Sunday, October 14, 2007

Too Little...Too Much

Ft Portal is currently undergoing EST. Electricity Shortage Torture. ("Torture" is obviously my own description.) Several months ago, UMEME (the only power company in Uganda) announced that they had to repair a major fault in the Ft Portal power lines and it would take some months. Months. They set a schedule to turn off our power at 7 am and then turn it back on at 7 pm. Everyday. But, unfortunately, they have misrepresented the truth. They rarely turn the power on at 7pm. In fact, it is quite impossible to share the schedule with you. It is a WWAGAR schedule. ("Whenever we are good and ready...") The power often comes after 9pm and goes off again at random hours in the night and early morning.
Which means we are getting very little usable power... unless, I become a complete night owl and never sleep...

To magnify the problem, our house is hooked up to an old, overused transformer which is known to catch on fire. Yep. You read that right. Fire.

When our transformer sparks and shoots out fire, our house looses power. So when the rest of town is using their already limited power, we sit in the dark. And think the loveliest thoughts. ☺

Two weeks ago, as we were preparing for a much needed trip to the capital city, our transformer spouted fire and we sat in the dark. For 4 days. We are a family of six, which means the already overwhelming laundry pile was growing exponentially while we waited for the power to be fixed. (We did wash some clothes out by hand...but that process was also thwarted by the unbelievable deluge of rain...hand washed clothes do not dry out well in such wet, moist weather.)

On Saturday night, our power came back on! Praise! I turned on the washer and the dryer and thanked the Lord for whatever minutes of washing we could accomplish.

Which wasn’t very many.

Our lights started buzzing. The power was spiking so high, our breakers were blowing like crazy. I stopped all the machines…but not soon enough.

On Sunday morning, when the power came back on again at normal volts, my dryer and my washing machine would not work.

To understand the depths of my grief…you need to read my past posts…here and here.
These washing and drying machines have been long awaited in my life and have brought me the greatest joy. That UMEME, who I already have more issues with than I can communicate politely on this blog, may have taken these precious ones from me…
makes me think words I shouldn’t.


My tired brain has been on overload following a difficult season of ministry…so all I could do was pray desperate prayers for the healing of our machinery …unplug them…and quietly shut the door. God’s will be done.

I squeezed out water from the dripping wet washing machine load and hung those clothes out with the still wet load from the dryer. Then packed dirty clothes for our trip. Sigh.

In the power spike of that day and the previous weeks we have lost a TV, a microwave, washer and dryer and our inverter.

That is a rather long and discouraging list.

There is a bright side:

Our computers are still functioning--for which we are very thankful.
And we have solar equipment on the way in a sea container.

Which will get us off the spiking, machine destroying, rarely working grid...


Joshua and Julie Marcum said...

So, so sorry. I can only imagine the depths of your frustration! I will pray for peace of mind and for a quick arrival for your container - and naturally that the power company will get everything working normally again quickly - QUICKLY!

Aimee Jo said...

I'm really, really sorry. I can only imagine how much laundry is piling up at your house.
I hope that you get the solar equipment soon (and that the rain goes away, so the solar equip will actually work!)
I'm so sorry. I know you are frustrated, and rightfully so.
I will be praying that your time in Kampala is refreshing and full of clean clothes!

Diane said...

Oh, Cheryl,
How well I understand (except for the part about having 4 kids' & their dirty laundry!) Maybe those early missionaries really did have the best system...just hire a full time laundry person to bend over a tub of water all day and wash clothes by hand. Except when those persons got sick, or had a funeral or there was no water or....I feel for you. Diane

Randy & Kelly Vaughn said...

Oh Cheryl, I am so sorry. I know this life so well...the frustration and my awful thoughts in the night when this would happen and the fatigue and question of now that we have power at 2 AM must I get up and accomplish something, knowing the answer is yes....Bless you!

Love you so much....offering many heart prayers for you.

Anonymous said...

I am praying for you friend!! I struggle with my attitudes too when the power is on and off. But, it's never been that bad in Kara! Especially the power surges and fires...oh my!! May God give you His peace that passes all understanding right now. You are on my mind!!! Love you!!

Cathy said...

oh my, I can only add that my prayers are continually with you. Every time I put in a load of laundry, I thank God for our electricity and running water. I recently attended a presentation given by a couple who served with Mercy ships in Liberia...they lived for several months without running water and "no" electricity. I know that my understanding of this is sooooo limited and yours is so great. I know that God's hand is upon you at all times. And, remember, it's probably ok for the kids to wear dirty clothes a little while. I'm thinking that as my little grandaughter, Jaiden, has just landed in the bathtub for the 3rd time today...with her diaper on, no less! Potty training looms "soon" I love you guys and am praying for your continued well being.

Steve Maxwell said...

Man oh Man! Cheryl, I am sorry to hear that. You are continually in our prayers and I have to say that you and your families work in Africa is a huge inspiration to me. God bless you.