I Am Patrick’s iPhone

I am Patrick’s iPhone, though I must admit I am not much of a phone these days.

Patrick packed me off to a place called Bwindi in southwestern Uganda in the middle of Africa. So while I’m not being used as the phone I claim to be, I have been plenty busy.

It’s not my fault Patrick and others in North America pay onerous contract fees to use my phone features. I understand there are added costs when you use me outside the USA. In Africa and elsewhere it’s a pay-as-you-go scheme which doesn’t seem as expensive.

Me and Patrick, in Munich, during our six-week international trip in 2012...

Me and Patrick, in Munich, during our six-week international trip in 2012…

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Nevertheless, Patrick is getting a bang for all my smart-phone features available on wifi. The first is the HD camera. In nearly three months on the road, he’s take more than 750 photos on just me alone. I heard him say he had seven other HD cameras at his disposal for this project. None are as versatile as I am. For instance, can a Canon G12 or GoPro camera instantly upload images to share with a waiting world? What’s the point of storing GBs of photos if no one can see them? That’s what social media helps us to do.

I do video pretty well, too. My HD resolution can stand the test and works well in his Final Cut Pro productions. Even I enjoy his YouTube uploads of his video shorts.

My creators helped build a whole new industry when my older cousins were manufactured. Applications, or Apps, redirected users from visiting websites. Now there are millions of apps…though only 100 under my watch. Among Patrick’s favorites are the social media kings Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

He also uses banking apps–even from this jungle setting–to pay his bills electronically, transfer funds, make stock trades. I don’t ask any questions about those transactions. Pat’s always on the go and needs to fund these activities. It’s all well and good. He keeps my battery charged.

We’ve encountered some difficulty with the wifi network at Bwindi Community Hospital. Understandably, managers here want to limit access to the Internet during business hours. But my guy is a communications fiend and needs unfettered access to help sing praises of the good work being done here. He and I think the communications group should get an exemption from the restrictions.

At the nearby Batwa Development Program there is also a wifi network which is not so closely regulated. So from there we can upload videos to YouTube and catch up with with outstanding Words With Friends games to, hopefully he says, deliver “punishing setbacks” to his opponents. Whatever…

Well, even though I haven’t made one call on this trip I’m happy to be contributing in a big way. And I know this: He likes me! He really likes me!

I am Patrick’s iPhone…and I approved this message!

Man on a Mission

Arriving at Bwindi in a splendidly roomy van, I was ferried to my home for the next three months in a conveyance unattainable to most in this region.

And that will be typical of about everything I do here. From my carbon footprint, to electronic gadgets, to bags of underwear and socks, I got and brought a lot.

Did I mention electronics?

I will admit I am the poster boy of western excess on this trip. iHave just about iEverything Apple makes, from laptop to iPad to iPhone. Each of those devices has its own iCamera.

Great. I brought six other HD cameras.

I don’t know exactly what I will see while in Uganda but I hope I don’t miss anything. It’s expensive to fly across the Atlantic and 11 time zones. It’s my second trip to Africa in nine months and I am very fortunate to have this opportunity to document health care and education here.

My communications colleague at the Bwindi Commmunity Hospital looks at me in amazement. Look at all this stuff. I start to justify. The laptop is my portable video editing device, the iPhone is a handy HD camera, iPad is great for social media.

Yes, a bit of excess for these parts. But I will use them all.

I’m a man on a mission.