Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016 turned out to be one of those days when we lost power for half a day and then had to fend for ourselves.
When the computers died, I kept trying to share news using the phone.  Then it died.
I went back to sleep.
We had not received the usual calls or emails alerting us about planned maintenance (yes, NB POWER does it.  New Brunswick Power Generation).
Today was a public holiday in Canada and most businesses were closed and so were all the schools.
I overheard the girls all excited so when I asked them what action I was missing, I was told 1) do not open the fridge because the food might go bad. 2) We are driving into Moncton. 3) The microwave is not working (this while I was hunting for food to warm up).
The little one had to work on a project for school.
The two little ones had texted their older sister and verified that she had power at her place and they drove off.
Who can go a day without electricity?
I soon had to find where I could find an outlet to charge my phone (if only I could have my phone working). 
Took my laptop bag just in case I could find a place with WIFI and a place to plug the computer in.
The whole of Shediac had only one block with electricity (they are on a different grid).
Most of Moncton and surrounding areas were on the wrong grid.
Finally on the one grid in the neighbourhood which had power, I plugged my phone by their coffee machine.  This is a fuel station (will not tell you which one because you might think I am biased).  I stayed there standing while using the phone to scan news and send short little messages.
What stunned me about power going off on a public holiday when all digital things are dead was that I ran into a gentleman at that station.
It was the best 2hrs I have spent in a long time.  We talked about life.  His family.  My family.  What we each do.
Then we soon remembered when power had gone off in our area 2yrs ago for 3-4 days and it was deep winter (try negative 35 degrees.  No heat).  We soon realised that power going off one day in the summer (average temperature was 19 degrees celcius) was absolutely nothing at all.
You see, we take so much for granted. 
There are many countries where the majority of people do not have power that goes off once a year.
How many of you remember INDIA going many days with no power in one hot season and half the country had no power supply?
This gentleman I was talking to (Jean Louis) was wonderful.
It is funny, our family had experienced this in Toronto (biggest city in Canada) during summer.  We were on the grid with one of the hospitals so we were restored quickly (read many days).  
When it happened, I was rolling out a system in Saint John New Brunswick and could not connect to the company network to push through the system.  
The deadline was so very tight and you cannot miss deadlines or blow the budget.  
With the office being non accessible due to power, I had to get on a plane and fly to the East Coast of Canada (which had power) and camp for 7 days to stick to the schedule.
Toronto did get power soon after.  That summer was so hot everyone was cranking up their air conditioning and watering their grass and then killing the intermittent power off.
We did have another power outage prior to that.  
In the province of Quebec, we had a winter ice storm and power went out for weeks.  People died.  I hear that many babies were born from that winter.
You see when you live in a country with privilege, you forget that in many countries people get power cut off daily.
Power disruption affects business.  And people die from it.
Uganda is just joking by thinking that cutting off power only inconveniences people.  It affects businesses.  Companies lose contracts.  We are living in a Global Village where connectivity is key to the bottom line. 
One outage monthly is acceptable (we have one yearly) but if you are serious about jobs, do better than what you are doing.
The difference between a power outage in Uganda and one in Canada is one still gets paid even if they do not show up at work because their office has no power.  Uganda is like we had no power, too bad.
Information you might not like but it is reality.  STOP LOAD SHEDDING.  What is your excuse?
Martha Leah Nangalama
Moncton Canada
I have an IT and business background.  
Hard information but which Ugandan will be this blunt?
Find me on Google and all social media. 
Please review your Emergency Preparedness.  You never know when it could strike.

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