I sang an ode to Facebook the other day, but one of the absolute heroes of my life is the guy who invented Skype. And I have met him, as he knew someone who knew someone who knew my friend (because he is Danish… just thought I’d let you know). I shutter to think what I would have done, had I known at the time what a great thing he had created. I didn’t reflect on it at the time. It would not have been beneath me to kiss his feet.
I still remember trying to phone home when I lived in South Africa in 1995. I would get a phone card for 100 Rand, ring up mum and the conversation would go something like: “helloooo hellloooo helloooo” (echo). Then wait for 10 seconds and get a return “Hellloooo hellloooo, how are youuuuu?” (10 secs) “I’m gooood” (10 secs) “whaaat?” (10 secs) “I said I’m gooooood, how are youuuuu?” (10 secs) “we are weeeeelll” (10 secs) “there is no more money, I will call you from Durban” (beep beep beep). Now I just say: “Hang on, I’ll put the kettle on and be back in a tick” and then mum and I talk for hours.
Trust me, Skype is the saver of sanity in many a migrants life. It not only lets us know if our family members are OK, it allows us to connect to them in a much more meaningful way.
And now I’m going to call up their media department (if they have one) an see if I can get a sponsorship dollar out of them. I would be an excellent poster girl… because I mean it!