Sunday, 28th of July 2013
We were doing so well.. after last year, when we had power about 50% of the time, the last months were so nice. And of course no one ever says out loud that Tanesco (the national company supplying power) is doing well because then we jinx it.
But in the last week, I was without power for several hours on a daily basis. And if do you not immediately run around switching off all appliances a power surge or two after that will blow them up, all part of the service. After more than a decade of living here, I simply can not grasp the fact that this is still a reality. Get your country sorted, people, work this out! And the worst part: it has gotten worse during the years that I have been here. And the stories about what goes on behind the scene are also getting worse..
The mere facts are already quite dazzling: more than 70% of the electrical power generation comes from hydropower. Seriously? From powerplants that need water? Who came up with that great idea in this tropical country where water is always short? But the unbelievable facts and numbers do not stop there: more than 50% of the supply is for Dar es Salaam alone! And in the last decade they have tried to get more and more people on the grid so to speak because 90% of the population is not.. I guess I do not have to explain that success has been marginal and they are being left in the dark, literally.
You would think that other ways or generating power are explored more and all that aid money is put to good use? I do not have numbers and statistics on corruption but the stories are on the grapevine.. The government not caring because they make money on the diesel that most companies put in their generators. Embezzled money that was supposed to go to alternatives and so on, tragic.
There are days that I can wave if off and laugh, even think it is actually a good exercise in finding original ways of spending your time instead of watching tv and being resourceful.. and then there are days that I just can’t. Days that I am in the middle of something, or am faced with yet another cold shower, or after a hard’s work just want to watch tv and nothing else. Days that my bills do not go down even though I am supplied with half of the service.
Of course, we do what we can ourselves: solar boiler, generator, lamps with chargers.. But still.. Sometimes I think I am in the twilight zone: is it me or is it all the others around me? I mean, someone must be wrong, right? Maybe it is me, expecting too much when paying for something..
And then I read in the newspaper that Belgium has a heat wave and power is cheap as chips.. There, they have 2 warm months and even they take advantage of it. Here?? Twilight zone.. Telling you.