feeding my own misguided insanity

Two Generators are not Enough

Electricity is somewhat of a scarcity in parts of Africa, and as road-warriors — irrespective of how large the batteries are — we’re on a constant quest to find that next charging station to power our phones, laptops and other sanity-aiding devices.

On this particular day the power had been out since 10:30am and it didn’t look like it’s going to come back on at all. A quick trip to the front desk informed me that due to power-shedding the electricity won’t be back until after 6pm.

Not exactly something I was willing to hear considering that after 5 hours of heavy computing, my primary and secondary batteries were dead, plus I’ve a deadline tomorrow morning.

Shem: You have a big generator in the garden, why don’t you turn it on?

Hotel: We can’t, only the manager knows how to turn it on.

Shem: Please call the manager, we can’t be without power any longer.

Hotel: I can try to call him, but he’s not at the hotel.

Shem: Yes, I half expected this — please call him on his mobile.

*Calls the manager*

Hotel: The manager would like to speak to you.

Shem: Hello, how are you?

Manager: I hear you want us to start the generator?

Shem: Yes, I have work to do and my batteries are almost dead. Please come and start the big generator in the garden.

Manager: You know it’s a question of economics, the big generator costs almost 100,000 shillings in fuel per half hour, it’s not practical.

Shem: Then start the small generator, I need to charge my laptop and phone — reliable power is the only reason people stay at your hotel and pay these ridiculous sums of money.

Manager: Please let me talk to the girl at the front desk.

*I pass back the phone to the girl. She nods her head, hangs up the lets out a scream to summon the gardeners*

Hotel: They will turn on the small generator, but it will only power the office so you will have to charge your laptop using that power point.

Shem: No problem, I can even work from here while it charges.

*The gardeners descend onto the small generator with hammers, spare batteries and corrugated sheeting*

[40 minutes later]

Shem: I’m guessing by the silence and continued beeping of my phone that the generator is still not working?

*Four gardeners are bending over the generator with hammers beating something to death*

Hotel: I’m very sorry for this, they can’t seem to start it.

*Grinding noise emanating from the generator*

Shem: What’s the problem, maybe I can have a look at it?

*Waaaoooooooohhhhh, Waaaoooooohhhhh, Waaoooohhhh, Waooh, W — *

Hotel: The starter battery is dead, they have gone to get another one.

Shem: Ok, but how much longer do you think before they get it started?

Hotel: Very soon.

[20 minutes later]

*Hotel girl sees me approaching*

Hotel: They are just finishing fitting the other battery.

Shem: Excellent, in that case I’ll have a coffee while I wait.

[15 minutes later]

*Waaaoooooooohhhhh, Waaaoooooohhhhh, Waaoooohhhh, Waooh, W — *

Shem: That doesn’t sound good, sounds like that battery is dead too.

Hotel: They told me that they need to charge it first, they will plug it in and in half an hour they will try to start it again.

*I look at the girl strangely*

Shem: Charge if from what?…

, , , , Africa, Humour, Travel

One Comment → “Two Generators are not Enough”

  1. Johan S 12 years ago   Reply

    Too bad you didn’t have a car charger for your cell phone or laptop .. may be a good idea to get one (there are always cars around).

    What kind of battery did the generator need anyway?

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