The LEC has been going on and off on a schedule for the past few days: 11 AM to 5 PM and, 7:30 PM to midnight. It is what we call "load shedding" in Pakistan.
Today, the LEC broke with this schedule and, it is really nice to be sitting at home without the hum of the generator. Let's hope it doesn't go off in the evening, too. I wonder which Sunday movie is going to be on tonight on M-NET 1.
It goes without saying that one spends a lot of one's time worrying, stressing and, thinking about electricity and water:
- Is the LEC on? How many units do we still have?
- Is that a power surge? Switch everything OFF!!!
- Turn on the generator! Turn off the AC first.
- Please make me a cup of tea but turn off one of the ACs since we can't turn the kettle on at the same time while the generator is on.
- Is the LEC still out? Oh my God, I can't stand the generator hum. F*** the LEC! I hate this place. What am I doing in this godforsaken place?
- Don't forget to service the generator this weekend.
- No, we can't turn on the microwave; we are on generator.
- The LEC is back! Switch the breaker back to the LEC. Oh my God, the breaker just burnt. It's Christmas tomorrow. Where will we find an electrician on Christmas day?
- Here is $ 20.00 and please go and re-fuel the generator.
- Why is the generator not coming on? Go and, get a technician from Hi-Tech. Why do I need to change all those parts. Make sure you test the generator before you pay him.
- Patience, create a separate file for LEC.
And, here are some memorable moments concerning water which like electricity you don't even think about in other countries:
- Haresh, I had a dream about LWS and I was cursing them.
- For 2 years, we haven't had running water in our pipes.
- Guess what, Master Trading folks told me that they asked LWS to cut off the building's line because they keep coming up with bogus bills. But I wish they had asked the rest of the tenants.
- Christiana is saying the water level is low so we must call the water truck, Haresh.
- Farzana, please give $ 20.00 to Emmanuel so he can give it to Christiana at the house for the water truck.
- Haresh, it's 7 PM and the water truck still hasn't come round.
- Farzana, let's just buy gallons of water for tonight because Hussein is not answering his phone.
- Please turn off the water heater before you turn on the generator.
- At least we can harvest rain water during the rainy season and, not have to spend friggin' $ 20 every week on water.
- Haresh, look, the ceiling is leaking from all the rain. Remember when you were securing the outdoor AC unit and, you guys dug too deep?
- Yuck, this water is so muddy.
- "Haresh, please put some Dettol in the bathwater." "Farzana, No, it burns my eyes."
- Haresh, look those friggin' neighbour's tanks are again leaking all over the place.
- I am so used to bucket showers now.
- Friend: "When I first came to Monrovia, I used to check in to the Kendeja just to take a hot shower."
I fully appreciate that for people who are not as fortunate as me, their day to day efforts to get access to electricity and water are very very different.