Sunday, March 23, 2014
“Thunder and lightning are my middle name.” ― from the song “Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford (my very first 45rpm record purchase)
We had a terrible thunderstorm last night with lots of lightning. This was a particularly bad storm with strong winds and horizontal rain—the kind that takes the paint off the outsides of our buildings. This kind of storm also kills people as it destroys thatched and mud brick dwellings. It was just such a storm that caused a wall to collapse at our security guard, Amos’s house killing his three-year-old daughter. It is hard to be thankful for being safe and dry, knowing that so many others around us are suffering. Of course, as usual, during thunderstorms, the power went out. Normally, the power company turns off the power before the lightning begins to strike, but last night they were caught with their pants down, and the lightning took out several large transformers, so the power went out completely around one in the morning. We heard the generator start up, and I rolled over and went back to sleep. Sleep was not to be had however, thanks to some wonderful chili that John had made the night before and which thought I would enjoy a revisit with it in the middle of the night. I didn’t enjoy the revisit, but the chili was worth it. So, I was up and playing video football when the generator went down. Turns out it cannot run without petrol (gasoline for you Americans). As soon as it was light, I was able to send our worker Charles (he called to see if we needed him) to town to buy more petrol. We hope to have the generator up and working again in the next hour or so before the stuff in the freezer starts to thaw. Our local power workers are pretty good, but even they can’t do much when several transformers blow at once. We may be on the generator for a day or more. We rest it for an hour every ten hours, and after a long run like today’s, we change the oil and put in a new spark plug. The generator, which is called “Mikey” after Mike Flanagan in Boston who gave us the money to buy it about five years ago, still runs like a top. We went through two generators, trying to save money on their cost, and ended up spending a whole lot more, so Mike’s gift of $3,500 came out of the blue and has been blessing us ever since. We are working with a solar company out of California by way of Musoma to at least put our whole house on solar power with the money my mother left me, but that is still several months in the future. In the meantime, as my grandmother Roebuck used to say, “No storm lasts forever.” Amen.