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When Joyce and I lived in Tajikistan back in the 90s, there were always those moments when we’d be really homesick for our families back home.
- And, unfortunately, for the first few years that we lived there, there was just no reliable way to communicate with them.
- In fact, if we wanted to talk with them, we’d have to go to the Post Office where we’d pay upfront for ten minutes and then wait an hour for the call to be connected.
- If they managed to make the connection, we’d always never make it the full ten minutes without getting disconnected.
- And so, we’d often get off the phone more homesick than when we got on!
At the time, I was leading a Business Development Center in the capital city of Dushanbe.
- And it became clear that, if Tajikistan was going to connect to the world, they’re going to need email.
- So, Joyce and I flew to Russia to get everything we needed to set up the first email node in Tajikistan.
- In fact, that was the only email in Tajikistan for at least three or four years.
- But, ultimately, as important as it was for the country, we were mostly driven by the desire to stay connected with our families.
But, we still wanted to hear their voices. And so, by our fourth year, our team got a satellite phone.
- This thing was literally the size of a large briefcase… and cost nearly $5 per minute to use.
- In fact, to use it, we had to go out onto the roof… use a compass to determine the location of the satellite…
- And then we’d have to point the top of the case, which was the antenna, toward that satellite for it to work.