Load-shedding nightmares…Its only going to get worse…Eskom is out of resources…Unwelcomed guests in our house…

This was the first time ever that Norman and Nina’s baby jumped the fence. Very skittish that even tossing some pellets made her/him run.

When a single electric company supplies a nation, its people are subject to its ups and downs, regardless of the inconvenient consequences. After decades of corruption, poor management, and neglectful maintenance resulting in endless breakdowns of systems countrywide, South Africa’s Eskom is dying fast, leaving its customers in the lurch.

Here is an article that simplifies the situation at Eskom.

How long this country can hang on with limited power supplies is baffling and uncertain. Already countless businesses have ceased to operate without much-needed power supplies. This has particularly impacted the small businesses that don’t have the resources to install solar power. In the next few years, solar energy will be necessary for businesses and private residences to function correctly.

Tulip was close by while Lilac was outside the little fence.

This morning I had laundry to do, but by the time I got up, there was barely enough time to do two loads, so we stuffed everything into the one washer, leaving our white socks. I have hardly been able to use the dryer with load-shedding up to 11½ hours a day,  But for us, it’s relatively easy. What about a household with six children or immobilized senior citizens?

What about the small businesses trying to function using a diesel-powered generator with the cost of fuel so high? Yesterday in this post, we wrote about the new system we’ll have by the end of January. But that’s just “lucky us” having fantastic landlords/friends that appreciate the daily challenges and are willing and able to provide us with solutions. What about
everyone else?

Bossy stops by several times a day. She is expecting another little one.

Every Friday and Saturday night at Jabula, we see their struggles running a generator to keep their food fresh and drinks cold for the never-ending stream of hungry and thirsty customers. Last night and Friday night, with Jabula closed for eight days for a holiday break for Dawn and Leon; we witnessed this same dilemma at Bos Restaurant and Giraffe. We sat at the bar in 90F, 32C weather with high humidity with no air-con to cool the customers and staff.

But it’s no different for us when we stay home and sit outside on the veranda. The heat is sweltering in the summer months, and the humidity only makes it worse. It’s challenging to get used to it, regardless of how much we try to be resilient and tough, like many locals.

A lot of senior citizens live in Marloth Park on a meager income, unable to afford to pay for air-con if they had it, let alone generators or solar power installations, which can range from ZAR 150,000, US $8,924 for a small house to as much as ZAR 300,000, US $17,848 or more for a larger home.

Three zebras stopped by.

Once that big chunk is paid for a solar installation, the operational costs are low, but expensive batteries must eventually be replaced. There’s no easy answer, and low-income households cannot afford the upfront expense.

On days like today, when it’s so hot and humid, preserving our food is the biggest concern. We grocery-shopped for two weeks, purchasing little meat and lots of vegetables since I’ll make various stir-fry dishes over the next week. These meals require less meat than a meat and vegetable dinner, making more sense during the load-shedding periods, often at dinner.

We are careful in keeping meat fresh and less concerned about the small amount of dairy we keep in the refrigerator, primarily sour cream, hard cheeses, and cream cheese which we keep on hand for making keto dishes and salad dressings. These all seem to survive the outages ok for far.

Bossy spends a lot of time looking at us. Hmmm…I wonder why?

As for the unwelcome guests in the house, this morning, Tom noticed three bee hives inside the house in the dining room on a lower baseboard, close to where I often sit. This morning, he sprayed them and removed the three nests, respraying them so they won’t return. It’s no wonder I was stung last Saturday. Also, on Friday night, Tom stepped on a bat in the kitchen and accidentally killed it. Fortunately, he was wearing shoes. He would never have killed it on purpose.

That’s our story for today, folks. Tom is entrenched in NFL playoff football games while I stay busy working on projects. Tomorrow, I will wrap up the insurance claim for Tom’s missing bag and begin working on the forms for the visa extension.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 15, 2022:

Couples from left to right, Gerhard and Rita, Tom and I, Danie and Louise, and Rita’s sister Petr and husband Fritz. The eight of us had gone on a night game drive ending in dinner in the dark in Kruger National Park. It was pretty fun! For more photos, please click here.

The greening of the bush…WiFi working perfectly now…Interesting and unusual electrical situation…

The trees and bush are turning green providing food for the wildlife. Today, we had our last bale of lucerne delivered for the season and will feed carrots, apples, and pellets.

