Thursday, September 07, 2006

Old Story, New Wrinkle

Electricity. We are all getting a close up education in what it takes to provide it.

There is more demand for power than Ghana can provide and the load keeps increasing because Ghana is a healthy, emerging African nation. But this is still a third world country, and the infrastructure put in place by the Colonial Brits is aging and frail.

So the latest solution is scheduled rotating power outages. "Scheduled" being a relative term.

Actually, the kids at Cooper's school knew all about it and filled him in, but we were clueless since we don't subscribe to the local newspapers (no one does- you have to buy them from street vendors at the go-slows and unless Cooper needs one for school we usually forget...).

So the new regime began for everyone whether they read the paper or not.

Whether they have a generator or not.

Whether we like it or not. ;-)

At 6AM or 6PM (no discernable pattern yet) every third (or fourth or second) day, our power goes off for twelve hours. It was off last Wednesday from 6am to 6pm, Friday from 6pm to 6am, Tuesday from 6am to 6pm and today it went off at 6am again.

Electricity roulette. With a sure thing at the sixes.

I wonder and worry a little about the lady across the street because she doesn't have a generator, but then again, she has lived in Ghana her whole life and this is hardly a new problem for her.

Doing without power for a few hours has been easy and not much of a disruption- I rarely turned on the generator unless the outage exceeded the insulating capacity of the fridge or I was in the middle of a load of laundry or something. But twelve hours at a time is beyond our little fridge's ability to hold enough cold air to keep the frozen food frozen.

And no music, computer, or TV for twelve hours stretches my ability to entertain myself.

It's possible to manage without the AC during the day- heck, most Ghanaians do it 24/7! But at night, we become sodden messes without at least the fan to blow across our bow (or stern).

So we fire up the generator. And try not to dwell on what we'll do when that craps out, because we are for sure in better shape than the vast majority of electricity users, although I sometimes wonder if living like a native instead of a European would be a more workable solution. :-)