Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Powerful but parched

I know it's not about me, but this power and water situation is making me a crazy ball of stress, especially since the water hasn't been on even long enough for us to fill our buckets since Sunday, so we have nearly emptied the cans stashed around our house, and the seeds I planted are surely choking to death.

The power has been on for an hour or two at a time, at least, but we're learning that we would choose running water over lights, especially since we have no idea if there's a borehole or well within walking or biking distance, so when we run out completely we're going to be screwed. The poor neighborhoods have public spigots (you pay to fill your buckets), but we live in a relatively rich area where there's nothing.

Since there's no local newspaper, the only sources of information are the radio and the rumor mill. We've heard all sorts of fanciful rationales for the problem, ranging from weeds overtaking a dam to the power company diverting all the nation's electricity to the rich people in Lusaka and Southern province instead of here. Nobody knows (or will say) if power will be restored full time or if we'll continue to get an hour or two a day indefinitely. Last year it was on one day and off the next. We hear even the local power utility doesn't know what's going on.

If you're lucky enough to still have local media, especially those fierce newspaper watchdogs, be thankful that you have a way to find out the truth about what's going on in your community.
I can testify that a lack of knowledge and accountability is enough to drive you bonkers.

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