Friday, December 25, 2009

The Fire

Tonight Ann and I began our weekly cooking sessions, cooking dinner in my room. Ann had bought a two-burner electric stove that we had used this morning to make eggs with no incidents. However, tonight we attempted to use both burners at the same time, for the first time. Since we had bought the stove in Inhambane and it was made in South Africa (like literally everything else here), it never crossed our minds that we needed to take any electrical precautions, other than the adaptor so we could plug it in here. Well we were wrong. One burner was fine. As soon as we turned on the second burner, a fire started in one of the other outlets of the extension cord, the cord of the extension cord burned through and broke, and then a fire started in the wall socket where the extension cord was plugged in. At first it was just sparking and popping so I assumed it would go out on its own, so we were just trying to stay out of range of the flying sparks. Then a real fire began in the wall socket. Ann, in her panic, was running around trying to find a fire extinguisher (I’m pretty sure they don’t exist here). Idora, one of the Spanish volunteers ran in to see what all the commotion was and said to dump water on the fire. Ann and I hesitated at first because we thought we weren’t supposed to put water on an electrical fire, but the fire was getting bigger so that seemed to be the only option. Luckily the water put the fire out immediately. Other than the embarrassment of having to tell the sisters that I had started a fire in my room, we were incredibly fortunate that Ann learned the she can’t use both burners of her stove in my house, and not in hers. If we had learned that lesson in her house we would have burnt it down.

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