There were times when we were in Ghana that I would be walking down the road, cell phone in hand, talking with someone back in the U.S. It was one of many surreal moments. The dirt roads, trash burning in a ditch beside you, people talking another language or two or three, and I’m on a cell phone talking to someone 10,000 miles away.
It would not have been so hard to believe if I were in the U.S., but in an African country that teeters between a second and third world country it was difficult to fathom. The reason it is easier to grasp in the U.S. is because there is a 89% penetration rate, meaning that 89% of the U.S. population has cellphones. In fact, its becoming common place for U.S. homes to only have cell phones.
Surprisingly, though, in Ghana the numbers are quite high as well. 63% of Ghanaians use cell (or as the rest of calls them, mobile) phones. It is easier and more cost effective for most third world countries to use cell phones than to use land lines.
So, maybe it shouldn’t have been as surreal as I thought it should have been walking down a dusty road with a cell phone tucked in my sweaty hands…