WhatsApp: The Community Communication Cure

by Jess Cropsey

You would think that people who live right next door to each other would find it relatively easy to communicate.  Indeed, it is usually easy, but people are busy or not at home and it can be time-consuming to wander from house to house looking for that onion that you need to finish making dinner.

"Back in the day" (meaning 5 years ago when our team first landed in Burundi), we communicated the old-fashioned way:  face-to-face.  Our internet was almost non-existent at the time and texting by phone was the only other decent alternative.  Once our team began to grow (and after internet became more reliable), the wise Susan Watts proposed forming a WhatsApp group to help us communicate more easily with each other.  Plus, it seems to be the preferred method of communication for many Burundians since you can get a 30-day package of unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp for a mere $1.30.    

This is now our go-to method of disseminating information and there are at least a dozen different groups of various combinations of people (Kibuye Hope Academy faculty, various committees, doctors, ...).  Here are some excerpts from these groups that will give you a sneak peek into our daily community life in Kibuye.  

The "Kibuye Core Group" was our first WhatsApp group and includes all missionary adults on the team.  It can be used for any variety of purposes, most of which you are unlikely to see on a WhatsApp communication chain in the USA.

And with the team Thanksgiving feast coming up on Saturday, you can expect the "Exercise Group" to be buzzing.  (Frankly, this group needs to be renamed since it includes all women whether they exercise or not :-).

Other frequent texts on this group include...
If you see Child X, please send him/her home.  
Anyone want to run at 4:30?

We even have one called "Milk" that lets us know how much we owe each month for the fresh cow's milk that is divvied out and delivered to our doors every day (thanks to the amazing Susan Watts).  And if you're looking for someone to take your milk because you'll be out of town for the weekend, this is the place to go!

The very best part of WhatsApp is that it makes communication to North America so easy.  We (the Cropseys) have a group for each side of the family and can easily send & receive quick pictures or texts about what's happening in everyone's lives.  One little way to help us stay better connected.  Thanks WhatsApp!


1 comment:

Rebekah said...

Loved getting this little glimpse into your lives on the missionary compound there at Kibuye! WhatsApp is a blessing to us as well!