Dar es Salaam sometimes reminds me of an adolescent boy. You know, when he starts growing so fast that he doesn't know what to do with all his arms and legs, and his mind hasn't caught up to his body yet?
Well, that's our city. I can't believe how much construction is going on. How many cars are being imported. How rent prices are skyrocketing. But private business is growing so fast that government infrastructure can't keep up. I used to think that traffic was atrocious. Well, now it's, umm...really atrocious. I used to be able to leave the house any time after 8:15 am to avoid hitting traffic if I wanted to go to town (about 10 miles away). Now I have to wait until 9:00 am, and yet there still seems to be sections where there is always traffic, no matter what time of day it is. I'm not talking about freeway commute traffic--because there are no freeways. When I had to be at the embassy at 8:00 am for Josiah's interview 3 weeks ago, we left at 6:30 in the morning. To go 10 miles.
But what is worse these days is the electricity. Tanzania hasn't gotten enough rain, and since most of the power is hydro-electric, that's bad news. Couple that with a lot of mismanagement and corruption and "suddenly" the country doesn't have enough power. This happened in 2006, when the power rationing got so bad that the entire city was without electricity from 7 am to 7 pm, every day. Two weeks ago, it started again. First it was twice a week for our area--Wednesdays from 6 pm to 11 pm and Sundays from 9 am to 6 pm.
Then, Friday afternoon, it went off exactly at 4 pm and came on at 11 pm. Uh oh. Bad news. When it goes on and off so exactly like that, we know it's a cut and not just a little problem some where.
Thankfully, we didn't have Youth Group this Friday since it was HOPAC's break. But...uh, what exactly are we going to do with 40 teenagers on Friday nights with no electricity?
So, we hem and hah and sigh and try hard not to complain. Do everything without complaining or arguing. And we decided that we need to bite the bullet and buy a generator. Except that unfortunately, everyone else in the city has the same idea, so they are a little hard to come by right now. Oops.
When I get over being extremely irritated, I really end up just being sad for Tanzania. Obviously losing power for hours every other day (which could soon become every day) isn't exactly good for the economy. This is an amazing country with incredible potential. It just can't seem to get up on its feet.