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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Life & Times of Louis & Amber - African Revenge

Recently we experienced one of those "Oh, yeah. I forgot we live in Africa." moments. Since we've moved to South Africa, we've been asked several times by the locals if we intend to visit Africa while we are here. At first this made no sense to us, since it seemed rather obvious that by our presence here we clearly were intending to visit Africa. It was eventually revealed to us that since South Africa offers the possibility of so many modern conveniences many do not actually consider it a part of "Africa". I say "offers the possibility" because South Africa is truly a land of many dichotomies - within the same square mile you'll see modern office buildings with high-speed Internet, cell phones, and BMW's right alongside tin shacks without plumbing or electricity.

Amber & I had taken a Saturday afternoon trip to the hospital to visit one of the church members who had fallen down some stairs and shattered her leg above the ankle. On returning to The Pines, we noticed that all indications pointed to the fact that we had lost electricity. This is not an uncommon occurrence. The most telling evidence that we've begun adjusting to life here was our first reaction; she noticed that the sprinklers were still running and said "at least we still have water".

Usually when we lose either power or water it comes back within 12 hours. This time there was no such luck. We went from Saturday to Monday without electricity. Shockingly, it isn't really that big a deal. Brian was able to hook up a generator to keep the refrigerators going in the kid's flats, and there was enough power to run a light bulb in each flat as well. In our house, we transferred some of our food to the kid's freezer and lit things up with those old-fashioned Hurricane lamps.

I remember when I was a child the Des Moines area had a severe ice/snow storm in November. The power was knocked out for a couple days. Exactly nine months later there was an article in the Des Moines Register about the maternity wards at Methodist, Mercy, and Lutheran. Apparently there was such an influx of new deliveries 9 months after that blizzard that they were forced to call in reinforcement doctors and nurses from Omaha. I can assure you that won't be the case here. The Niehoffs are already expecting in August (a girl) and the O'Tools won't be expecting as a result of this power outage for a variety of reasons - not the least of which is mentioned in the title of this article.

About last night 2:00am Amber had the irresistible urge to make a visit to the loo. This I was blissfully unaware of. Unfortunately, by 5:00am it had struck Meredith and she was revisited by last night's supper herself, only from the other end. Amber decided to make a quick trip to town (remember, our power was out this whole time) to take advantage of the warm water at the local exercise place. While she was gone Drake woke up and I received a wonderful surprise when I lifted him out of bed. His diaper had leaked and he was covered from chin to knees. I quickly put water on to heat on the gas stove, then stripped him down and put him in the tub. Simultaneously Meredith had another episode on the bedroom floor and my hand learned that African paper towel isn't as high of quality as in the US. About that time Amber got back all refreshed. It was also about that time it hit me.

One side note, none of us ate the same food last night for supper, so we're certain it isn't food poisoning. All indications it is one of those 24 hour afflictions you hear tell of. We're all hoping so. African Revenge is a dish best served not at all.

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