When I’d mentioned to the internet service provider that the router was bad, it proved so, and they replaced the “dead” router with a newer, higher, powered device. When Louise and I insisted the router needed to be moved downstairs to our bedroom for a good enough signal, yesterday, they moved it.

It took a lot of work to run the lines to the bedroom. But when two Tech Connect installers arrived, who were here for several hours yesterday, figured it out. They managed to move the new router to our bedroom, which was plugged into the inverter outlet on my side of the bed after wrapping the cable along the corners of the ceiling to gain access to the inverter outlet.

Norman stopped by for the third time today for his “lunch.” There is one bushbuck and one impala in the background.

Fortunately, we wouldn’t have to walk over any additional cables over those we walk over now. When I go to bed, I have to maneuver my feet around several wires, one for my laptop, one for my phone, and another from the fan across the room that needs to be plugged into the single inverter outlet in the house.  I am cautious every time, remaining grateful we have this area for charging equipment using the inverter.

Tom’s Chromebook laptop will stay charged almost all day, but my newer Lenovo Windows 11 unit’s battery lasts only half a day without a charge. As a result, by about 1:00 pm, 1300 hrs., I must plug it in each day for a charge. Usually, I go into the bedroom to finish what I’m doing with the high-powered fan while I recharge my laptop. This takes about an hour.

To recharge my laptop, I have to sit on the bed, which isn’t comfortable even propped up with pillows, although it’s very comfortable for sleeping. I could charge it at Tom’s charging station (see photos below) on the top of the chest freezer in the dining room. But there’s nowhere to sit to continue working when it’s in that location. TIA.

Tom’s charging station on top of the chest freezer doesn’t work during load shedding or other power outages. Plus, every time we want to take something out of the freezer, we have to move everything.
The octopus-type power adapter Tom uses for his charging station atop the chest freezer.

There are no regulations here that require so many electric outlets are installed when building or renovating a house, as stated below from this site:

“There is no legal requirement to have a set number of sockets in each room in a rental property

Answered by Sarah, an Electrical Safety Expert

There is no legal requirement to have a set number of sockets in each room in a rental property. 

But with increased use of electrical appliances, older homes often do not have enough sockets to allow modern households to use them all without relying on adaptors, which is not ideal.”

It’s a very different scenario in the US when a certain number of electric outlets must be installed in each room, according to local building codes as follows below from this site:

“The US National Electrical Code, Section 210.52, states that there should be an electrical outlet in every kitchen, bedroom, living room, family room, and any other room with dedicated living space. They must be positioned at least every twelve feet measured along the floor line.”

As a result, in many countries in Africa where electricity is provided to a house, including South Africa, a single out may be used to accommodate all needs in a room. Our kitchen here has two outlets; one behind the refrigerator and another by the coffee station. When I toast my low-carb bread each morning, I have to unplug the evening-time small lamp to gain access to the plug for the toaster. Here is a photo of that outlet.

The kettle stays plugged in on the left of this outlet since we use it often throughout the day. The two outlets on the right require plugging the appliances in and out since the two types don’t fit simultaneously. They are difficult to plug in and out. When we use any other small kitchen appliances, it is more complex than plugging them in. TIA.

The bedroom has three outlets, but only one is connected to the inverter. With the daily power outages from load shedding, we only use one outlet, as shown in the photo below. The other outlets are useless to us when they each require access to the inverter and the use of our own converter/adapter.

This is the quagmire of cords plugged into the inverter outlet, along with our converter/adapter, and now the new router leaves no room for anything else. TIA.

As for today, a very hot and humid day with abundant sunshine, we are staying close to home. Tomorrow, I have a dentist’s appointment to have my teeth cleaned which is long overdue. Afterward, we’ll shop at the pharmacy for a few toiletries for our upcoming cruise and then at Spar Market one last time before we depart in two weeks for our cruise in Seychelles.

Tonight, bacon burgers on the braai with cheddar cheese, purple onion, tomatoes, rice for Tom, and salad for both of us.

Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 9, 2021:

Gordon Ramsay, our newest bushbuck visitor, visits daily after discovering the goodies we offer. He visits us at this house regularly, finding his way from a few kilometers away. For more photos, please click here.