Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Schwarz Family

While your day is only partial over, ours is winding down.  The kids are already reading books in bed.  Steve and I are listening to a little country music.  We have had a lazy, but good day.  The game Risk was played thanks to my sister’s in-laws.  Seth played chess with his daddy.  A puzzle was started.  Turkey was enjoyed.  Steve and I enjoyed stuffing – our kids don’t like it.

Thank you to all of you who gave to the Lottie Moon Offering.  That offering is was makes it possible for us to missionaries here in Zambia. 

Family 12-19-2010

Love from Zambia and God Bless!  Rita for the Schwarzs

Electricity Woes Part III

The electric came on Monday afternoon.  We are thinking maybe everything is fixed now.  Think again.  On Wednesday afternoon the electric went off again.  Steve has a friend at the electric company, so he called him to ask what is going on and when can we expect electric.  The transformer blew and it will be a few days before it is fixed!  They usually keep a spare in the area – I’m thinking one spare for the Northern Province – but, it had been used and not replaced.  He admitting to poor planning.

We Americans think – transformer blew, need a new one, put it on the truck tonight, it will arrive in the morning and install – right!?!?!  Not so.  The transformer had to be shipped from Ndola.  I don’t know when it arrived, but the electric didn’t come on until Sunday at 3PM.

Life changes when there is no electricity.  We went into survival mode.  Steve got the generator going every morning.  Our generator is only a 11 amps.  So first he plugged in the coffee pot.  Then when that was don’t the milk pasteurizer was plugged in.  Then he came and got me so that I could enjoy at least one cup of hot coffee.  Although, I think he turned the gas camp stove on twice in the day to heat coffee back up in a kettle.  After that then the fridge and freezer were plugged in.  We ran the generator most of the morning.  Steve also plugged in the computer and tried to get some work done in the kitchen.  He was trying to finish up preparing for teaching a Bible school class in Kasama the following week.

Generators are noisy.  So in the afternoons we enjoyed the quiet!  Then sometime between 4 and 6 again we would turn it on and plug in the fridge and freezer again.  We would also plug in the TV and watch a show before we turned it off and hopped into bed.

We have a two burner gas camp stove that we cooked on.  We also headed water on it to wash dishes and take bathes.  Although I do know we forgot about it and our worker washed dishes with cold water.  Steve did spend probably 4  to 6 hours trying to make it work right – the stove that is.  Gas doesn’t flow through it properly.

I was planning Heathers birthday party for Friday night.  She turned 13!!  The party was to be at our house, but with no electric how am I to make pizza and cake.  Our friends gladly helped us out.  They were the ones invited to the party and their girls were staying overnight at our house.  She has a outdoor brick pizza oven.  It takes charcoal.  So she made the cake in the pizza oven in the morning and then in the evening I brought over the pizzas and we partied at their house.  Then we took the girls to our house.

There is so much that Steve does when the electric is out.  He even helps or does most of the cooking.  All this time we were without electricity, it was cloudy, raining, and we were having thunderstorms.  So cooking on the porch wasn’t exactly  pleasant, especially when the wind was blowing the rain onto the porch.

Sunday afternoon Steve is packing up to leave for Kasama and showing me how to do everything.  How to start and stop the generator.  What to plug in where.  He even showed me how to unwire the pump from the electric supply and wire it to the generator so that I would pump water up into the tank.

I told him not to worry, that we would survive with him gone.  He said he wanted us to more than survive!  He is sweet.  I told him, “If this was a class that I was taking.  I would pass the test, maybe not with flying colors, but that I would pass and he was not to worry about us.

He left at 2 PM and the electric came on at 3 PM.  For the most part it stayed on for the whole week he was gone. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Electricity Woes Part II

So the electric came on Thursday morning and I was happy.  Four days later it went again.  Sunday morning is left us and didn’t come back until Monday afternoon.  So we got some experience living for about 30 hours with out electric. 

The four days with electricity were interesting.  On that Saturday it took me all day practically to do one load of laundry!!!  The electricity was so low most of the day that the contractor wouldn’t stay in.  So every time I thought about it I went by and pushed it in to see if there was enough power to keep it in so that I could turn on my washing machine again and then later the dryer.

That same evening I was trying to use the blender to make applesauce.  It wouldn’t go around fast enough.  Steve thought: Oh! there is something wrong with that.  I’m thinking, I haven’t done anything to make this not work.  I think it is the electric. 

We are suppose to have 220 volts coming through the electric lines into our house.  If we have 190 we think that is good.  At the time I was doing the applesauce we were only getting 75 volts.  The thing is, all these gadgets we have to stabilize the electric should have cut off the fridge and freezer like it had been doing to my washing machine and dryer all day.  So to save everything we just turned off the main to the house. Then we wait 15 minutes to 1/2 hour and turn it on and see if the voltage is high enough to run things.

Electricity Woes Part I

Some families go into the mission field knowing they will not have electricity and so they prepare for such a life.  We have one family in our mission in Zambia that lives without electricity.  We had friends in orientation that were going to a place without electricity.   We on the other hand knew we would have electricity.  We did know it wouldn’t be great and it wouldn’t be always there, but that we would have it.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, while we were still in Lusaka, we got a call.  The electricity is off and they are not sure when it is coming back on.  We figure, no big deal, we are not even there.  We drove back to Mbala on that Wednesday.  The electricity was still off.  In Kasama we filled one of our jerry cans with petrol/gasoline. 

When we got home, Steve pulled the vehicle right up to the front door to unload it.  He took off to the back to get the generator up and running.  The kids and I unloaded the vehicle and trailer.  We unpacked and climbed into bed exhausted from our drive.  We had left Lusaka at 4 AM.  We stopped in Kasama to take care of a few things there, so didn’t get home until about 6 PM.

Steve got up twice in the night to fill up the generator.  At 4 AM the electric came on.  Whoo hoo!!!!  We really didn’t have to put up with that electrical outage as we were not here to deal with it.  We didn’t lose anything in the Fridge or Freeze because no one was opening and shutting the doors all day.  I was thinking, Yes!  didn’t have to deal with that one.  I think the Lord thought I needed to deal with an electrical outage as you will see in Part 2.

The reason for this three and a half day outage was due to some guys stealing bolts and or cables or both, holding up a tower.  Stories are conflicting.  Anyways, the tower fell over taking another tower with it.  One of the guys was caught and sitting jail.  I heard that others were caught, but this of course is not confirmed.