Around 18:45 on the evening of Wednesday, 1 December 2021, the power in our Pretoria neighborhood ceased. We learned a substation burned, which led to the failure.
Where we stay we are accustom to periodic load shedding, otherwise known as rolling brown outs, to balance the systematic irregular supplies versus constant demands.
We make do with the resources in hand. We have learned this lesson time and again over the years. For what we have in hand we have become remarkably grateful.
We have passed seven (7) full days from the time the power stopped. It is the 04:00-hour of Thursday, 9 December. We are resilient. Yet, we are human. Each time we made plans to charge the simplest mobile phone or battery pack, let alone our laptops and lanterns, it has been one interesting experience after another.
My first response was, “This is simple. Let us pack the vehicle and head for the ocean.” Alas, that was not a viable option. We braved the first few days with the hope of using our relatives’ house. Lo and behold when their house became available their power failed, which was two (2) days ago.
Now we continue to sit in the complete dark during the night. We have no electricity. Nothing of our first world living standards and home are available for our comfort and use. We must makeshift bathing and drinking coffee. We must buy dry ice for the refrigerator and freezer at a steeper cost than our electric bill. We must be creative in keeping ourselves occupied without over thinking.
This is uncomfortable at best. We must simply manage what we face. The buzzing generators have become in part white noise, but their grinding now and again wears on the body.
One of the more humorous episodes was Tuesday, 7 December. We have no power. Our relatives’ house has no power. My laptop needs charging for Wednesday’s usage. I am considering the options.
Karien, Amalie, Kailey and I go to our estate clubhouse to buy food from the vendor. Whilst there the lady who helps with the estate management informs us that the clubhouse is open 07:00 — 20:00 for people to use for electricity, as there is a sizable generator producing adequate power. I am grateful!
We return to our house for our meal. I say, “Karien, let me move, so I can start charging.” I go to the clubhouse. Lo and behold the outlets have tripped! There is no way to charge anything! Now I must rethink everything.
I call my friend, Frederik, who happens to be at the gym and only home by about 19:00, which is 30 minutes later. He said he will let me know when he is en route. Interim I go to the mall next to our estate. And here comes the in part comic relief kicker.
Within perhaps three (3) minutes at most from paying for my Starbucks venti Americano, and having found a seat with a power outlet, there is a blackout!
What could I do?
By then it was day number six (6).
I packed up laughing.
I was in shock.
This is and was a freaking weird situation.
At any rate, the people behind the counter waited a while to see whether power would return. There was no movement. They offered me an ice tea in lieu of the Americano I so desperately wanted. I drove to Frederik and powered my devices.
Now having begun day number eight (8), I venture to say we are at a loss of words. Are we resilient? Yes, over the years we have learned resilience. Having two (2) children and two (2) dogs in what is supposed to be a nicer neighborhood, we pay a premium for electricity and location, it would be great to have the service accompany the premiums!
And here is where the story becomes more interesting. Yesterday, Wednesday, 8 December, we remain in the same situation. Around 20:00 I go to the clubhouse to charge. The security officer at the gate directs me to the lapa, as he will close the clubhouse soon. The lapa stays open on the larger generator until 22:00.
I greet two (2) young men sitting on the counter with their phones plugged into a power surge protector. They allow me to plug my power surge protector into theirs, as the other power outlet is not working. We all three (3) start to chat.
Along comes a younger man. We discover he happens to be a teenager in the high school across from our main gate. He is very much engaging in a good way. His social manners are nice.
An older man came to charge his laptop and phone. The other two (2) young men departed. The older man, teenager and I had a fascinating discussion about life. That aside it was great.
The older man departed. The teenager, age 16, remained. And then I knew as I felt prompted to talk with him about Jesus from the time he sat, we were able to do so. He then fully and genuinely committed his heart to Jesus!
As for the power: Welcome to the twenty first (21st) century! We hope electricity will be on by Sunday, 12 December 2021 — not 2022!
As for Jesus’ Power: Amen. Thank you. We praise GOD!
Blessings in The Most High