Isn’t it Just a Phone?

I’ve had a mobile phone since I was 13 years old. At the time, I talked my parents into buying one of the old prepaid Nokia models that all my classmates had. The truth is that I didn’t need the phone but like my peers, I wanted to be connected with others—whether through a quick text or call. To get and keep my lovely Nokia phone, I had to earn a specific G.P.A throughout the year. If my grades were any lower than expected than I knew that it would be taken away from me. Today, I have a smart phone that’s able to do much more than my old Nokia could have ever done but I now see the true benefits of having a mobile phone in a country enshrouded in social and economic turmoil—Haiti.
Just last year, I found out that one of my uncles living in Haiti bought a Blackberry. I was taken aback by the news but just two weeks after hearing the news, I received a text in Haitian Creole from an international number. It shocked me to find out that my uncle—although working a job that barely feeds his family—now has access to a mobile phone that can get him information from all over the world without ever having to leave Haiti. Over the next couple of months, I was able to receive information about my family via his new blackberry. Even his wife began to use the phone for practical reasons such as health related information and even getting access to remittances, which form a large part of the Haitian economy.
The State Department and organizations throughout the world have also caught on to the usefulness of mobile phones in advancing development. Through my uncle’s experience, I too, was able to learn of the importance of something as simple as a phone whether it’s an old Nokia or a new Blackberrry. At the end of the day, mobile phones enable people from all over the world to practice the art of communication.

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