Power (Electrical, that is)

246 Sisters Hapsatu and Halima, grindingOur power went out for 5 hours this morning, from 9 am until 2 pm. It was not too bad, as it was an intentional outage so some power poles could be fixed, and we were given notice of it before it happened. I was gone for much of the morning so it did not affect me until the last couple of hours.

It reminded me, though, of what most of our friends in Africa live with all the time. In the villages where I minister I cannot think of a single one which has a source of communal power. In a few places I know there might be a generator if there is some community event happening, but other than that there is nothing.

Think of that in your own context. There are no stoves or fridges. All the cooking will be over a wood fire; the food will have to be such that it will not spoil in the open. Lots of things will be impossible to keep in the house.

There are no washers or dryers. All of those kinds of things are done by hand, either down by the stream or whatever the source of water is.184 Fetching water

There are no lights in the classrooms in the school. The children will have to see by the light that comes in through the windows. This is true for the houses as well. In the evenings everything is done by kerosene lamps, battery charged lights, or candles.

Happily, the weather there is usually warm, so furnaces are not needed – most of the time. If people are cold (and often they will be, in a way that a Canadian will never know), there is always another layer of clothing.

I have never heard anyone listening to music unless they were in a vehicle. Most of the men I know have radios, and they like to listen to the BBC in either Hausa or English, but these are all portable and battery operated. There is no TV in the villages. If you wish to work on a computer you’ll have to rely on your battery and when that runs out – well, then you stop.

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