Everyone is complaining about load-shedding – and rightfully so. In a country like mine, it’s unreasonable to expect people to live without electricity for between two and five hours a day. For those of you unfamiliar with the new South African way of life, we have been having challenges with producing enough power to meet the needs of the country. As a result, we are being subjected to forced black outs where needs outweigh supply.
Businesses are losing money, devices are blowing in power surges, people are sitting in the dark not knowing what to do with their time but here is what load-shedding has done positively for our lives.
A typical evening in my house is usually spent eating dinner in front of a laptop on which we watch series. Since without power, we can’t use the internet or our laptops for extended periods of time, this has meant that my husband and I have had to find other ways to entertain ourselves during these black out periods.
- We have discovered a love of scrabble by candle light. Yup, the good old-fashioned game is a regular occurrence in our house now.
- My husband has also joined the other men from our street on patrols when the lights are out to ensure that our families are kept safe. Sadly, in South Africa, things like that are necessary when the black outs provide a perfect cover for crime.
Until now, we didn’t know our neighbours personally and now that we do, we all feel safer and happier living in a community instead of just a street.
- We talk more. All of us. We cook our dinner early and invite our family members over so that no one has to sit alone at home in the dark. We engage with each other instead of being distracted by the TV.
Yes, admittedly it’s a hassle to cook dinner before 5pm every evening and it’s even worse when load shedding was previously unscheduled and suddenly that changes and you have a power cut you hadn’t planned for but when you can plan around it, it sure kills procrastination.
You can’t afford to put off writing that blog post till later because later, there may be no internet connection.So you wake up, you boil the kettle, put some hot water in a flask just in case and you get your shit done.
One of the things I’ve been putting off for ages has been clearing out the guest room to make way for the new nursery. This sounds simple enough but meant taking our study apart, turning that into a guest bedroom by moving all the guest bedroom furniture into the study and clearing out the wardrobe in the now nursery space.
- During a planned black out session, we managed to move the furniture across and set up the new g/bedroom.
- Today, an unexpected and unplanned for black out left me twiddling my thumbs. It took me the entire morning to sort through two years of junk that had accumulated in the mostly unused bedroom closet. I feel great now that I look at an empty closet and see space where my child’s things will actually be in the not too distant future.
- We also built the baby’s crib – yay!
So you see, as awful as load-shedding is for the country, it’s so easy to sit back and grumble to ourselves instead of making hay while the “sun shines”. I reckon that instead of moaning we should choose to be productive. I’m not saying that this is ever something to be thankful for, I’m not saying that it’s good for the country or businesses or anyone really but I am saying, it’s an awful situation, we all know that, but make the most out of it.
You might just surprise yourself how much more you can get done when you look at things from a positive angle.
If you’re South African, what have you been doing during the hours of darkness and no power? Have you been pleasantly surprised by anything good that has come out of this experience? I would love to know.