Thursday, February 9, 2012

Guavas in the garden

Yesterday morning, the water was out at home. That's fine, I thought, I can go one morning without a shower, can't I? This never happens back home, how exciting! (I'm told this excitement will soon give way to anger, denial, and finally, acceptance.)

Then I got to work, and found the power was out and had been for a while. All the backup power sources had drained and, consequently, all the computers were dead and the office had heated up to an ambient temperature best described at this point as "pleasantly warm".

My laptop battery died around 10am, and by lunchtime, although the office temperature had probably not increased significantly since morning, I was ready to describe the conditions as "sweltering". As a result, I decided to tag along on an outing with Dan, and captured what is perhaps a very uniquely African photo: 
Standing in the CEO's garden, inspecting a generator
and eating guavas freshly picked off a nearby tree.
The power came back in the office around 2pm, but the water was still out when I got home a few hours later. When Katrina and Gavin came home, we drove over to their friend Maria's house to shower and stock up on water. It's always nice to see the sense of community that comes out at times like this - not only did I get invited along, we also stocked up on water for the neighbours and the household staff. It was too dark for me to get a good picture of this, but imagine the back of a Ford Ranger filled with an assortment of pails, jerry cans, bottles, and plastic tubs. One of the staff was riding along in the back with all this, too.

The containers were all filled to the brim at Maria's, and of course, the subsequent trip along African roads had reduced most to under half-full by the time we reached home. The water eventually came back shortly before I went to bed.


  1. Impressive that you manage to consistently take this kind of thing in stride.

    What's the internal process that keeps it stable in these moments? For me, if I woke up and found that the water and the power weren't working, I would probably spend the rest of the day trying to grumpily insist and goad them back into operation.

  2. As I've been telling the Malawians, my instinctual reaction to these situations is still firmly rooted in a Canadian context. Power outage at work = "woohoo, day off!". Water outage = "it's like I'm camping!".

    One day this feeling will disappear, and when no water comes out of the taps I will have some sort of violent breakdown in my bathroom. (I'll try to get a picture of that, too, so we can see the progression). :)