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Bang! goes my day

Apr 25 • 3058 views • 3 Comments on Bang! goes my day Diary of a Muzungu, Uganda

Woke in the night to a BANG – pop, pop, pop, pop, pop

The outside lights flickered off, on, off, on ….. off.

Heavy rain had preceded this latest electrical burnout, apparently the fault of our neighbour who is tapping directly into the overhead power cable.

Great, how many days before we get power back?

I really don’t need it.

Today I should be working hard. Instead the house girl is off sick with Malaria. Being without power means I’m having to light the charcoal stove to boil drinking water. But at least the Muzungu can light it now – thanks to Simpson’s charcoal-stove-lighting-lessons!

Everything just slows right down to local speed and I have no control over it.

Life in Uganda….

So today there is no power, no car and – for an hour or so – no drinking water.

I’m completely skint and I have to work out what my work priorities are to get them done in one and a half hours of laptop battery time.

I’m stuck in the house now until the mechanic arrives.

“Another day in paradise.”

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3 Responses to Bang! goes my day

  1. Mark Penhallow says:

    Hello Mzungu and greetings from Phnom Penh, Cambodia!

    I know there’s a bit of an upfront investment required (UGX80,000 last year, if I recall correctly), but why are you using charcoal to heat water, when a gas bottle would be far more economical? It would also be a lot easier, quicker and environmentally less damaging (given the energy used to produce the charcoal initially, plus the waste from its inefficiency). It would also be a lot less polluting from smoke. To me, this is a no-brainer! Gas wins out every way, compared to charcoal!

    Of course, if you were feeling particularly ambitious, solar is the way to go, at least for heating up water: Kampala gets enough sun radiation to heat up (and probably boil) water, even with relatively inefficient (e.g. home-made) systems. It is SO fortunate to have this natural resource available throughout the entire year and it is UTTERLY CRAZY that so many people with access to domestic hot water (yes, including many Muzungus!), use electricity to heat it. This is such an unnecessary waste of limited resources!

    And there I was, thinking that the country had power shortages! Clearly this is not so, or people don’t actually care about it.

    • the muzungu says:

      Hi Mark grt to hear from you. Is Cambodia as sweaty as I imagine?
      I absolutely hate using charcoal, it’s a terrible environmental solution, but it’s very very cheap and you pay per day – you don’t have to pay for a three month supply in advance (gas) nor do you have to shell out for the big elec bill every month! Since living in Bukasa I’ve mostly been using an elec cooker some departing friends gave me.
      Absolutely agree with you re gas being the best option but a gas bottle is now over 100,000 shillings and a gas cooker is approximately 150,000 last time I looked. I simply haven’t had a spare 250,000 (£60 / $100) in fact I have just sold all the furniture you sold me to pay Norah’s wages!
      I asked her to just use charcoal for cooking as she doesn’t have much experience of modern kitchen equipment and nearly burned the house down one day! – and broke part of the fridge, and broke the cafetiere, and broke the lovely teapot Jennie gave me!!!
      You’re right about the power shortages though, we still have them. In fact we’ve had more power cuts in the last month than there have been for a year! To be fair to Umeme though, we lost power the other day, called them and they fixed the problem within a few hours. I even had 2 phone calls from customer service to check that we were back online.
      Wd love to hear what Cambodia’s like?

  2. […] Power cuts can drive you crazy. But the romance of candlelight has its […]

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