Electricity challenges to share with our guests

This post was written while we were in Chad.

We feel pleased to open our home to a family of four who is coming to serve here. They planned to stay for a few days, but their alternate housing opportunity fell through, so they stay with us. We prepared the guest room and bathroom (complete with the rare sit-down toilet) for the day they arrived. They needed somewhere to store their things, and we just happen to have empty rooms for them to do so.

With their arrival, rainy season seems to have begun. The winds blew violently for a week or two, then sunny days gave way to cloudy ones. It’s still hot in the afternoons, but the evenings are as cool as air conditioning some nights.

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Battery acid and solar electric system

This post was written while we were in Chad.

On Monday, we set up the solar panel on the roof, and bought two 150 Amp truck batteries! We realizeden.wikipedia.org acid that the base for the fridge isn’t there, so we couldn’t move it over to the house yesterday.

As the sun was setting, I was wearing my old clothes saved especially for the job of dealing with battery acid. Before pouring the battery acid into the container, I used a battery acid tester to make sure the acid was of a good quality. In the past, the stuff I bought tasted watered down… but this time, the little balls in the tester all floated! So we filled up all the compartments with acid, and let the battery sit overnight.

This morning, we brought them in, and I spent most of the morning carefully attaching the solar panels and the battery to the charge controller… only to find out that the charge controller is defective out of the box. The charge controller keeps the solar panels from overcharging the batteries (which may create an explosion), or drained of electricity from the lights and appliances on the solar system (which would permanently keep the batteries from charging ever again). So the charge controller is a vital part of a solar electric system. There was a need to return and replace it, so the prospect of a quick trip to N’Djamena looked more and more likely.

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Strawberry plant, springs in the desert

This post was written while we were in Chad.

We arrived in Iriba just in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We made a big deal of it; we watched the emma plantBBC version of “Emma” while eating popcorn. Debbie barely made it through the movie before falling asleep, so we put her to bed. At midnight, we had Susan drop a beach ball to the ground while standing on a chair. We hugged one another… then went to bed.

Outside, there was silence; it was just another quiet evening in Iriba, like so many others.

Ever since we arrived at our Iriba home, there’s been a leak in an outdoor pipeline near the cistern. With so many leaks in the plumbing in the house, we only turn on the town water at the meter level for the few hours each week to fill up the barrels… but, right under the place I sit as I pray at sunset, water keeps bubbling up from the ground and flowing next to the cistern and in a place just outside our wall!

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Birthday clues and big rivers of greenish-brown water

This post was written while we were in Chad.

To get to church this morning, I took two taxis, one minivan, and waded knee-deep in greenish brown water in five places off and on for one hour. I didn’t actually have to go through all those streams and ponds, but I became lost a few times. Sometimes the water was slimy under me, other times it was sandy and solid.

clue in floodI saw little red dots visible to the naked eye swimming around in there, thousands of them per square foot on the surface, not to mention the millions that must have swum below the surface! A few times, I saw things floating around in the water my legs were in that you only see in toilets. Although black bags are illegal in Chad, my leg became stuck to one such bag for a few paces. I was thankful to a few strangers who lent a hand by showing me the way toward my destination.

IBRA radio has a training session going on now on production; after one week of classes, they are halfway through it. It was great to meet them at church this morning. Pastor’s wife prepared a delicious macaroni with chicken sauce for lunch; after enjoying that, I was on my way back home to celebrate Deborah’s birthday.

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One step closer to a solar fridge

This post was written while we were in Chad.

Today, the holiday was solidly lingering in town, so things were harder to get. We needed ice for the cooler we used as a fridge in the morning; we keep the green cooler above the ground, so the melting ice is leaked into a bowl for reuse.

the cooler we use for a fridgeI went on to the meat market. There was one man selling goat meat, and another selling beef, but for a very high price even though the quality was questionable. So I decided against it.

I headed back to the house, then stopped by the ATM to get money for diesel for Twila. A soldier, dressed in desert fatigues and dark mirrored sunglasses, his feet on his submachine gun on a stand, guarded the bank, which was open. Then I took another rickshaw to the house, jumped into Twila, and got diesel at the OilLibya station. I picked up bread at the “Boulangerie la Rotative”, and stopped by at the meat restaurant of my friend Ali. But he wasn’t there; he had put his chairs away, and his metal grill was still smoking.

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