Thursday, 12 June 2014

My blinking internet

EXTREMELY fact.....non-existent would be more accurate
One of the most difficult things to get used to here in Algeria is customer service…..or rather the lack of it.  As a perfect example Algerie Telecom is a case in point and one of the reasons why the blarney has not been flowing as freely in recent times.  We pay for our internet six months in advance through Algerie Telecom and it was due to expire on May 4th so we planned to renew it the previous day.  But suddenly without any warning our internet went at midnight on April 30th, and with the 1st May being a bank holiday and the 2nd being the weekend we were not able to go to them until the 3rd, only to be told that there was a new policy to cut off the internet 2 days before it was due to expire, and this had something to do with the fact that they were upping the speed. Our internet has service has not been really great of late and we’ve always had much reduced internet service at the weekend (Friday and Saturday here), so slightly mollified and feeling hopeful we settled down to enjoy our faster internet to find it was exactly the same as before – very good at times and at others I lost the will to live while waiting for a page to load.  Then to add insult to injury a week after we had paid we lost the internet completely.  My husband went to Algerie Telecom and complained, and, to be fair, someone did come to the house and had a look at the modem and the wiring etc.  He said he thought it was the telephone line, so he rang his company to ask for that to be checked.  A day or two later someone rang on the line and told us that it had been checked and, surprise, surprise there was nothing wrong with it, it was a problem with our ADSL – I could have told them that, but hey, what do I know? Someone then rang and asked us about the lights on the modem – which ones lit up, which ones were blinking etc. etc.  Then they rang again and asked a few more (blinking) questions, after which they rang and said that it had been fixed, and sure enough it was!!!!! For all of an hour.  Then days went by during which I came to a deep philosophical opinion – life is just too short to spend it watching two blinking lights on a modem.  So I went away and got a life….of sorts….if you consider de-cluttering and cleaning living life to its fullest.  Actually I found it very therapeutic in many ways – ticking things of a ‘to do’ list can be very liberating, and de-cluttering and cleaning can be very calming and satisfying…..and stopped me from having homicidal thoughts.....for a while at least.

Then, out of the blue on a Friday afternoon the internet came back…..for a while, then went and came back and there really was no rhyme nor reason as to the pattern of it’s coming and going.

I am acutely aware that there are many Algerians who have far worse problems than an intermittent internet connect…..who may even dream of that being their biggest problem.  But, please understand I am alone in this country without any family of my own other than my husband and my children.  They have my husband’s family who have been wonderful to me, as are my good friends here, but it’s not for nothing that the Prophet (SAWS) hammered home time and time again the importance of the ‘ties of the womb’, with the warning not to break these ties included in the introduction to every halaqa, sermon or Islamic talk ever given.  I may have left Ireland, my family, their way of life, their religion, but in so many ways I am bound to them always and will always be interested in their lives, and they will always be a part of mine.  The phone, either landline or mobile, is very expensive and the internet is the only other alternative, and when I don’t have it I feel totally cut off from my family and from the outside world.  I recognise that when this happens, it’s very probably Allah’s gentle way of calling me to Himself, to force me to ignore the rest of the world and turn back to Him, and when He allows me access again I have a responsibility to keep everything in perspective. 
We did have a fairly good internet connection for a few days and it was at the same time as it rained cats and dogs here in Algeria Alhamdulilah.  This has been in answer to the country’s prayers for rain which is badly needed, but, as a consequence I found it very difficult to get on with any cleaning or de-cluttering because all I want to do on a grey overcast day is to hibernate….or write.

I have since heard that Algerie Telecom apologised in the newspaper for the unreliable internet service, and I have also heard that it has something to do with the company updating to fiber optics, but I do wish that The Powers That Be in the company would realise how important their customers are and perhaps give a little to sweeten the relationship by compensating them in some way…..extra time of free internet or a reduction in fee the next time we renew our subscription perhaps?????  As always, living in Algeria……I live in hope.  Meanwhile the blarney may be curtailed while our modem continues to be a blinking nuisance.
Where is that blinking internet light????


  1. Yes the internet here or getting access to it in my case is a sore point. I can completely sympathise with how you feel about being cut off. However I figured like you that everything happens for a reason and it was Allah way of telling me that there is more to life than the internet. Maybe I haven't learnt my lesson yet and when I do I will be rewarded with a permanent phone line and fibre optics :)

  2. I have heard so many people complaining about the awful service so I know it's not just us....but it seems very suspicious to me that the past few days it has come back around the same time in the evening for just a few hours and then goes again. You're not the only one slow at learning this lesson I think but it's coming up to Ramadan so I think that might definitely speed up MY education in patience at any rate inshallah!