Zambia is having a power crisis at the moment. It would appear that there isn’t enough power to run this country anymore, mostly due to poor planning, so now we get to experience daily ‘load-shedding’ – throughout the country people are on various schedules where we are without power for eight hours a day.
Apparently when Zambia’s mighty Kariba Dam was built in 1959 it was never supposed to power the whole country and, as it stands, it attempts to power most of it (despite the population and consumption of electricity having increased significantly in the last 57 years). Rumour has it, that the dam is in a state of disrepair as well, which is quite worrying. The rain seasons here have been quite light over the last few years which means the dam has very little water in it. I read recently it is sitting at 12% full where as at this time last year it was apparently at 53%.
Obviously Zambia as a nation is really suffering because of this. The Kwacha, our local currency, has plummeted. Food prices have shot up. The future looks very uncertain at the moment.
We’ve been incredibly fortunate in the midst of the power issues as the site we live on has a beast of a generator which for several months ran many hours a day to keep the site going during the day for the workshop and mechanics’ college.
That said, just before Christmas we got the best gift perhaps we’ve ever received. Our ah-mazing landlords had been thinking about the future and really felt an investment into solar power would be well worth it. They approached us and asked if we would like our house set up with solar power as they were looking to do that for the rest of the site. We gave a hearty ‘yes’ and less than a week later some incredibly generous friends in the UK said they’d like to pay for this for us.
So, when we got back from our holiday in December, the solar panels were beautifully adorning our roof, batteries were there being charged from the hot African sun, electrics reworked and now we have solar power. For eight hours (sometimes more, rarely less!) we rely on the sun to power our house.
Having solar power has been nothing short of fantastic/amazing/wonderful/glorious! When the main power stops, the solar power just kicks in and we can use our lights, charge our phones and computer, and generally get on with life. We can’t cook or use our washing machine but the laundry can wait and we have gas little stove for easy meals and the generator can be used if something needs to be baked.
In short, we feel incredibly grateful for the blessing of solar power.