|My host brother Oussaman got a solar panel a couple months ago and he's been rolling in business.|
|Looks like nostalgia...|
If you're broke, no worries - there are no monthly fees, no contracts, no mandatory scheduled payments. If you can't afford credit and need to talk to someone, you can send them a text that says "Merci de me rappeler" (please call me) for free. The text recipient will see the message and call if they have credit. If your phone does have a fatal accident, it's easy to get by while waiting for money for a new one. The SIM cards are removable and transferrable to any other phone. One of my neighbors hasn't had a working phone for months, but she puts her SIM card in mine sometimes to greet her family in Mauritania.
It keeps me updated with other volunteers and admin. Text message alerts, called CPAs, come in frequently. These messages are great for keeping all volunteers in the loop about grant deadlines, safety and security issues, or administrative updates. They were especially useful during last year's Ebola epidemic. It was good to know that if something happened involving Peace Corps' position in Senegal, we would all be notified at the same time instead of relying on diluted gossip through the rumor mill. Volunteers also get free volunteer-volunteer calling, which is the best thing admin could have done for our mental health, in my opinion. Not a day goes by that I don't talk to someone in my Peace Corps family.