Had a fifteen-hour power outage with no internet either. Affected almost 20 million people, but since only 16% of homes have power and hospitals, banks, and even small businesses have generators, life pretty much goes on the same.
Wednesday morning I had to rush to the dentist (a one hour drive north) since I only go to the dentist if there is pain and blood spurting. Please note: this is not true of my experiences with Dr. Rebecca Lucke in Fayetteville, who is not only one of the finest dentists I have ever known but also one of the most wonderful Christians I know, and while she has done dental work here in the East African bush under very difficult circumstances (people still remember the lady they call the “golden angel” who fixed their teeth), she is not here now and how I wish she was. When I say “go to the dentist” you think of well lighted, well equipped, well staffed, clean and modern offices. You don’t think that here. We had to go to the guy’s house and pick him up (he’s about 24 years old) and take him to a dental room that was left behind when the British left in the early ‘60s. It was not as bad as the picture of the Three Stooges at the right, but almost. There is no rinse and spit bowl, no suction, and most importantly, no anesthesia (no nitrous oxide, no pain killers of any kind). There was no big light to shine on the problem (he used a flashlight) and the fifty-year-old chairs were designed for small Africans and actually hurt me to sit in. The dental equipment is covered with a towel to keep the stuff falling from the ceiling from contaminating it. The young man is really good at what he does, but he has no assistant (Shaban had to hand him the tools he described) and he has helped me on three occasions and done excellent work. I really have no complaint with him, he does the best he can with the equipment he’s got (a root canal means a trip to Mwanza because he doesn’t have the equipment). Luckily, I had just lost a filling and gotten an infection which was the cause of the pain. He cleaned and refilled the hole and gave me five days worth of antibiotics to take and warned me I might have to make that trip to Mwanza—we’d just have to wait and see. He does good work and never charges more than $20, and is a really nice young man. We returned him to his house, went by the bank to get our money for the month just one hour before the power went out. It costs us about $60 a day to run our generator and then after running that long, we have to change the oil and the spark plug. We have to rest it for about two hours after it runs for twelve hours, so we time it for when there is still light outside. We are very thankful Mike Flanagan, a friend in the U.S. who bought us this generator because it has run like a top for over six years now—which is why we keep the oil and spark plug changed often. Karen is working on a sewing project, but she doesn’t need power for her sewing machine, so she just kept on working. When the power failed, John just moved outside and used solar power for all his computer work. The painting of the inside of the house is continuing with one bedroom almost complete. I’m not doing much and no fun to be around because the massive amounts of antibiotics I’m taking don’t make me feel good—but glad I’ve got ‘em. The thatch on all our buildings has suffered much through the last two rainy seasons, and I can’t afford to fix it, so it will all be coming off. We have metal, rust proof roofs underneath it, so it will just mean the rain will be really loud, but it will be easier to find the leaks and fix them. Nothing stays the same in Africa. That’s what I was told before we came here, and it has always been true. Still, keep us in your prayers as we keep you in ours.