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Four accounts of how residents of Bamenda, Cameroon are coping without internet access

April 1, 2017  »  NewsNo Comment

Cameroon’s government shut down internet access in Northwest and Southwest Anglophone regions of Cameroon 74 days ago (and counting). There is no sign of the blackout being lifted by the government and the telecom operators remain in compliance with the order.

We recently heard from digital consultant Marc Stephan Nkouly, located in Bamenda, Cameroon, on how those in the affected areas like his are doing without local internet access.

He says it is very difficult to communicate online since even simple replies to email require a 75+ kilometer drive to the city of Bafoussam. Mr. Nkouly doesn’t know when the internet will be resumed but he has hope that it will be done soon.

The following four stories were collected via SMS from people on what they’ve lost when not having internet; how they cope; what their feelings are about it. The economic disruption is exceedingly clear.

#1

I am niat hycenth a student of topography Enset bamenda and a part time engineer of tebasah international compagny. It has been a real brack for me. For skull purpose, i was connected 5d/7 to search more on my field and notes also for my assignments. Was able to follow some courses online of which at the end will end a certificate.

#2

My name is Ngoran Edward. An adult Cameroonian living in the NW region. I am a plumber by training. The lack of internet has really crippled my affairs because I used it to communicate with friends and family members living abroad, for my research in plumbing innovation on YouTube and for my computer online training course. Now I can’t do anything when I face difficulties installation a plumbing accessory.

#3

Am a film maker and videographer in Bamenda Cameroon, with the seizure of internet, my business has been on a stand still as most of my potential audience are abroad and also most of the research I use to do online to increase my skills have been impossible furthermore, competitions organised by the UN and other organisations for young people have been rendered invincible due to lack of internet access. Hence I conclude with adding my voice to say

#4

The lack of internet has really been a bitter pale for me to swallow since January 17th when via an oppressive move the government of my country compelled the telecommunication companies to shut down internet connectivity in the two Anglophone regions of Cameroon with the pretext of combating insecurity.
Worthy to note is the fact that I am a researcher; to be specific a PhD research student who depends soly on the internet for online materials considering that I lack hard books in my medium of writing which is the Braille.
Also, I have been making a living merely via the internet as I aid many a persons and particularly the sighted with the accomplishment of their research endeavours back here at home. Candidly speaking, this internet interruption has gone a long way to further radicalize my stands and views towards the government. Considering that I have been put out of employment via the short down of the internet, it goes with this adage: “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.
Again, I am a freelancer in community development issues and a volunteer in tutoring particularly the visually impaired in adapted ICTs; all these great tasks which require internet complementarities.
Worst still, I need to occasionally destitute or further impoverish my needy status by moving into the neighbouring regions in order to seek for “internet asylum”; a struggle which has earned me and many others the appellation of an “internet refugee”.

Please send an email to mcsteann [at] gmail [dot] com if you wish to learn more firsthand accounts or have further questions.