African Electronics

One of the first things you prepare yourself for when moving back home is adjusting expectations. You know there will be no more Target runs, Starbucks, service with a smile, or such a thing as a quick trip to the bank or the post office. ( Prepared or no, these things still drive me nuts)
What absolutely threw me for a loop, but seems quite obvious in hindsight, is the startlingly reduced life expectancy of my belongings.
That pair of shoes that you bought at DSW and has been your trusty companion for years? Two nights out in Accra, and they are ruined. Any heeled shoe is at high risk. Anything that is vinyl or patent leather, will crack and flake off at the most inconvenient moment. ( eg.. when you are already 1hr late for that party and you reach for a blue purse because you decided to go with an ambitious eye shadow/clutch matching combo). Hairstyles will fall limp and die en-route to the wedding. Perms will be sweated out in two weeks.
And importantly, electronics (my laptop) will refuse to turn on for no perceivable reason, leaving their owners (me) gnashing teeth and rending cloths.
Repair-work can be a notorious gamble here. (My Dad took his car in to have the water pump or something replaced. When he went back for it , the mechanic also handed him a bag of parts that he said were “left over” from the engine after he reassembled it!) So you can imagine how i felt at the prospect of sending my laptop for repairs. After much feet dragging, my friend Seshie put me on to a guy, who recommended another guy; Charles.
I call him up, and Charles says “come on down to Osu, the Danny Praise complex, a large pink building”. So down i head. ( The building is an unmistakable ORANGE by the way, but thats a story for another day lol)
We exchange pleasantries, and Charles asks to see the laptop, then advises we open her up to try and identify the problem. Now, when ever i looked up laptop repairs on the internet, certain words are always bandied about. Static cloth, anti-static wrist band for grounding etc. So i was slightly concerned when Charles laid out an old car duster on his desk, flipped my laptop over and started unscrewing. With every component that was taken out, my heart beat a little bit faster. It didn’t help matters that he got a call half way through and was having a good old time on the phone as he dug into the guts of my computer. A million screws later, all the components lay on the table, and the problem was immediately identified.
The inside of my laptop looked like this . It was so full of dust i was surprised it had lasted that long. A thorough cleaning was in order. Again, i was expecting to see a can of compressed air, perhaps a usb blower and some isopropyl alcohol.  Fiona, you silly rabbit. Charles reached into his desk, pulled out a paint brush..like for painting houses, picked up my laptop, went outside, HELD IT OVER THE BALCONY, and then proceeded to VIGOROUSLY brush the inside. What the…?!  He brought it back, picked up the removed keyboard. and did the same. THEN…for the final touches, he plugs in a LARGE blower, and just blows the shit out of everything on that table.. JEZORS! My heart didnt beat the whole time. Eh bey! lol There was more, but you get the general idea.
I tell you what though… my laptop is working beautifully. Hell, i wrote this post on it. All the screws found, no parts ‘left over’, no lag, no issues whatsoever. 
So another day… another lesson learnt. The methods may be unusual, the finesse may be absent, the engrish might even be suspect, but doesn’t mean that he/she isnt the real deal.
Shout-outs to Charles. If you in the Accra-Tema area, and having computer troubles, i officially add my name to list of people who recommend him.
Just make sure you adjust your expectations before you get there 🙂
Have a great weekend everyone !

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