Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Electric ‘marathon’

In the West, news after storms usually notes how many people are without electricity for a few days. Here the country’s power supply is so limited that most sections of the capital city (Freetown) get only sporadic electricity. Sometimes we go two or even three days (and nights) without it. You develop a rhythm around the power supply: when it comes, you plug in cell phones and computers to recharge them. And you are tempted to keep working on your computer, which I did recently.
The power came on late Saturday night (shortly after I had run our generator for a couple of hours and treated myself to a video on computer screen: Men in Black II. So I stayed up till about 2 a.m. then got up at 7 a.m. Sunday and worked straight for about eight hours on the computer, making ‘final’ changes on an edited proof of an article on Liberian human rights activism scheduled for publication in an academic journal soon.
Still the power continued – all day Sunday, all evening. And I found myself wandering around the empty apartment (Betty was temporarily in the U.S.) not wanting to go to bed while the electricity was still going. It’s a weird feeling. About 2 a.m. I finally succumbed. But at 7 the next morning the power was still on, so back to the computer for email. I was relieved when it finally went off: free at last.
(I’m writing this on battery power)

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