Monday, November 14, 2011


Someone asked me recently what I miss most about the States, other than the obvious friends and family. I answered, "Consistent power."

I don't mean 24/7 electricity. That's a luxury for my other life and frankly, I am completely comfortable living without it for periods of time. No, when I say consistent power, I mean that I want it to happen in a reliable fashion so that I know more or less when I will have power and when I won't. So that I can put food in my fridge without wondering if it will rot the next day. So that I can see if my feet are still dirty after my nightly bucket shower. So that I can write a blog post now and then.

In Haiti, most of us are at the mercy of EDH: Electricite Nationale d'Haiti. It's the government-controlled power grid and it is fantastically unreliable. I joke that it is directed by a cynical little man (in my mind he's about 5 feet tall with a pointy beard and beady little black eyes) who sits at a switch board, messing with our minds and our lives.

"Heeheeheehee, let's give Delmas a little bit of power. And oops! Let's turn it off again! Hahahahaha! How did you like that, people?"

Backing up my theory of the evil little man is the vocabulary used in Creole to describe electricity. In English we say that "we lost power" and "we got power back", but in Creole we say, "they took power and "they gave us power"." It certainly adds to the persecution mindset.

In truth, this fall has been one of the best seasons for power. In my neighborhood, they've been giving us electricity nearly 16 hours a day quite consistently since September. Sure, we had a little 9 day hiatus in mid-September with no power at all, but I'd gotten accustomed to a functional fridge and charged telephone and internet possibilities. And then our transformer blew. That was 2 1/2 weeks ago and today is the first day that I've finally had power. It's weak, only strong enough to run a laptop or charge a phone. The fridge can't run, the fans can't run, and for reasons unknown the non-electricity-savvy me, it has blown 4 lights and 2 sets of Christmas lights in my house since coming on last night.

I guess we'll stick with the candles for a little longer.

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