Jan 5, 2013

Blackout!

Out go the lights, again

Car headlights light the way home

Power cuts are just part of life here. I would estimate that this past term saw an outage about once every two weeks — sometimes for a few hours, sometimes the whole day. It’s unpredictable, and you just have to roll with it.

The kids study in the cafeteria, which has an emergency generator
Drinking beer by candlelight

Part of rolling with it is making sure the students get enough study time in. During one particular power outage (coincidentally, the water had been out all day the day before), Peter and I decided to cope by going into town for dinner with the hope that the electricity would be on by the time we got back.

No such luck.

We returned to a brigade of teachers illuminating a passage for the students with flashlights and headlights. The kids were all trucking their books from the dark classrooms to the emergency-generator lit cafeteria. This was prime homework time, and there was no reason to miss out on it just because it was dark.

We walked through the cafeteria to get home, and witnessed the excited chaos of a routine interrupted. Kids had all their books out, but were taking their time getting settled into work. As we walked by, they called out and waved excitedly to us. It felt a little bit like celebrities visiting the displaced in a storm shelter. It was definitely an “our life is so weird” moment.

At home, we poured beers by flashlight and lit emergency candles, resigning ourselves to a technology-less night. And then, a little more than three hours after everything flickered out dead, and directly after we sat down, the lights were back on. That’s just how it goes.