On the last Monday of each month Lori at Write Mind Open Heart posts about a perfect moment she has had. She says, “it is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one.” I really love the idea of being mindful of perfect moments and dwelling on them when they happen, so this month I am participating. To read other perfect moments or to link up your own, visit Lori’s post.
The electricity (and sometimes lack there of) at the conservation project here has been a real adjustment for me. Other projects we have worked with have used solar power and have been off the grid so as long as you managed your power, you were never without it. When we have worked in start up projects and my husband was building the headquarters, we didn’t have any power but we were set up not to need it and we didn’t expect it. Here we are on mains power through ESCOM (Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi), their tag line is “towards power all day everyday.” All I can say is that they have a long way to go to reach that goal.
The power always seems to go off at the most inopportune times and we rarely know how long the power cut will last. I have numerous memories of nursing Kooks in the hundred and twenty degree heat of October, her sweaty little body adding even more heat to mine as I held a little battery operated fan that sprayed a tiny mist of water and alternated between cooling myself, Kooks, and Boo trying to will the power back so I could put on the air conditioning. There are also the days I get everything into the crockpot, something I purchased specifically because we have mains power, first thing in the morning and am so proud of myself for checking dinner off the to do list so early in the day only to have the power go out an hour later. I have a love hate relationship with ESCOM. Having ESCOM allows us to have air conditioning, a luxury that I really appreciate and that was not a possibility with solar power, but it also means that a power cut is a huge inconvenience because I expect to have power all day everyday – I’m not on board with this towards deal.
Apparently I don’t take power cuts very well and a string of obscenities often flow freely from my mouth when the power goes off. I found out what I sound like when my parents came to visit last year. We flew to Durban for a beach vacation and when we were on the runway just about to take off, the lights in the cabin went out and everyone got quiet and Boo, who was two and sitting on my mother’s lap, threw her hands in the air and shouted, “Oh for f**k sake!” It was not my proudest parenting moment. I was in another row and pretended that I didn’t know Boo or my mother. I might have covered Kooks’s ears and said something like, “can you believe some people?” I have gotten better with the obscenities in front of the kids since then. Now they usually just shout at the sky, “why ESCOM why!” or sometimes just “uh oh ESCOM!” One time Boo suggested that ESCOM go sit by itself until it could behave.
So this brings me to my perfect moment. My kids are acutely aware of how much a power cut distresses me and so they have taken to grabbing their toy tool kit and climbing up on the kitchen table trying to reach the ceiling fan with their hammers and screwdrivers to fix it. It’s really adorable to watch and a touching role reversal to see them trying to make it better so that I don’t throw a tantrum. The other day Boo had tried in vain to fix the power and was just about to give up when Kooks grabbed a hammer and stretched up on her tippy toes. Just as she reached her maximum height possible we heard the power click on and the fan started to turn. The look of shock and then excitement on Kooks’s face was priceless and she basked in our cheers as we confirmed that she had in fact fixed the power. It was a magical moment and it was perfect. Now when Kooks comes whining to me that she can’t do something, I remind her about how she fixed the power. If she can fix ESCOM, she can do anything.