Monday, November 14, 2011

Africa Wins This Round

BUT, it was not a Total Knock Out.

This past weekend has been....I'd like to say interesting.....but way more difficult than that.

Saturday, Tom and I were working on a painting project and everyone else was hanging out on the porch watching lightning far across the savannah. The power had been going on and off all day, and at that moment it was off. 
As Tom and I painted away in our bedroom, all of a sudden there was a terrible bang that was so loud we could feel the concussion in our chests. There was also a huge flash of light. We figured out pretty quickly that the transformer on our corner had been blown by lightning. Several of the breakers in the house had also blown. Because the power was out we had no idea if any damage had been done to equipment.

When power was restored we did a quick equipment check and it seemed everything had survived....or so we thought. 

Later that night Tom tried to start the electric pump that pulls water up to our tanks from the borehole (well). It didn't work. When he took the cover off the control box, this is what he saw:

That black stuff is all from the lightning
Thanks to a friend in Lusaka a new control box is on its way up to us on the bus. Unfortunately, we won't know until it gets here whether the pump itself was also damaged. Three years ago when we were hit by lightning and the control box exploded (literally!) the pump was also hit. The pump is nearly 150 feet underground. Aside from the expense of having to replace it, it is a huge deal to pull it up and install a new one.
In the meantime, we are hiring teenagers to go to the neighborhood hand pump and draw water out for us. They fill three 55 gallon drums each day for washing dishes and laundry as well as drinking and cooking. Showers are having to wait for now.

And the drama continued:

The next day, I woke up with a terrible headache and dizziness which I attributed to the fresh paint fumes. Later in the day though our room was filled with a sulfur smell. We thought at first it was rotten grass from a rat's nest we had found in our wall when painting. We cleared it out and closed up the hole, but still the smell persisted.
 Then, Tom had a brainstorm and went into the small room which borders our bedroom. This is where we keep the 12 volt batteries that power our house during blackouts. Two of them were really hot and bubbling. Apparently the lightning strike affected them as well. Thankfully the other 4 batteries are fine, but we will now have less of a back up during power cuts.

That evening, Tom tried to get online on his computer to do some research, but could not connect to the internet. Strangely, his computer kept shutting down on him as well. It looks like Tom's desktop computer was also hit. We don't know that it was even plugged in at the time, but lightning is a weird and terrible adversary that does awful things. We'll need to take the computer down to Lusaka on our next trip to get whatever is wrong repaired.

So, to sum it up, we have three known casualties of the lightning strike, and the pump is an unknown at the moment. 
Please pray for the pump to be perfectly fine. We need water! Pray that the control box that was sent up contains all the necessary electronics and that Tom will be able to replace it easily.
 Also, please pray for supply of the extra funds that are needed to replace and/or repair the damaged equipment. 

Whew, never a dull moment here in Africa!

Exactly One Year Ago: Kickball!
Exactly Two Years Ago: Random Ramblings--including my adventure with a rumbly tumbly.


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