When Skype Gets The Message So Incredibly Wrong

I had to peel my Mother off the ceiling today. It was Skype’s fault.

Skype is a modern wonder for internationals. It has made the world a smaller place.

I have a Skype subscription that enables me to call home to land-line phones in Canada, unlimited hours, for about $8 a month. Generally, it has been working very well this term with our Orange Livebox Internet setup in the office. That sets us back about $60 a month, but it has been the most exciting thing we have ever experienced during our years in Mali.

However, on Sunday, the big market day, the phones and internet seem to get congested and slow with the massive influx of people. Skype gets choppy, words get cut off, and calls get disconnected often.

I called my mother in Canada. She asked what we were doing and I said, “We are holed up in the house for the day.” Referring to our usual Sunday habit of staying in, since the streets are jammed full around our office and apartment, in the heart of the main market of Sikasso.

However, my words were  getting chopped off here and there, and what my mother heard was, “We were held up at the house today.”

Of course she went ballistic, and I had to peel her off the Canadian ceiling with my words, because we had just confirmed her every fear, worry, and suspicion about us being in Africa off and on for almost two decades.

“No, mom we are just hanging out at the house, that is what I mean. We were not robbed.”

I admit, I probably used a very poor choice of phrasing. Not making that mistake again.

We love the common question, “How are things over there?”  And no matter what your response is, you can sense they feel you are always hiding parts of the truth.

There is a colossal difference between a “holdup”, and being  “holed up”.  

The Skype call quality could not “tell” the difference today…. literally!

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