The Zambian Tandem Element Clusterfuck

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — There should be a term, a friend of mine said over lunch yesterday, for the thing that happens here when so many things stop working here that they keep you from fixing any of them.

She was talking about an experience she had just had over the weekend, when her DSTV stopped working, and her phone wasn’t working either, and her cell phone was out of talk time, and her Internet never works unless she parks in a friend’s driveway — so there everything stayed — not working.

That day I went back to find the Internet still wasn’t working at the office, the Zain modem  —  I had bought for my netbook (which I think was working, otherwise, but that had taken two weeks) wasn’t working either, so I came home to take a bath, but the hot water heater wasn’t working, and the Internet at home wasn’t either. I called the internet company but the phone there wasn’t working. Possibly that had something to do with another recent power outage . . . so I had a glass of wine, amazed by then that nothing prevented me from doing that.

A Zambian Clusterfuck, I told my friend, was the term. She agreed, saying only those who were here would get the notion of how all the elements working in tandem could clusterfuck you.


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