Oh, oh...Frequent power outages scheduled for December...A challenge in our lives...


We didn't see much on the river yesterday but we were thrilled with our other sightings, including this young zebra and mom.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
This is our boy Wildebeest Willie, who stops by most afternoons for pellets and several naps.  He waits for other wildlife to appear then gets up to join in on the pellet frenzy.  He isn't interested in carrots, celery tops, apples or pears.  He responds enthusiastically to his name and most likely responds to names other residents have given him.  Smart guy, that Willie!
It was a shocker yesterday when there was a notice on Marloth Park's Facebook page about power company Eskom's scheduled power outages, referred to as "load shedding." 

What is load shedding?  Here's a description from Eskom's website here:

"As South Africa’s primary electricity supplier, Eskom’s mandate is to ensure the security of supply to service the South African economy and society.

Eskom, therefore, generates, transports and distributes electricity – and this is managed predominantly by Eskom for the entire country; however, Eskom only directly supplies more than 5 million households which means that most of us are supplied by municipalities.
At all times there must be sufficient supply to meet demand, but electricity demand is not consistent because of:
  • peak periods when demand is higher
  • and continuous growth in the number of customers requiring electricity services.
This means that the power system requires constant and prudent management of supply to meet demand but, today, Eskom faces the challenge of a constrained power system that will affect us until substantial new power capacity is available. In the meantime, to meet demand, our older power stations and infrastructure are being used to full capacity. In addition, routine and necessary maintenance of plant and infrastructure are carefully scheduled to limit compromising supply capacity during periods of high demand. We have also strengthened the distribution network to reduce the incidence of localized outages when the power trips because of overload in local areas such as suburbs.

Localized outages should not be confused with load shedding. Local outages can occur when there is either a technical fault in the transmission or distribution network, or when electrical equipment has been tampered with such as theft of cables, or when there is an overload of the local system because of irregular high usage due to electricity theft as well as normal faults.


Five years ago we saw ostriches at this bush house and they continue to visit almost every day.  The owner is able to walk freely among them and distribute pellets.  We've yet to have an ostrich at the Orange house but had one at the Hornbill house in 2014.
Load shedding, or load reduction, is done countrywide as a controlled option to respond to unplanned events to protect the electric power system from a total blackout. While we generally use the word blackout loosely to mean “no lights” in our local area, a country-wide blackout has much more serious consequences, which can occur when there is too much demand and too little supply, bringing the power system into an imbalance – tripping the power system in its entirety.


Many countries and cities in other parts of the world have experienced complete blackouts. To re-start their system, they are able to tap into a power system from a neighbor which can take a few hours or days, but we have to rely on ourselves to start the system from scratch – energizing one power plant at a time and one section of the country at a time. It could take up to two weeks to restore full power, which would have a severe impact on our country! This is why we use load shedding, or load reduction, to effectively manage our power system and assist in protecting it from such an event."
This is one of the chicks we've been following for the past several months. They certainly have grown. One of their amazing attributes of the ostrich is the fact that they will grow to adulthood in 18 months. They weigh about 1kg when born and in the space of 18 months grow to an incredible size of about 140kg. The female ostrich will start laying eggs when she is about two years old.
There's nothing we can do.  This is the way it is and will be especially over the busy holiday month of December.  The holidaymakers will begin arriving this upcoming week and it will be relentless throughout the entire month of December and part of January.

When reviewing the schedule for outages, we realize in many ways this will be a challenge for our daily needs as well as that of other residents and tourists in Marloth Park.  Our biggest concern it being able to upload our posts with new photos daily. 
Of course, we found them on Volstruis St. which means ostrich in Afrikaans, where they are often found.
We'd like to assure all of our readers, that regardless of this difficult schedule, we will continue to post each and every day.  The exception will be in the event of a total power outage lasting more than a day.  
Here's the proud mom still fussing over her growing brood.
Thus, if you do not see a post by the end of any 24-hour period, you can be assured we have no power and cannot do a thing until the power is restored.  At first, we were shocked and disappointed.

But now, after reviewing the schedule, we've discussed ways in which we'll make it work.  For us, lousy sleepers that we are, the hardest times will be on hot nights when we won't be able to use a fan or aircon.  The windows have no screens so we'll be in the equivalent of a "hot box" during the two to three-hour outage.
Here's the family all together; mom, dad, and growing chicks.
For example, here are the scheduled power outages for us in Stage 2 over the next week:


Sat, 01 Dec
07:00 - 09:30                                         2.5 hours
15:00 - 17:30  (3:00 pm to 5:30 pm)      2.5 hours       TOTAL OUTAGES IN 24 HOURS - 7.5 HOURS
23:00 - 01:30  (11:00 pm to 1:30 am)    2.5 hours
Sun, 02 Dec
Mon, 03 Dec
Tue, 04 Dec
Wed, 05 Dec
Thu, 06 Dec
Fri, 07 Dec


The load shedding schedule varies by week when many of the outages will be during dinner time from 1700 to 1930 hours (5:00 pm to 7:30 pm).  Last night was the first evening we experienced this particular schedule.  
For the first time yesterday, we spotted giraffes at a particular overlook we often visit, but rarely see any wildlife, on the Marloth Park side of the fence.
Knowing in advance, while the power was still on, we prepared everything we needed for our dinner.  We usually start pulling the dinner together around 1830 (6:30 pm) with ease with lights on.  Last night we got everything out and ready to prepare while it was still light (it gets dark about 30-minutes later).  We ate  by candlelight.  

However, the hardest part for us at this time of day is not the meal.  We'll manage that just fine.  It's the fact that it's our prime wildlife viewing time from the veranda when our evenings are so special, is from 1700 hours (5:00 PM) to 2100 hours (9:00 pm).
We're always in awe of giraffes, especially those in the neighborhood.
The remaining schedule includes outages for most of these hours in 2.5-hour increments.  This changes everything.  We won't be able to see a thing.  This is a big disappointment for us and our lifestyle.

There is nothing we can do but adapt to this situation to the best of our ability.  Next Thursday, when we go to Komatipoort to shop, we'll stop at the hardware store to see if we can locate a good solar powered light we can see the garden at night.  
We spotted five giraffes in this area, including a youngster.
As it turns out the power issues during the prime evening hours don't begin until December 9th.  This will work out well if we can find a solution.  In reality, this is always the case, finding solutions to situations we find discomforting.

Traveling the world isn't always convenient.  It isn't always comfortable as we've seen by the outrageous over 40C (104F) heat we've had with much hotter temps ahead of us.  

It wasn't easy when I was attacked by pepper ticks from walking in the bush at the river resulting in over 100 awful bites lasting for over a month, requiring medical intervention and a 12-day course of cortisone (only three days of meds remaining - situation greatly improved) when I've hardly been able to sleep as a side effect of the drug.
For the time being to avoid getting more tick bites, I've taken photos from the car while on the daily drive in the park.  I only get out where I don't have to walk through the bush to get to the fence in order to avoid taking photos of the fence. These gorgeous waterbucks males typically weigh from 198–262 kg (437–578 lb) and females 161–214 kg (355–472 lb).
We never have to ask ourselves, "Is it worth it?"
Without a doubt, we rest easy in the knowledge that we love this life we've chosen, even with its ups and downs.  No life is free from challenges, medical concerns, inconveniences and for us, immigration issue.

We carry on with joy, love and happiness that somehow supersedes the hardships, knowing full well, this is what and where we're meant to be...in the world.

Happy day!

________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, December 1, 2017:
Slurpy mouthed iguana posing for a photo at the park in Manta, Ecuador as seen one year ago today.  For more photos, please click here.

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