Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The other night the electricity went out. No huge surprise there, I lit a candle and finished my night routine by candle/flashlight. The next morning when I left for the office it still hadn’t returned. I noticed that our neighbors two houses uphill (who also own a little shop right by our houses) had power, though it seemed like everyone downhill (our house included) had lost power. I got back from the office in the early afternoon and, finding it was still out, went to talk to some of our neighbors. I asked two men I ran into and they confirmed that their power had also been out since the previous evening. They told me that they were working to get it back, so I shrugged and went home. About 30 minutes later one of the guys stopped by to ask if the electricity had returned—it hadn’t. Then another 30 minutes later it came back on, hurray! A little while later I went up to the little shop to buy some things for our house. The lady who owns the shop (our neighbor whose house had never lost power) and I were having trouble seeing and counting our money in the twilight, so I told her that the power had actually returned, so she could turn on the light. She shook her head and told me that power in her shop hadn’t returned yet, and flipped the switch on and off to demonstrate. So her house never lost power, our house lost it and regained it, and her shop lost it and hadn’t regained it yet—and all of these buildings are within a 50 meter radius. This is one of the things that I find most puzzling about Mozambique. In America sometimes things happen or don’t work, but it seems there is generally a tangible reason—a fallen tree took out the power line, a water pipe is broken, etc. But here in Mozambique sometimes things happen with no apparent cause— the electricity will go out in all the houses at a certain point on the hill and return to only some of them later, the electricity will go out and come back multiple times on a sunny day, the water will come out muddy brown some days and crystal clear other days, the internet in our office will go out and return multiple times.