Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Perplexing Botswana Observation #987

There are many things that, even after 1,075 days in Botswana, continue to confound me. For instance, in a country where sunshine prevails approximately 360 days per year, why not turn to solar power to charge the nation?

While this thought has perplexed me for some time, it is at the forefront of my mind these days because the entire country has been without electricity for nearly a week now. Yes, that's right, in darkness.

Why? you might ask. Because Botswana imports its power from South Africa.

South Africa has its own supply issues and has been clamoring to Botswana to address its own needs because they would need to cut back on delivery in favor of addressing its own needs. In other words, get your act together Botswana because we can't provide you power forever.

So, when the darkness came, it wasn't a surprise. We knew power would become more and more scarce and we expected load shedding to become commonplace. But when the power didn't come back for twelve hours and then twenty-four and then longer, we knew something else must have been the problem.

Rumors started circulating but one always sprang to the top: someone at the power plant in South Africa left the coal out in the rain so they can't use it until it dries up.


Africa is a funny place. It makes me smile that something as simple as "the coal was left out" is reason for an entire nation to be without power. Indefinitely. And few are crying out about it. It is a much simpler place here in Botswana.

I laughed a little and then gathered my things and came to my boyfriend's apartment because he is one of the lucky few (very few) that has a generator. Which is how I am typing this post to you now. Oh life. TIA.

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