Thursday, February 2, 2012
John had students here today so both schools were operating. While at lunch in our house, John smelled something burning--burning plastic. This is not an infrequent happening here, so we tracked it down to the switch to the cooker and the hotplates. It takes a special switch to handle the voltage demands of stoves and things, and this one was about to burst into flames. We got it under control and Shaban was able to replace the melted cords and put in a new switch. At factories all over the world, quality control workers kick out things that are not up to snuff. You've seen this in many TV shows about how things are made. What they don't show you is that all the items pulled off the line are boxed up and sent to third world countries. This is especially true of Chinese products and medicines. We have to be very careful when we buy things--this is why we go to Nairobi to get some medications. Usually, if the product is from Japan, it is pretty good. Also, we have to protect all electric appliances with voltage regulators which are then plugged into surge protectors which are then plugged into battery back up devices (expensive, but otherwise we can lose all our computers, TV, DVD player, etc. The national power company cannot produce continuous current at 220 volts, sometimes it drops to 200 and sometimes it surges to 350. There are times we have to run the generator because we are getting too much current and it trips all our circuit breakers. Just some of the joys of living on the edge. You get used to it, you really do, but it comes as a big surprise to a lot of newcomers.