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Power off – who gives a dam(n)?

Oct 25 • 2192 views • 2 Comments on Power off – who gives a dam(n)? Africa, East Africa, Kampala, Travel, Uganda

What is it with Sundays? Some texts go through, others don’t. And this week-end MTN are charging me twice for every SMS. I refuse to phone unless it’s an emergency! Phone calls are extortionate (but a change of providers might help).

The radio announced that the power will be off for three days this week. Apparently there’s a problem down at Jinja (the new dam?) and there’s a national diesel shortage (we’re arguing with the Kenyans again) so generators will only be on for a limited period. So far so good but it’s the unpredictability of supply that plays havoc with the semi-charged laptop, the forgotten torch and the contents of the fridge. The internet goes off of course and office work slowly grinds to a halt as the laptop batteries drain and the surge protector unit – between the mains and the PCs – beeps louder and louder.

Orange internet seems no better than UTL, our previous internet provider: having our internet cables dug up and stolen was the last straw so now we’re wireless. Is it because we’re at swamp level that the connectivity’s so slow?

During work hours, we go into town to catch up on errands when the power goes and Patrick makes an early start to beat his way through the ridiculous traffic. Without electricity to power the ‘ironbox’ and do the ironting, Eva manages to slowly stretch the remaining household chores into the rest of the working day. She moves around so slowly at times, silent as a ghost.

I’ve been getting the hang of doing my make-up by candlelight this week-end but it is a faff to have to grope round in the darkness; just glad it’s not too often.

I rather like overhearing the moment when the electricity suddenly cuts out: there’s a collective ‘OH!’ from the other side of the compound wall as the background music to my life suddenly stops. Ah, silence!

Made-up (after a fashion) I tiptoe my way to the boda boda stage by the light of my phone, aiming for the Indian shop, a (generator-powered) beacon of light amidst the darkness. “Take care” says the unusually attentive shop owner (that’ll be the low-cut top) and with that I trip on a pebble back into the darkness.

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2 Responses to Power off – who gives a dam(n)?

  1. The Muzungu says:

    Infinite patience? I wish!
    Sometimes the powercuts are interesting: showering by candlelight can be fun but when you have a work deadline and can't use the internet, your laptop battery peters out and then it starts raining so you can't even go for a walk and oh yes there's no milk for the tea cos the last power surge blew the fridge and Eva's walking around with a long face, and I can't even go and have a lunchtime moan with my friend cos Patrick is out with the car … and Mike 'the whirlwind' has arrived and all our plans are up in the air and he's still going to expect us to have completed a million projects with only half a brief … patience? as I say, I WISH!!! Think I'll just settle for a tot of Waragi! At least that doesn't run out 🙂

  2. lizziema says:

    Oh dear this does remind me of the T&C Islands in the 90's. You must be developing some excellent life survival skills with all the obstacles impeding progress. And developing infinite patience? Just don't fall down another bloody land drain before take off!!!! Stoic little trouper!

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