Monday, January 24, 2011

Shopping...Bunia Style

Well, it's only Day 2 and I've already forgotten to take my daily photo...I'm not doing so hot, I know.  Instead I'll paint a picture for you with words.  Most of today was spent showing the new family around Bunia--where to buy different kinds of furniture, where the local Home Depot is, that sort of thing.  It really is amazing what you can find here in Bunia, tucked away in the corner stores, as long as you're willing to look for it (all day) and pay an outrageous price for it once you find what you're looking for.  It's like one big garage sale.  The rest of my day was spent fixing our electrical system...yes, again.  Well, at least I think I fixed it.  I don't smell anything, or see smoke anywhere.  Here in Africa, we wire our houses all on one phase of AC, instead of like the US, where your house would be split between all three phases.  The reason is because there's usually one phase that's practically useless, one more that's unreliable, and one that is decently strong (anywhere from 80 volts to 180 volts)...sometimes.  It's supposed to be 220 volts, but that's a different story.  So we pick the strongest phase and wire everything off that phase.  Our house is a little unique, in that, we have one phase that's stronger during the day, and one phase that's stronger during the night.  So we switch between the two every day, otherwise we wouldn't have enough electricity to run two light bulbs and a radio.  Anyway, we had installed a swtich to...well...switch between those two phases and it's now in switch heaven.  I went looking for a switch today around town, but had no luck, so I resorted to using two circuit breakers, one for each phase...just don't turn them both on at the same time!  So, my photo for today would be me cringing and ducking right before I turn the circuit breaker on for the first time after re-wiring it, crossing my finger and hoping I don't melt/electrocute/set on fire/or otherwise ruin perfectly good and expensive equipment.

On the upside, I didn't electrocute myself today.  I've learned to just go ahead and turn everything off whenever I'm working on the electricity :)  Tomorrow I'm off again to Kampala, Uganda, for maintenance on the 206.  I should be there only for 2 or 3 days, and on the way back I will be bringing the last 400 kilos (almost 900 pounds) of the new family's shipment to Bunia.  Pray that I can feel better, I have had a stomach bug now for a few weeks, and that's never fun.

No comments: