When a single electric company supplies a nation, its people are subject to its ups and downs, regardless of the inconvenient consequences. After decades of corruption, poor management, and neglectful maintenance resulting in endless breakdowns of systems countrywide, South Africa’s Eskom is dying fast, leaving its customers in the lurch.
How long this country can hang on with limited power supplies is baffling and uncertain. Already countless businesses have ceased to operate without much-needed power supplies. This has particularly impacted the small businesses that don’t have the resources to install solar power. In the next few years, solar energy will be necessary for businesses and private residences to function correctly.
This morning I had laundry to do, but by the time I got up, there was barely enough time to do two loads, so we stuffed everything into the one washer, leaving our white socks. I have hardly been able to use the dryer with load-shedding up to 11½ hours a day, But for us, it’s relatively easy. What about a household with six children or immobilized senior citizens?
What about the small businesses trying to function using a diesel-powered generator with the cost of fuel so high? Yesterday in this post, we wrote about the new system we’ll have by the end of January. But that’s just “lucky us” having fantastic landlords/friends that appreciate the daily challenges and are willing and able to provide us with solutions. What about
Every Friday and Saturday night at Jabula, we see their struggles running a generator to keep their food fresh and drinks cold for the never-ending stream of hungry and thirsty customers. Last night and Friday night, with Jabula closed for eight days for a holiday break for Dawn and Leon; we witnessed this same dilemma at Bos Restaurant and Giraffe. We sat at the bar in 90F, 32C weather with high humidity with no air-con to cool the customers and staff.
But it’s no different for us when we stay home and sit outside on the veranda. The heat is sweltering in the summer months, and the humidity only makes it worse. It’s challenging to get used to it, regardless of how much we try to be resilient and tough, like many locals.
A lot of senior citizens live in Marloth Park on a meager income, unable to afford to pay for air-con if they had it, let alone generators or solar power installations, which can range from ZAR 150,000, US $8,924 for a small house to as much as ZAR 300,000, US $17,848 or more for a larger home.
Once that big chunk is paid for a solar installation, the operational costs are low, but expensive batteries must eventually be replaced. There’s no easy answer, and low-income households cannot afford the upfront expense.
On days like today, when it’s so hot and humid, preserving our food is the biggest concern. We grocery-shopped for two weeks, purchasing little meat and lots of vegetables since I’ll make various stir-fry dishes over the next week. These meals require less meat than a meat and vegetable dinner, making more sense during the load-shedding periods, often at dinner.
We are careful in keeping meat fresh and less concerned about the small amount of dairy we keep in the refrigerator, primarily sour cream, hard cheeses, and cream cheese which we keep on hand for making keto dishes and salad dressings. These all seem to survive the outages ok for far.
As for the unwelcome guests in the house, this morning, Tom noticed three bee hives inside the house in the dining room on a lower baseboard, close to where I often sit. This morning, he sprayed them and removed the three nests, respraying them so they won’t return. It’s no wonder I was stung last Saturday. Also, on Friday night, Tom stepped on a bat in the kitchen and accidentally killed it. Fortunately, he was wearing shoes. He would never have killed it on purpose.
That’s our story for today, folks. Tom is entrenched in NFL playoff football games while I stay busy working on projects. Tomorrow, I will wrap up the insurance claim for Tom’s missing bag and begin working on the forms for the visa extension.
Photo from one year ago today, January 15, 2022: