Continuing Power Outages

I know it is a continuing theme of my posts but it is a reality here in Gaborone these days.

Once again for the past two days the power has gone off in the afternoon not to be switched back on until 10:00 pm. This is a switch on time that seems to be getting gradually later and later. Previous Monday & Tuesday outages at least allowed for me prepare and eat my dinner by 9:15 or so. This 10 pm is really a pain especially when the power goes out well before it is time to prepare a meal.

As much as I am complaining about these outages, I have to admit that I am coping with them much better than some Batswana that I know. My coping skills no doubt were honed by living on Prince Edward Island, a tiny island off of the east coast of Canada. Growing up on this island in a very rural community situated directly on the north shore (we have amazing water views and shore front for sale!) you became very accustomed to winter, spring and fall storms knocking power out for days sometimes weeks at a time.

In the winter there are often blizzards and snow storms that make venturing out impossible…in fact I was just talking to my parents and my mom was saying how they are getting snow storm after storm right now and it is almost the end of March. During my childhood sometimes the snow would pile up so high that it was virtually impossible for the very large snow plows to cut even a path through them. If you lost power it often took days for the electricity crews to make their way through the snow to fix the problem.

Spring time in on PEI can bring similar power challenges only this time it is the result of ice storms. I can remember that the spring five years ago brought a major ice storm that knocked out our power for more than a week. Luckily I was able to shower at work everyday!

And fall can bring hurricanes or major wind storms that also bring down the power lines. So as you can see the Gaborone power outages really are old hat to me! It is very nice to know that some of my adaptive skills learned in Canada come in handy here in Africa.

Well it is time to go and finish preparing my dinner….it is so nice to actually eat hot food at a reasonable time.

Hot vs Cold

On Thursday, Prince Edward Island experienced the coldest day in 66 years. With wind chill it was close to minus 40. While here in Gaborone it was close to 40 degrees. In fact, when I came home from work it felt to hot to even go for a swim! Today’s forecast in Gaborone is projected to be even hotter.

Temperatures across Canada are setting record lows. I read on-line that a town in Saskatchewan set a record on Wednesday of minus 55. When I told Tabuche this and how cold it was on PEI yesterday his response (in all seriousness)  was “are people still alive”?

So to all of my Canadian friends and loved ones. Stay warm!

But I do have to confess that I would much rather be sweating here than experiencing the coldest winter in Canada. In fact, I have been causing a fair bit of chaos (of course) for the last couple of weeks around Gabs. Last week I went to Barclay’s Bank with Lawrence as it is one of the banks here that I can actually access my Canadian bank accounts. Well, I finished long before Lawrence concluded his business for Bonaso.

So I wandered outside. It was a nice day, warm but not too hot. There lots of clouds and the sun was not shining directly on me. It was perfect. Well, first Lawrence came zooming out to haul me back in side and he told me to sit and wait for him. You can guess how I responded to that!

Okay, at first I went meekly but the last thing that I wanted to do was sit and patiently wait in the lovely metal rows of chairs in the bank. So when Lawrence was busy back at the counter, I headed for the door again. Standing outside soaking in the lovely temperatures and the busyness of the area,  I was then approached by a police officer. After exchanging greetings in Setswana, he got right to the point. “What was I doing standing there?” Thinking that he thought my behaviour suspicious for lurking outside of a major bank, I quickly assured him that I was just waiting for someone to conclude their business inside in the bank.

Well, just Lawrence, he wanted to escort me right back inside. He expressed real concern that I was standing outside in the heat when I should be inside in air conditioned comfort. I explained this to him: If I was back in Canada I would likely be experiencing knee deep snow, I would be wearing heavy winter boots, a hat (okay, not likely for me but he doesn’t know that!), a scarf, heavy gloves and an even heavier winter coat. Why would I not be enjoying the seasonable temperatures of Gaborone. After hearing that diatribe he assured me that he could now understand my perspective and wished well in Gaborone!

I have also been chastened by Tabuche a couple of times this past week for waiting for him outside. Until he heard about the record cold temperatures, I don’t think he quite comprehended why I am happy to be outside here. And I even have to admit that yesterday’s heat and no clouds ensured that I was waiting in covered shade for Tabuche when he came to take me home! He was very pleased that I was behaving so well!