Life in Waisai

The power is out again. Apparently this is a common occurrence here in Waisai which Ichal puts down to their diesel powered electricity plant. My first night here was really tricky. My iPad ran out of battery and my camera was almost ready to be recharged however there is only one powerpoint in my room. My power board was too bulky and so was left behind in Ternate, so that night I had to choose between having the fan on or charging my iPad. It was such a tough decision and the winner was the fan. Facing the night with no air movement just wasn’t an option! Thankfully the following morning Ichal showed me where there was a spare power point in the tv room and I have been using that now to keep the iPad charged. Now it is just a matter of as soon as one of us notices that the power is on again, we quickly plug everything in to take maximize the unreliable electricity availability.
Our home stay family despair over the constant power interruptions as it totally destroys over time electrical appliances. Fridges, rice cookers etc don’t cope well with the constant power surges. Here when the power is out, the fridge is unplugged and then replugged when it comes back on. While this helps protect it against surges, it means that food is constantly freezing and thawing and also must put stress on the engine having to cope with constant fluctuating temperatures.
I have just done my washing and it is hanging on the line. In this heat it should dry in no time. something positive about this incredible heat.

I am sitting at the kitchen table almost in front of an open door looking out onto the washing and the street in front of the house. I can see whoever passes by but more importantly get every gasp of breeze that reaches us from the beach.

20131021-194529.jpgOff this room is a bedroom, the bathroom and the enormous kitchen recently built to cope with visitors coming for their son’s circumcision ceremony early this year. They would have had hundreds of friends and family invited, so a large kitchen area to prepare and cook the mountain of food they would have served would have been very useful.

Across the road from us is a tiny warung owned and operated by one of the neighbours. It is very similar to Bu Arfa’s warung as they sell all things that you find in a corner shop like soap, sugar, lollies, coffee packets etc. Small packets to keep you going when you run out and you can’t be bothered running to the supermarket. I bought some shampoo and some washing powder there yesterday. Whereas in the rest of Indonesia, these tiny warungs are totally enclosed by walls and doors, here the front is covered in a strong chicken wire. I have been told it is for a combination of security and for air flow. The one we visited last night to buy some water had a hole cut in the chicken wire so that the front door didn’t need to be opened if the shop keeper didn’t feel safe!

Across from us, a neighbour is building a house. It has been interesting watching the trucks arriving with rubble and soil to fill in the foundation walls made from concrete and rocks. I commented to Ichal that Australian foundations are 100% concrete and he explained that the soil/rock foundation will be topped with concrete and this gives the house more flexibility during earthquakes. A 100% concrete foundation would not have any give in it. An added factor has to be the difference in cost too. Stones and soil would be considerably cheaper than cement!

A truck has arrived most evenings with a couple of loads and then a couple of men spread out the filling using cangkuls. Can you see the ramp that the tuck reverses up? The driver reverses right back over the filled sections and then tips the next load into an empty section. It must be very hard work so it is no wonder only a few loads are delivered each day!

Time to charge my iPad because the electricity is finally back on and my iPad is down to 4%!


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