off Lopud (Croatia) and Turkey, Kalkaringi (Northern Territories), Sydney, Cornwall, Connecticut, New York and of course, Kafanchan (Nigeria).
Max, offshore Angola, TMS inbox: "I'm on a survey vessel and there is only one Aussie on the ship but he doesn't follow cricket. I feel cheated."
From Cicely, Nigeria, TMS inbox: "To Max in Angola - at least you've got one. Here in Kafanchan, centre of Nigeria, we haven't seen an Australian for months. However I have overawed my cashier colleague at work, who (like the majority of people here) has never been online, by showing him how you can have live scores from a match (he'd never heard of cricket), online voting (clearly an extremely optimistic online audience) and comments from someone in the middle of the ocean, via the power of the internet."
From Jeff Robbins in Melbourne, TMS inbox: "Re Cicely, Nigeria - I don't believe the claim that your cashier colleague has not been online before. I have several emails from him telling me that I can make a fortune if I only send my bank details to him immediately."
As the local ISP, Fantsuam has fantastic internet service which enables us to connect with just about anyone anywhere around the world, at any time. Last Wednesday we had an online Skype meeting with participants in Buenos Aires, London and Kafanchan and Abuja. The Abuja contribution was from a colleague sent there to represent Fantsuam at a Digital Bridge Institute conference from where he was online via wireless access.
On arrival at the Abuja conference, my colleague discovered that Fantsuam was really to be the star of the show. This small-ish NGO in the rural (or as we say – peri-urban) backwater of Bayan Loco, Kafanchan – making ripples on the Nigerian and international stages. I reckon if we had to put this success down to one thing – it would be the decision taken early on to invest in ICT and to keep up that investment over the years.
Our next step is to harness ICT to really drive economic development in the communities that we work in. We have recently scored several successes: our computer school’s reputation has students coming from over 30km away to enrol for bulging classes. We are now running Computer Certificate Classes from 8.00 in the morning until 8.00 in the evening. One of our ISP ‘cyber cafe’ clients has just applied for a microfinance loan to fund opening a second internet cafe and soon we will be setting up a satellite training school and cyber cafe in nearby Ungwa Rimi.
However, with the exception of the money Fantsuam's cyber cafe clients are making, it’s difficult to see how ICT is actually bringing $$$ into the community. We are now looking to change all that by using the internet, mobile phones and possibly radio to help the local markets work more efficiently. I’ll let you know how we get on!
More importantly as Ian Walker in Douala, Cameroon lets us all know that he is: "Putting off my crocodile with termite sauce dinner, stuck to the cricket text updates. The hunger for an Australian defeat is greater”, another wicket falls and Australia 120/4 chasing 500 and something.
I wonder if Fantsuam’s hotspot wireless access extends anywhere nearby serving beer?