Sunday, August 14, 2011

How long is a piece of string?

My teenage daughter loves to ask me questions that I have no possible way of knowing the answer.  When will the power come back on?  Do you think we'll get the generator working this time?  When will the fuel shortage be over?  Where do you think the housekeeper put my Garfield t-shirt?  Eventually last night I turned around to face her and said, "How long is a piece of string?"
The truth is that we are often faced with questions for which we don't know the answers.  This can cause anxiety if you let the unknown get to you, but if you learn to just chillax and go with the flow, handle each day as it comes and try not to plan too far ahead, you'll be okay.  We adapt and why waste time and energy worrying about things completely out of our control.
What we know is that at the moment in Moshi, Tanzania, we will have at least 8 hours out of every 24 without power.  Sometimes it can be more than 8 hours.  There is a schedule which TANESCO doesn't stick to, so you are never entirely sure when you'll have power or not.  Apparently the power cuts are because the Tanzanian government didn't think it necessary to plan ahead for a growing population.  Now the power stations are old and shutting down, and the new ones they are supposedly building will only be ready in 2013, so until then I can't see the power situation improving.  One just has to get creative and fork out the money for a generator.
This past week the power cuts have been compounded by a fuel shortage.  The price of fuel has been increasing at an alarming rate and the government, bless their cotton socks, decided to step in and take action.  They have now made a law that fuel has to be sold at a much cheaper price dictated by them.  As you can imagine, the suppliers to the fuel stations are seeing their large profits made on the backs of the impoverished population decreasing, so they have refused to supply fuel at the government dictated prices.  The result, the majority of fuel stations have shut down and put up barricades.  Those selling fuel have long queues and run out of fuel quite quickly.  If you are running a generator to cope with the power cuts, this is a big problem.  If you love watching rugby on TV and are eagerly awaiting the rugby world cup, then this can be a possible catastrophe.  Writing has to be put on hold as there is only so much you can do on the laptop before the battery dies.
My book sales are continuing to climb which is a highlight at present in an otherwise dark and gloomy world. The recent riots in England made me think I'd rather have our power problems than that. Imagine what you must feel as a parent if you see your child looting shops on the television news. Would you report them to the police?

So how much longer will all of this continue?  How long is a piece of string?
Have a great week!

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