“This is so cool,” Sarafi said to the passenger sitting next to her on the plane. Sarafi was on a routine trip from Switzerland to Kenya. But this time, her journey was anything but ordinary.
The passenger sitting next to her was unlike anything she’d ever seen before. He said his name was 3. He was quite short and had two arms and legs. He had the unique ability to levitate above the ground, letting him glide around swiftly. His face was displayed on an LED display in his head and greeted everyone around him with a warm smile. That’s right: 3 was a robot.
“So what are you doing in Africa?”, Sarafi asked. 3’s face lit up with excitement: “I’m on a mission to change the lives of millions of people in African countries”, he responded in his high-pitched, robotic voice. “So many places in Africa need fast internet. With my technology, I can set up fast internet in both rural and urban areas in a short period of time,” 3 explained.
Sarafi was intrigued, and they spent the remaining hours on the flight talking about the current situation in Africa and how 3 planned to change how things were. Sarafi shared her experiences of growing up and living in Kenya, and wondered how having access to faster internet might have changed some of the difficulties she and her family faced.
Eventually after many hours of flying they landed in Nairobi. 3 had never been to Africa before but he fell in love with the continent as soon as he saw it from the sky. “It’s so green and beautiful,” he said and Sarafi smiled. “Of course it is”, she said. Sarafi was a beautiful young Kenyan woman attending university in Zurich. She always flew back home to see her family and friends during the holidays. “Do you want me to show you around?”, she asked. “Yes, that would be wonderful!” he responded. 3 had found his first friend in Kenya.
Sarafi’s father came to pick her up at the airport. She introduced him to 3 and they both got along very nicely. “3 needs to go to Asembo town and a bunch of other towns and villages. I told him I will show him around Nairobi before he catches a bus,” Sarafi said to her father. “Well, I’ll be your chauffeur then. I’ll take you through some of my favorite places in Nairobi.”, her father said with a gentle wink. Sarafi smiled and they drove out of the airport. They passed through a busy street with lots of tall buildings and offices. They also passed by a big shopping mall and finally through a nature park. 3 was glued to the window. “Nairobi is so beautiful. It’s nice and modern but with a lot of greenery too. It’s so refreshing,” he replied. Finally they arrived at the bus terminal where 3 was going to take a bus to Asembo town. Sarafi took 3’s phone number and promised to keep in touch. They said their goodbyes and 3 set off in his bus.
The bus ride was very interesting to 3. He sat by the window and looked at more scenes of Kenya. He noticed that the townside was less developed. The vegetation was greener, and he felt like the air was getting purer. When 3 finally arrived at Asembo town, he got off the bus and took a good look around. It was just as Sarafi described it, but even more fascinating to 3 as he saw it in real life. The buildings were smaller and further apart. There were considerably more trees than in Nairobi, too. He moved around the town looking at the architecture, the people and the vegetation. A lot of people stared at him — he was a robot after all — but everyone was still nice and friendly.
“Can I help you?” an old man suddenly appeared as 3 was moving past a bar. He stopped and responded, “Hello, my name is 3. What’s your name?” The old man invited him over. “My name is Ben, I own this bar. I’ve seen you moving up and down the town. Is anything wrong?”, Ben asked. 3 shook his head. “Not at all, I was just trying to get to know the town better. I’m here to set up fast internet for the town. I think it will be helpful,” 3 replied. The man’s eyes lit up. “That’s something a lot of people will appreciate over here. I for one would love it!”, he exclaimed. “A lot of my customers want to watch the latest football matches and other programs. If we had a really stable and fast internet connection, we could stream them here. We’ve tried several times, but the matches keep getting interrupted and it makes people angry, so I stopped hosting matches.”, Ben added.
3 smiled. One of the things he wanted most was to help small businesses like Ben’s. He knew he could do it, and Ben’s story just made him want it more. “Well I better get to work then!”, he said, as the processors in his robot head started running at full speed. As soon as he left the bar, 3 began to run his connectivity tests. He noticed that the internet speeds in Zurich were a lot faster than in Asembo.
“I’ll see you again soon, Ben”, he thought, as he knew that he was about to change connectivity here forever.
This is a fictional story written by Juliet Ajaab.
Juliet is a Ghanaian writer and fashion designer with the desire to express her imagination. She started writing stories when he was a little girl with her friends being her readers. She lives in Accra with her husband, 2 sons and an adorable poodle. You can contact her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliet-ajaab-adei-4a26b383/