Thursday, January 03, 2008

Who wants a mobile phone when you live in paradise?

from w
I was surprised to read of the enthusiasm and excitement of some people in babasiga land when they know that mobile phones will now work in the coast areas around Labasa. Who wants a mobile phone when you live in lovely babasiga land anyway? Ha ha. Okay, they are handy for communication but in many cases excessive and just to show off I reckon. Sounds like the upgrade covers those places beside the sea such as Vorovoro, Malau kei Vuo. They didn't mention our beach property Nukutatava but I guess that's included. Anyway Peceli was able to use his mobile from there anyway if he walked up the hill a little bit! And of course the tribewanted visitors on Vorovoro Island might be lounging around the beach, their phones up to their ears! No, they have better things to do liking planting vegetables.

I am a philistine about mobiles. I don't own one and don't want one. I don't talk for long on ordinary phones even, but a friend gave us a hands-free phone as a gift which was nice so we can wander throughout the house and still yack away. It plays 'We wish you a merry christmas' to alert us to its presence so we'll have to change that to the song 'Vorovoro, Malau kei Vuo'!

Well here's the story which has some exaggeration surely which I have put into italics - in today's Fiji Times -
Mobile phones for rural LabasaFriday, January 04, 2008

After years of relying on telephone services, the people of rural Labasa now enjoy mobile phone services. Vodafone managing director Aslam Khan said that was possible after the company commissioned its base station at Korovatu in Labasa last week. Mr Khan said the network provided by that base station would cover around 6000 people from Malau to Kia Island. "The coverage extends from Malau jetty to the Kia Island and all the way to Coqeloa and surrounding areas," Mr Khan said. "Along the route lie some very prominent sites and location of Vanua Levu."

He said areas along that side that now enjoyed the service included Vuo, Vunika, Naleba, Raranibulubulu, Mataniwai and Coqeloa. Korovatu is a renowned picnic spot in Labasa. Ram Sewak, the owner of the picnic spot and long time resident said that would really assist him in his business. He said "the mobile communication would help him manage his business better by ensuring instant contact with suppliers and workers".

"Those who flock the beach will also feel safe with their mobiles handy."

The villagers of Vuo were excited on Friday when they realised that they had finally had mobile coverage. For most of them owning mobiles were just for decoration as it would not function when they were in the village.


Anonymous said...

Bila vinaka
I met some good friends today Lorini Tevi and Meresaini Niukula they sent their love to you.
I have a lot of photos I will send them when Geirge arrive today
thank you

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Bula sia Peceli,
So you have arrived safely in Cuvu! And your mobile phone does not yet work! Looks like we have to talk in this public place! Give my lolomas to Lorini and Saini and others I know. Now I'm jealous that I didn't go. The family here are fine and have gone out shopping or for a swim and this afternoon will go and play with the kids at Joy's place.
Good luck with the seminars for the kaulotu.

fightinjoe said...

Bula sia! Thanks for the post on the "new" mobile coverage in and around Labasa. I spent some time on Vorovoro with Tribewanted, and there was some buzz about a new tower in Malao that would extend coverage to the north side of Vorovoro, where the Tribewanted community is based.

While we do plant quite a few vegetables ;-) and have little time for making cell phone calls, the mobile link is more significant to us when used for our internet connection.

We use the internet connection significantly not just for business and personal purposed, but also to do research online. This research has been invaluable in helping us do things like raise chickens and pigs, build compost toilets, bio-gas harvesters, and compost heaps, has taught us how to plant vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, herbs, and medicinal plants, and has helped us share the knowledge we've generated from building traditional Fijian bures, to installing solar panels and a wind turbine on the island.

Technology is a double-edged sword, and the presence of Vodafone around both Suva and Labasa makes one thing that red is the national color of Fiji! But hopefully on Vorovoro we're able to leverage technology to make our impact on the local area more ecologically friendly and positive for the growth of the surrounding Mali area.

You can check out pictures of a lot of the projects both on our Flickr group.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

The link didn't open but I have seen some of the pics the Vorovoro gang posted on flickr.
Yes, some of the innovations on Vorovoro are great and a model for others who want solar panels, etc.
Back to the topic of mobile phones in Fiji, just how expensive are calls there? Do the cards run out very quickly? Is the cost much more than using an ordinry telephone?