Thursday, 28 March 2013

Motorbike to Grand Gedeh

By Farzana Rasheed

Jerome goes off to Grand Gedeh deliver a modem 

I came in this morning to see that the Head of Operations was about to despatch our Office Janitor to Grand Gedeh on a motor bike. I started to reel in shock and sputtered "Not Jerome! Not Jerome, the big-word user. Not Jerome, who claims to be an engineer because he can draw floor plans. Not Jerome, he just broke our front door handle." But I calmed myself down and, realised that was the only option we had. 

One of our most important clients, if not the most, had their Internet service go down. In fact, they have been down for at least 2 days. After burning the midnight oil and countless hours of trouble shooting in coordination with the satellite service provider, it appears we needed to change the modem. 

This new development in the diagnostics reached us minutes after packing off some other items needed for the client site on their shuttle helicopter service from Monrovia to Grand Gedeh. 

Given the bad state of roads in the country, a motorbike would be fast and efficient. 

In a calm state of mind, I learned that my Head of Operations had:
  1. found a brand motorbike taxi walla with an almost brand new bike to make sure it would not break down
  2. negotiated the rate the fellow would charge to take and bring back our staff
  3. swapped phones with our staff because his was 'broke'
  4. arranged enough road money
  5. talked our staff through the plan (drive carefully, stop every now and then for a break, and keep us updated)
  6. and, equipped Jerome with a hard helmet
All I could do was hope our staff arrives safely and not goof up. I hoped he was not going to irritate the motorbike driver with his big words by something like "Mr Driver, I reiterate, you are under my jurisdiction, proceed more slowly." 

Meanwhile, our client has been experiencing serious issues in their service since last weekend. It started with everyone on camp not being able to send e-mails. They could only receive them. We finally figured out that it was again an ISP issue. So, our client has not been happy for at least a week now. In fact, they threatened to send back our technician in a coffin. Gulp! 

The problem is not solved yet but, all we can do is and, we are trying our best to be as professional and patient despite the pressure. 

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