Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Power Blackouts

Living in Peru has given us a whole new perspective on electricity. It flows through the streets suspended in a tangle of wires resembling old mangled cob webs. Sometimes the electrical wires hanging across private roofs multitask as clothes lines. The electricity flowing into our building is limited so that when one apartment runs a major appliance, everyone's lights flicker and the fans slow way down. We can always tell when the elders upstairs shower because the water heater dims our lights and slows our fans. If we were to shower at the same time, it would trip the breaker; we base this on experience. Water heaters don't come with the apartment. You install your own. It goes on the bathroom wall and heats only the shower water on demand. All the other faucets have cold water only, except in the afternoons when the sun warms the pipes. About once a month or so on a Sunday, they turn off everyone's power from Chao, through Virú all the way to Trujillo. It typically lasts 10 to 12 hours while the power company does maintenance. Some of the effects include no hot showers, no water after the rooftop storage tank empties, no crock pots or rice cookers, no internet, no charging phones, no fans, no lights, no printer to print out talks or lessons for church. At church we have no lights, no fans to cool the building, no microphone, no piano (it's electric), no internet, no videos and no water at all since the electric pump to the underground tank turns off (no flushing). This past Sunday when the power was off, we learned of a new problem. It was Branch Conference in Virú. President Rios phoned us at 7:05, just after the power went out, to ask directions to the new chapel here. We couldn't attend because we were giving talks in the Las Flores Branch but decided to wait outside the Virú building for President Rios. It's surrounded by a high adobe wall, and we were afraid he might not find it. The meeting started at 8:30, but by 9:15 it was apparent he wasn't coming, so we left for Las Flores where the meeting started at 10:00. Finally Monday we found out why President Rios didn't show. Right after he phoned us he got into his car to leave, but his electric garage door opener didn't work because the power was out! Who would have thought that could happen? One good thing about these power outages: the frost in my freezer melts so I can easily defrost my old fashioned manual defrost freezer in the evening when the power comes back on :)

He's a lineman for the county...
Don't look down.
Power lines doubling as a clothesline and pig tender

New high rise Municipal Building construction among the wires
Power/clothes line
Power Lines
Oh what a tangled Web they weave...
...when power lines they do conceive. 
Enjoying a watermelon snack on the way home
Brand new municipal building   
Look...there's us in the window.

They teach school children how to protest. 
The neighbor's turkey is up on the roof again. 


  1. Ha ha! "Se fue la luz!" were the words everyone dreaded down in the Dominican Republic. It was the worst on hot nights as we depended on our fans to keep us cool in bed and blow the mosquitoes off of us. Some hot summer nights with no luz, the only thing we could do was lie on the cool concrete floor in our underwear and sweat it out.

  2. I love this! Ps I defrosted my freezer today and used a heater and hair dryer! I bet I couldn't use both things at the same time even if I did have power- down there!

  3. Still makes me grateful for the high standards we are accustomed to.

  4. Wow. We take things for granted over here.

  5. Joe: why do people teach them how to protest?
    Lyle: that turkey would make a good meal! (Can you tell he's fasting!!)
    Lizzy: windows are good mirrors
    Hyrum: mmmm, I love watermelon! Lizzy: so do I !
    All: the power lines look like a big disaster waiting to happen!