Update On Our Utilities

We don’t want to jinx it, but eleven months into our time here in Central Africa we can pretty much declare that our utility situation is in a pretty good place and it’s about as good as its going to get…barring advances in governmental infrastructure.

Our water was the first thing to get taken care of. We purchased a 1,000 gallon container to catch rain water off our roof. Each week we put a little bleach in the container to keep the mosquitoes away. February is part of one of the two annual dry seasons. We haven’t gotten much rain recently, but there is still plenty of water in our tank. Each morning Mike carries several dozen gallons of water (the day’s supply) into the kitchen and bathroom. In the kitchen he runs the water through a gravity filter to purify for drinking. In the bathroom he puts the water in a container for showers and toilet flushing. We shower by putting the rain water into a gray camping shower which is pressurized by a foot pump. Our toilet get flushed with the little blue bucket next to the toilet. This water system has turned out to be a pretty good solution for us.

A friend of ours helped us out by installing a solar system for our house. Solar panels are up on the roof of a tower, a cable connects them to a large battery stored in a metal box outside of our home. The juice from the battery connects through the wall to an inverter in our bedroom. There is a single solar powered light in each room of our home. There is also a 12v solar powered fan and a computer/USB charging station next to our bed. When the local power goes out we have enough internal solar to light a room, charge a computer, and keep cool enough to sleep.

Our internet is very slow, very expensive, and quite intermittent. Our cell phones are very inexpensive to send texts and make calls.

Life is a little harder than we’d like it to be, but frankly, our life is much easier than the people in our community. Most of our neighbors don’t have in-home access to water, internet, or solar power.