Local Harrisburg resident, Tamara Fishel, 29, was disturbed yesterday when she heard of how few Sudanese people actually own a Smartphone. As she leafed through a National Geographic at a local fair-trade market, Tamara first encountered pictures of Sudan’s citizens: “Not one photo showed anyone on a Smartphone. I was concerned and started to research this phenomenon. I was really shocked when I discovered that less than 5% of the population owns a Smartphone,” Tamara said, ignorant of the fact that the US has sanctioned this State Sponsor of Terrorism, of which 17% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day.

Sudan, located in East Africa, is a country notorious for a violent history and internal disputes. The country struggled to gain independence from Egypt and the United Kingdom in 1956; which might have delayed the nation from distributing Androids in the local Verizon and AT & T stores, Tamara surmises. After 17 years of civil war, followed by a second civil war, the nation finally by a split resulting in the independent state of South Sudan; which has lower priced phone plans, Tamara hopes.

“What are they using? Razors II’s? The Samsung Rogue? These are solid phones, but today people need the versatility of a Smartphone,” Fishel states. “I can understand if not many people have 4G service or that new Sprint 3D phone, but even an iPhone 3S would suffice. I work in marketing and I would be at a loss even if I left my PDA at home for a day.”

Fishel’s research failed to extend to the region of Darfur in Sudan, where since 1983; over 2 million people have lost their lives due to civil war and famine. The genocide and war crimes committed here did not appeal to Fishel, as she saw this was a no-coverage zone incapable of receiving any reception at all.

“I mean, do they even know what Angry Birds is? Because if they don’t, that’s very disturbing.”

Tamara has since become aware of this unfortunate happenstance in Sudan, stating she will do her best to help. “I have an old Blackberry I could possibly donate. All you have to do is activate a data plan,” Fishel assured Sudan’s impoverished citizens. “There’s a great app that actually counts your calories, which is great if you are on a diet,” she explained, clueless to the malnourished state of most children in Sudan.

Fishel has begun to pioneer an aid program to increase Smartphone usage in Sudan. Her Twitter feed encourages those in Sudan with Smartphones to explain the benefits to the less fortunate. Also, her hipstamatic photos on her Flickr account show examples of acceptable Smartphones for Sudan; her favorite being the HTC Evo 4G Shift.

“Someone should help these people, or they are going to be left in the dust.” Fishel said metaphorically, not realizing her statement was quite accurate in a literal sense.

Phil Biedron