Friday, December 26, 2008
Our apartment in Freetown and living without power
We were lucky to find a nice clean, modern two bedroom apartment in a nice neighborhood. It only has the very basic furniture but it is enough. So far the only piece we have added is a desk for Bob. You can see though that it looks like we camping out as the only decoration so far is some of my pictures on the wall. Somehow I just have not had the energy to do anymore decorating. Unfortunately there are not a lot of beautiful things, other than cloth, to buy like you find in other African countries. Or maybe I have just not found the right places to shop. But the best thing is still watching the sunsets from our balcony!
One thing we still miss living here is not having reliable power. It seems to be a pattern that we have lights from about 7pm to 7am three nights a week. On those nights we run our AC and we sleep really well. On the nights that we do not have power we run our generator until the fuel runs out and that lasts about two hours, if we don’t run too many things, like the A/C or hot water heater. It is time enough to get our computers and cell phones recharged and if we are lucky enough, time to watch a movie. I have found some rechargeable lights that work pretty well to help provide light. But mostly we live by candlelight and have romantic dinners every night.
The other day I returned to the apartment and found only half of the lights. The first time that happened I thought it was a problem with the fuses and called the landlord to fix the electrical problem. Later the staff carefully explained to me that, yes, the national power company sometimes is only on “half” or phased power. The problem with that is that the refrigerator now didn’t work. And I have had enough problems already with food spoiling. It took another day, and it was a suggestion from one of our amazing taxi drivers, to figure out that we needed to move the refrigerator to another power outlet. Fortunately we just needed to move it across the room to work. But actually the fridge is pretty useless when it is only on, maybe 12 hours out of 48 as I have learned the hard way. Now we only cook enough for 1 or two days but that also means I need to shop almost every day. And I can’t buy any refrigerated items that I can’t finish in a day or two. This has not been easy for me to learn and so I have thrown out a lot of good food due to spoiling… and in a country where many people do not have enough to eat. Now today we learned that it was really an electrical problem within the building. So much for blaming everything on the national power company!!