Let There be Light

>> Monday, June 25, 2007

Last Sunday afternoon just a little bit after Paul left to go back to his town, everyone in my family suddenly and spontaneously migrated to the street and called me to follow them. For some unknown reason, two power lines in our street just fell down (one pulled the other down). That same morning a big tree in the same street had just fallen over, so I really thought that there was going to be some catastrophic earthquake right on my block… nine days later, however, I’m still here. What was not here for a long time, however, was the electricity on our block. I’m pretty sure that they called the electricity company on the second or third day, but my host mom told me they said it would be another five days to get new poles from Managua.

The next step, then, was that my host brother called a Nicaraguan news channel to tell them about what happened. Apparently the best way to get someone like an electricity company to do something is to shame them into doing it by embarrassing them on the news. Tuesday someone told me that it was on the news that our block hadn’t had power for several days (obviously I couldn’t watch the news myself) and Wednesday my host mom said she heard that they'd be coming on Thursday. The electricity company did come, and it was a community event. My host mom told me to go down and watch with my host niece and nephew, Claudia and Williamcito, and she told me to bring my camera to take some pictures, so I gladly obliged.

This is the look down the street from my house. You can see the two fallen poles and the small crowd gathering by the repair truck.

Here's another shot of the crowd on one corner sitting to watch the action.

The funny thing is that it’s not really that big of a deal… it wasn’t like in Springfield when the power went out for a week in the winter and we had no heat; here it’s not like there’s air conditioning anywhere anyway. The only real difference is that after it gets dark around 6:00 every night, the evenings are unbelievably boring. I talk a lot with my family, but really a person can really only say “¡Hace calor!” so many times each day. The only real good to come from the situation is that my headlamp is quite the commodity and I have definitely gotten my money’s worth this week alone.
For some reason, instead of coming early in the morning to take advantage of the light, the electric company crew didn't come until about 4:00 in the afternoon, which left them with only about an hour and a half of light. My host mom told me that they were working until 2:00 in the morning trying to get everything put back together. Last weekend I stayed with Paul, and I was sure that everything would be fixed and the light would be back by the time I returned to my pueblo on Sunday; I was so wrong. They had fixed the electricity for everyone else but my family, so we were the only house without power. Doña Petrona decided that enough was enough so she had William (who is an electrician) hook us up to "borrow" electricity directly from the line yesterday afternoon. Finally, the electricity company came back today (Monday-day nine of the electricity crisis at our house) and fixed it once and for all (I hope).


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