“Isn’t that the Internet robot?” a young boy said to his friend. They were walking home from school when they saw something strange. His friend stretched his head over the fence to see the robot. He was busy working just around the corner. His name was 3 and he was working on fast internet service for the town. There were posters all over Kumasi about 3 and his internet service. The boys were very excited to see him and wanted to know more about what he could do. “Hey I see him now,’’ said one of the boys. His name was David and his friend was Daniel. David and Daniel moved in the direction of the robot, 3. “ Make sure you are not seen,” one of them said. As they watched the robot work from afar they noticed something interesting. 3 kept shaking his head in distress. They could tell something was wrong. His antenna also kept wiggling a little fast.
“Why don’t we try and help him,” David whispered. Daniel looked at him with a puzzled expression on his face. “He’s a robot! How can we help him? He knows everything,” Daniel replied. They stood there for a few minutes more and watched the robot. “I don’t know but I feel like we should at least ask if everything is ok,” David said again and this time he got up and was going to walk to 3. Daniel held him back. “No wait we can’t just do that,’’ he said but stepped on a can that made a loud noise. The two boys froze as 3 turned around to look at them. They were not sure what to do. To their surprise 3 smiled at them and said a loud, high pitched hello. They couldn’t help but smile back and say hello too. “My name is 3. What’s your name?” he said to them. David and Daniel walked closer to the robot and introduced themselves to him.
“I know you have very powerful AI but you looked like you needed some help. Do you need any help?” David asked. 3 shook his head immediately. They were right, he did need some help. “Yes, I’ve been struggling with something strange for the past three days. It’s something I didn’t expect to happen,” he replied. “Oh really, maybe we can help,’’ Daniel said. David turned to look at him sharply. “What are you talking about? We don’t know anything about setting up an Internet connection,” he scolded. Daniel laughed and agreed with David. “Well yes, you are absolutely right but who knows, maybe we know someone who can help,” Daniel explained and David shook his head. David looked at his watch and gasped at the time. “We have to get going, it’s getting late,” he said. 3 nodded and offered to walk them home. “We can talk as we go,” he said.
Kumasi, the city they were in, sometimes got dark very fast. It was one of Ghana’s most popular cities. They walked past the Adum market where many market women were selling all types of products from fruits to clothes. 3 loved this route too. He got to experience the busy markets. The sounds of bells ringing, women calling out to potential customers and people walking up and down got him pretty excited. He was happy to bring fast internet to such an exciting continent. Ghana was one of his favorite African countries too. 3 told David and Daniel the issue he was having as they walked through the market. It wasn’t anything technical at all. He had many requests for fast internet in Kumasi but after launching it, only few people were using the service. He didn’t understand why. “I have run many tests and still cannot crack it,” 3 added. “Only 20% of the people who click on our link actually pay for our service. Our prices are the best too so it’s a real mystery,” 3 complained. The boys thought hard to see if they could figure out the reason for the low patronage but could not come up with anything.
Just as they were all brainstorming David saw some delicious mangoes and stopped to buy some. They were arranged very beautifully on a tabletop stall surrounded by other fruits. He haggled with the seller and finally bought them at a bargain price. He took out his cell phone and paid for them with mobile money. 3 saw him and his antenna flickered. “That’s it!” 3 shouted, startling the boys. “I need to add a mobile money payment option. Maybe that’s the reason why people aren’t interested. The payment options are not what they prefer,” he added. In no time at all after a few turns, they were at Daniel and David’s neighborhood. 3 thanked them so much for helping. “I told you we could help,” David said and they all laughed.
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/