BFF goes Zimbabwe, Day 1

Monday Feb 28 was my first day in Harare. I was able to find a money dealer exchanging bitcoin to USD, which I needed to secure the space for my talk on March 12th in Impact Hub Harare. We were at the travel agency to book a flight to Lusaka and bought a SIM card for my mobile WiFi router.

I made a short video right about that day before we had a power outage. I was hoping to be able to charge my devices for the next day, but you never know, when they turn on the power again. Not all parts of Harare are affected, the city center has almost never has any power cuts, it’s more in the suburbs of Harare. It’s called load-shedding, which requires switching off parts of the countries electric grid due to insufficient capacity or to avoid nationwide blackouts. During load-shedding periods you can hear generators all over town burning Diesel to produce power, so that life can go on. Interesting is the fact that over the last couple of years a lot of businesses and individuals have invested in solar energy backups.

Also the internet connection is really bad. I tested the speed at the house I’m living in and at a coworking space and it was just about 0.04 Mbps. My testing app actually said I don’t have internet. That makes online work difficult and it’s why I had to reduce the video quality a lot. Tomorrow I’ll try to set up my mobile internet connection with Econet. This will be very interesting, because Zimbabwe is a multi-currency country, where people use USD, RTGS (Zimbabwe dollar) and mobile money all with different exchange rates, which makes spending money a daily adventure.

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