Thursday, March 10, 2016


Some people say they are unlucky in life; others unlucky in love. Myself, I am unlucky in phones. 

Both my mother and my mother’s mother had careers as telephone operators --long before cell phones, when Ma Bell was still a monopoly, back when phone numbers had quaint names like “Klondike 3477” and a switchboard actually involved switching a wild tangle of lines manually from one plug to another on a huge board.  

Despite the fact that I must have inherited some of those clever genes, I hate phones. And they know it. They snicker when they see me coming. Several months ago I purchased a basic phone in Haiti specifically for travel. I used it while visiting MBB projects there.  When I reached Nairobi en route to South Sudan recently I confidently produced the cell phone and exchanged the Haitian sim card for a Kenyan sim card. Nothing happened. No lights, rings, or whistles. It didn’t work. The technician who had just sold the sim card to me said, “Your phone, Madam, it is locked. This will function only in Haiti.” Perhaps you heard the slow grinding of teeth.  There is no way around it. I am unlucky with phones. I accept my fate.

PS: The above paragraph was written upon my arrival to Kenya in February. While going through security screening at Nairobi’s main airport this past weekend prior to my flight home, my smart phone was stolen.  Need I say it again? Definitely unlucky with phones. Sigh.

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