For anyone born before 1990 and who has attended a wedding or school dance, I hope you now have the Electric Slide tune running through your head. You’re welcome. One of the lines from that song is, “You can feel it. It’s everywhere. It’s electric, boogie woogie woogie!” We KNOW there is electricity all over Lubumbashi, but why in the world is it out of reach? I want to take you on the Shaw’s journey for electricity that started back in March.
We knew from our six weeks stay in the Rest Awhile Guesthouse that electricity was a fickle thing. You can not make plans that include her, you never know when she is going to leave the party early or not show up at all, and you celebrate every time she returns even if she’s only been away for five minutes.
I know this is not the first time that I’ve shared our struggles with not having electricity, but Nick’s herculean efforts on trying to conquer this elusive beast needs to be documented. Here is a brief synopsis of Nick’s work. We moved into our house on March 2nd. The power, being unpredictable, led us to quickly buy a generator. Said generator has been repaired once by the business where we bought it and another time by a local repairman. It is STILL not working and has a melted output plug. I think it is “generating” more frustration than electricity.
Solar power is more sustainable and a much better long-term solution so off we went to our Jambo Mart to purchase a small system. Celebration! The refrigerator never lost power and Nick wired in some lights and a plug to charge electronics. I felt like Congolese royalty. Life was good until a fluke thunderstorm in September took out 3 of the 4 panels and the inverter box. A week later and at great expense the system was back up and running…or so we thought. Last Sunday the box started smoking like an 80’s hair band and had to be unceremoniously shut-down! Currently we are waiting on a part that is “on a truck.” We’re not counting the seconds until then…
Our third form of electricity, and what should be the most reliable, is the power company. Since arriving here, we have paid the electric company to run a second incoming line, we have had an electrician come to the house three separate times to try and get things working and replace melted breakers and had the second (new) line repaired already. This last event happened on Wednesday and our guard got involved because he was unhappy with the electrician not sharing the profit with him, cops were called, and ultimately the power is back on.
Not to be snarky, but I hope this sounds as ridiculous to you all as it feels to us. We KNOW plenty of people go through life without electricity and we understand there is beauty in that. I’m sure given time and the proper mindset, we too could embrace this lifestyle, but we have yet to give up the desire to be plugged in. (Keep in mind without electricity there is no hot water coming out of the shower and our fridge no longer is cold – thus our food goes bad). Nick joked last week that Congo is trying to oust us, but we refuse to leave! Though the struggle sometimes feels overwhelming, we know that God gives us what we need for today. None of this can separate us from His love, even if we receive that love unbathed and in the dark.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Renee’s advance #3022491
Nick’s advance #3022490