Ethiopia: Back to the Old Days

opinion

As we all know, since recently electric power is being supplied in shifts. Although power interruption is costing probably billions to the country, I like the idea of shifts than random interruptions.

At least you get to know when the interruptions will take place. But the funny thing about the shifts is that we are not informed in advance about the time schedule for the power interruptions, so we had to find out on our own the exact times the will shifts start and end. Anyway, the point I want to make in this blog is not really about the interruption shifts but rather the fact that the power interruptions are bringing us back to the old days.

Although I shouldn't be saying this, there is something likeable about power interruptions in the evenings. And that is the fact that families and friends who live together get to gather around and chitchat pre, during and post dinner because there is no TV to stare at.

The power interruptions help us get closer to each other as we get to talk more and longer hours with to each other. Of course, people chat with each other also while watching television, but the chitchat in the absence of a TV is nothing like the one in its presence. We might chat about issues that we are watching on TV but not so much about our days, our emotions on that day, our families, our friends, our work and all the other personal stuff.

As much as technology is making our lives so much easier, I also believe that it is increasingly driving us apart. The irony with telecommunication technologies such as smart phones and the internet is that, on the outset, they are bringing the world much closer together. But at the same time, thanks to these technologies, we are increasingly losing the natural or the human way of communication.

Have you ever noticed that nowadays, a group of youngsters who meet for lunch or coffee prefer to stay glued to their phones instead of talking to the person who is sitting next to them? What I find funny is that these youngsters are probably chatting with another person online while completely ignoring the person sitting next to them. This makes me wonder if there is something superior about virtual communication over "human" communication. Thanks to texting, apps such as whatsApp and Facebook, people are becoming reluctant to call a person let alone going in person to visit him or her.

Take online shopping for instance. I heard that people feel lonely because, thanks to online shopping, they do not have to go out to the market to buy stuff and in the process get to interact with different people. I have never thought about this aspect of online shopping before, but now that I think about it, it is actually true that it can drive to feelings of loneliness and even depression.

Although the absence of a secured power supply and functioning communication technologies can cost billions to the economy, on the bright side, their absence help us get back to the old days where people were much closer to each other and to the time where socialization had a human element in it. It will be stupid of me to suggest that the country should be out of power and have poor communication infrastructure, of course. What I am suggesting is rather for us to take active measures to shut our TVs, phones and laptops once in a while to spend quality time with our loved ones and interact with others, as in the old days.

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