Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Beautiful Sight to Behold

Introducing:  The Newest (And Probably Most Loved) Member of Our Family

After living here for almost 8 years, we finally caved and bought a generator. 

It was a struggle.  After all, we always told ourselves that since so many people never have electricity, why was it so hard for us to endure power outages?  Buying a generator definitely makes us feel weak.  And discontent.  And demanding. 

But we finally decided it was the right thing to do.  We do a lot of ministry in our house.  We host Youth Group every Friday night; we have people here for dinner at least twice a week; we host overnight guests all the time.  30 teenagers in the dark....nothing good can happen then. 

And you know what?  It's hot here.  It's kind of a defining sort of hot.  Like, you ask someone, "How are you doing?"  And he answers, "Well, I'm hot."  That's the standard answer.  It's the first thing that comes to your mind when asked to describe your state of mind.  It's like Florida in the summer, but it lasts six months...or longer.  My face is always shiny; my hair is always in a pony tail.  So fans are a basic necessity to function.  If you really want to be productive, air conditioning is the way to go...but these days, I'll settle for even fans.

Tanzania always has power problems.  But this year....this year will go down in history.  People are saying, "It hasn't been this bad since 2006."  Power rationing started over three months ago.  Meaning, the power doesn't just go off when a line goes down or something goes wrong.  It means the power goes off because the power company cuts it off--it can't produce enough electricity for the country.  And it's increasingly gotten worse.  Now, it's like clockwork.  Every other day, it's off from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, and on the other days it's off from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm. 

I have to tell you, it's rough right now.  For months, the power problems were the first thing anyone talked about.  Our students complained about it on Facebook every day.  Now, people are just tired.  Hot, tired, and worn out.  People don't talk about it anymore because what else is there to say?  We just look tired.  We don't sleep as well; we don't work as well.   HOPAC has a generator which can only run the lights and fans--no air conditioning.  And on days like these, that makes teaching really, really hard.  You can't keep anything in the fridge; unless you have a gas stove, you can't cook.  You have to constantly be thinking about plugging in your phone or your computer to keep them charged.

But of course, that's nothing compared to how it's affecting all the small businesses in the country.  The tailors, the welders, the carpenters, the mechanics.  There's a small store down the road which I like to frequent; they lost their entire freezer of ice cream.  You know what that does financially to a small store like that?  It's discouraging and disheartening to see.

I can't tell you how much our generator has made a difference in our lives in the last few weeks.  I can't run it all day; gas is too expensive.  But I turn it on for 3 hours during the day so that Josiah can nap and I can get some work done and do some laundry.  And we run it when the cuts come in the evenings.  It's helped our stress levels significantly and I am so thankful God provided the means to buy it.  But our country is in a crisis--a hot, slow, suffocating crisis, and it's hard to wait for relief. 
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