Monday, January 24, 2011

Here comes the blackout

One of the most irritating things about living in a developing country is power and water, well rather the lack of it. This may sound flippant, that I value amenities above human rights, the plight of refugees, wide spread poverty etc. But I’m human, and more to the point a human that has grown up in Britain, a country in which power and water are largely taken for granted.*

Officially these black outs are referred to as ‘load shedding’, it’s just a shame that it seems the further from Kampala you are the more you have to suffer the burden of darkness. So living in Kabale, in the very south west of the country means it’s dark rather a lot of the time. It’s not just that when there’s no electricity gone are the lights, computers, ability to charge your phone, but when the power goes off so does the water. Perhaps this is just something that happens here, I’m not sure if this is country-wide. It wouldn’t even be so bad that when the power returned, voila, so did the water, but this also doesn’t happen. It can be hours even days sometimes before water returns. Somewhere along the line the system has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

In the run up to Christmas we had a total of about 24 hours of power in just over a week. Sadly the water situation was even worse; we perhaps had an hour of water spread out over the course of a week. Of course we resorted to getting jerry cans of water but tossing water down the toilet is not a viable alternative to flushing it and trying to wash your hair in freezing water a couple of inches deep does not leave you with hair you want to whip about the place whilst proudly announcing that you’re worth it.

If I were eligible to vote in the upcoming elections it would be the person promising me fewer blackouts that would get my vote. Yes, health care, infrastructure and a commitment to tackling corruption are important, but after a good shower don’t you feel much more inclined to take on the world and its problems? I know I do.

* and of course I care about these things too, I'm not entirely heartless


  1. Well I knew you had power outages, but I didn't realise it was that bad. I thought you had at least some power and water every day, not going days with either. I would definitely vote for the person who promised more power and water.
    Love the song by the way, very apt. Go Stornoway!

  2. Yip, we can go days without either which can obviously be frustrating. Perhaps the most annoying thing about it is that Uganda provides Rwanda with power and they very rarely have blackouts yet here we are just 30 minutes from the border and suffering!

    Hehe, I know got to love a bit of Stornoway. Did you know that they've recently won the Xfm newcomer award - very nice ey?