Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lights Off

Saturday was mostly a really shitty day for me. So many crappy, frustrating things happened to me that I called my sister Kara at 10 PM almost in tears and vented to her in a long rant that included more seven-letter adjectives beginning with “f” in the first ten minutes of our conversation than I’ve used the entire eight months I’ve been Ghana. Luckily for me, she’s such a great sister and listened quietly so that I was able to get most of it out so I don’t feel the need to burden my blog readers with every little detail.

Right now, as I’m writing this, I’m sitting in my room in the dark. One of the less crappy events of Saturday was a “lights off” (a power outage) that started at around eight in the morning and still affected the entire neighborhood when I came back to the house last night at a quarter to ten. The power was still out all of this morning into the afternoon. Now, I thought I was used to power outages. They’re quite common here in Accra, but they’ve become so much more common the past few weeks. When I first arrived, it felt like we experienced lights off once every week or two, at most two times in a week, and they usually lasted anywhere from fifteen minutes to two hours, and usually during the day when I was at school and barely even noticed. Lately, as in for the past month or two, however, they’ve been occurring at least three times per week, and instead of depriving us of electricity for only an hour or two, the “lights off” of late last the entire day for twelve hours or so.

Oh, but yesterday’s lights off lasted all day, all night, and all day again, well over twenty-four hours. When there’s an all-day lights off on the weekend, I’ve discovered, I don’t have much choice but to leave the house. The heat becomes too much for me in the house without fans, so I went to the Accra mall after lunch and spent several hours browsing their air-conditioned bookstore. When I came back to the convent around 7:30, everything seemed to be well-lit, so I happily sat down for dinner. I noticed that the nuns weren’t watching TV, and I found out that we have “low current,” which means only half the house gets electricity. Upstairs (where my room is) is the half that doesn’t get it tonight. It’s my second night in a row groping around my room in the dark!

Okay, time to look on the bright side. What can be positive about not having electricity? I’ll tell you.

With the “low current,” the outlet in which the television is plugged wasn’t working, so instead of watching TV, the nuns had to find other ways of entertaining themselves. Sister Juliana was lying on the couch, reading aloud from the user manuel to the brand new treadmill they had purchased this morning (which was a gift from one of her friends... I’m telling you, these nuns get so many free things given to them, even treadmills!). It’s really cute how excited all the nuns are about this new exercise equipment, by the way. They call it their “chingalingy machine.” Haha!

Anyway, after Sister Julie finished reading it, she started saying the website. “W W W dot...” Sister Anne picked up, “dot com dot yahoo dot UK.” I started laughing. “No,” Sister Anne said, “W W W dot, what’s the name of the company? Try-jam?”

“Trojan,” Sister Juliana said, also mispronouncing it slightly, something more like traw-jen. “W W W dot Trojan dot com.”

I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Are you making fun of the way we’re pronouncing it?” Sister Julie asked.

“Kind of,” I admitted, “and also, Trojan is also a name brand for another type of product...”

“Ah, you mean the condoms?” said Sister Julie, catching on quickly.

And the next thing I knew, we were all sharing our best condom stories. Of course, they were nuns, so the stories had to do with condom mix-ups, but still, we were talking and laughing about them. All I could think in my head was, “What the hell? I’m sitting at the dinner table in a convent in West Africa with five nuns chatting away about condoms!” It was one of those situations I never imagined myself getting into, something that completely added to the comedy and irony of my living situation and well, my life, I guess.

See? If Accra had electricity 24/7, we would have been doing something typical like watching the evening news. Now, thanks to low current, I have several funny nun condom stories to share with whomever is interested... just ask!


Mom said...

Ahem, Kate, YOU have condom stories??? I'm shocked!!

DeeDee said...

Me too!!