Sunday, June 10, 2007

Electric Avenue

As I’m sure many of you are familiar with, standards are a little different here. It’s ok to ask to borrow things from people you hardly know, the same thing (rice and beans) three times a day, seven days a week is comforting, it’s ok to speed when you have a hitch hiking policeman in you vehicle (most don’t make enough money to be able to afford cars).

And electricity is so useful, that to have it, you make do with what you can find, hence, small tree trunks for electrical poles. And barbed wire with wooden spacers in place of insulated wire.

Electrified barbed wire (only the ones in the air) kept separate by wood sticks

At the new property we currently have this arrangement. Where the lines cross the highway, it’s insulated, but at the entrance and for about 100 ft beyond, it’s barbed wire. Then, halfway between a couple of poles, insulated wire is spliced back in.

Entrance to property where the electricity is brought across road and begins being carried by barbed wire

We haven’t had any major problems in the past, but with six teenage boys moving to the property last week, we have a new need for power. Food is brought in almost daily because we don’t have strong enough or stable enough electricity for a refrigerator.

The first couple days this meant that raw chicken was delivered the night before and sat on a table until we cooked it the next day. No one has gotten sick yet, in fact they hardly think a thing of it. I cringe, but by the time lunch rolls around, I’m hungry enough it doesn’t matter to me either. It’s already normal to eat from the same pot of reheated (but not refrigerated) beans for a few days in a row.

We’re hoping to get one of the workers from the island site to come out and fix the problem temporarily in the next week or so. I’m also currently receiving and evaluating bids for the formal process of bringing 220 into the property for construction and eventual permanent use.

In the meantime, when the power went out for several hours today (which it will continue to do even after we get regular power, but eventually we’ll have a generator for those situations) it just continues to remind me what a pampered life I normally live.

Power for a computer? No problem! Recharging a cell phone? Do it whenever you want! Electricity to keep your food sanitary in a hot climate? Of course! Want your pump to run your well so you can have water? Don’t lift a finger!

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