Mon 3 Jan
The latest internet café in Shuhada is spacious, well lit and of course the equipment is fresh out of the box - so the keyboards don't stick and the screens are not too grimy.
It's one of those lazy, sunny days when if you're invited to take tea with the owner on his modest balcony overlooking the bus station - then you kind of go along with it. I think he wants me to help him put a business plan together. I want some round numbers for a lesson plan.
Moutasin is a 54 year old Sudanese who has worked abroad, first in Libya and subsequently in Saudi. He married 22 years ago and now enjoys four girls and a son. He borrowed a significant portion of the US$40k he needed to set up the internet café and his outgoings (including repayments) are about US$2000 per month. The café has 27 positions and is open for about 16 hours a day. In the daytime it seems very busy, mostly with school-kids. Income to date has averaged US$1000 per week, but I estimate the utilisation is only about 48% so he should break even within a year.